Effortlessly Into the Gorge

clear water:
no front, no back


A gorgeous spring weekday, a visitor who’s never seen Multnomah Falls or the Columbia Gorge, and his fancy Tesla to test drive. All ingredients for a fun afternoon on the road.

The view east from Vista House, perched precariously on a cliff. Sand Island is just below, and in the distance is Beacon Rock, with Washington State across the way.

Traffic was light (yay weekdays!) and the car responded to my touch like it was reading my mind. It memorized my preferred seat and mirror positions, and I used the brakes only once – and that was by mistake, pure reflex.

Historic Highway 30 is narrow, slow, windy and peaceful. The 74 mile stretch runs parallel to the also-scenic but wider, straighter Highway 84, a better choice if you want to get somewhere fast. Highway 30 finally reopened just recently after several winter landslides, so I was delighted to wind along the base of the cliffs, passing the many smaller falls (Latourell, Bridal Veil, Wahkeena, Horsetail), now also accessible and hikable. The Tesla’s large display let me know in yellow (and sometimes red) if I got too close to oncoming cars or the edge of the asphalt. If I could look at the display instead of the road. Which I couldn’t.

Multnomah Falls, 620 feet from top to bottom, the tallest falls in Oregon, and Benson Bridge.

Miraculously there was plenty of parking, the crowd was sparse, and most wore masks. I’ve never been there with so few people, so this was a treat. See how few folks there are on the bridge? The hiking trail just beyond the bridge is finally open again after the heartbreaking 2017 Eagle Creek fire burnt 47,000 acres. Please folks, no fireworks in the Gorge during fire season. Do we really have to be that specific?

A slightly different angle. No one takes just one picture of the falls.

The Tesla took us back along the river on 84, and we stopped at Rooster Rock State Park where I hoped to walk down the stairs to the shoreline. To my surprise, the water was much higher than when I visited last October, and the water’s edge inaccessible.

We drove home, again effortlessly, even as we hit traffic coming into Portland. While I won’t be buying a Tesla any time soon, I was impressed and amazed at how relaxed I was at the end of the day, and how good my body felt even after a long afternoon of driving. 5 stars for comfort and for planet-saving potential. I still don’t get why someone thought to program fart noises coming from the various seats of the car, but then, maybe my imagination is just too limited.

Perhaps soon I’ll write about how strange it is to have visitors again, and how with each visit I feel a little easier about this whole sharing breathing space thing. Get your vaccine – it’s a bit of a miracle, like the Tesla, only better.

Yep, you can watch a crackling fire on the display. It’s called ‘romance mode’. Don’t ask why.

10 thoughts on “Effortlessly Into the Gorge

  1. Bits of this made me laugh out loud. 😀 I saw Multonomah Falls for the first time (in my memory) two (?) summers ago. It was not sparsely populated. At all. Right before the fire, I think. (Fireworks should be banned. Anytime, anyplace. IMHO.) Thank you for this fun post and for the fancy-car drive!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I was there the day after you. It’s still a fairly new area to me but I’m getting more familiar. I read your post with that drive in mind. Very cool. Great shots of the Falls ! I also read the other related posts at the bottom of this one. Good stuff and I have some new ideas ! Thanks !

    Liked by 1 person

    • And you in turn are an inspiration for going further afield into Washington – so much to explore! When I moved here I wanted to get to know my new state thoroughly, but there are still so many areas still unexplored. Time to get on it! Thanks for reading/writing!

      Liked by 1 person

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