American River Cruise on Snake and Columbia Rivers, October 2021

October 12-14: Preliminary, the drive to Portland, Richland, and Spokane

We drove to Portland on Tuesday, the 12th, stopping for lunch at our favorite, the Creswell Bakery, for lunch, We arrived at the Red Lion, Jantzen Beach, the debarkation point of our cruise, and stayed the night. Next morning I picked up a rental car, and leaving our car at the Red Lion, we headed to Richland where we would spend the night. Along the way we stopped at the Bulldog Diner in Rufus, Oregon. It was a very pleasant little cafe, obviously patronized by the locals, and we were very pleased with our lunch. Then on to the the Holiday Inn Express in Richland. On Thursday we proceeded on to Spokane, enjoying the rolling hills of farms and ranches known as the Palouse,

We spent the first night of our "cruise" at the Historic Davenport Hotel, It was first opened in 1914 and was host to a large number of celebrities, royalty, politicians, and other persons of note over the years. It closed in 1985, but was saved from demolition by Walt and Karen Worthy, reopening in 2002 with all its glory and updated hotel rooms. After I dropped off the car, and a bit of rest, we had dinner at the Palm Court Grill. It was quite a spead, with
tomato bisque and Ceasar salad,
bread and butter,
baked cheese,
Halibut fish and chips,
calamari, and
BBQ chicken strips

And a few tummy pills!

October 15: Spokane to the American Pride and start of the cruise

Today we got a bus ride through another part of the Palouse. This one did not seem to have as many fields planted to winter wheat as we saw yesterday. There are quite a number of prosperous looking farmsteads along the way. We swung over into Idaho and got our first view of Snake River. We arrived at the American Pride front, American Pride further back, a little after noon and got onboard in time for lunch, a very nice one - we had a seafood salad and met some interesting folks. In the afternoon we got unpacked and settled in a bit, had some balcony time with Mary Kay,

There were a number of informational meetings and a talk on the history of the Columbia River.

Then there was Happy Hour, which turned out to be pretty happy. Then we headed out to dinner, where we had Salmon and Pecan crusted chicken, and met some more interesting folks (well, I mean more folks, not more interesting ones, although they were quite interesting).

Then off to hear the Country Western & Bakersfield sounds by a piano/trumpet and electric guitar duo, Mario Carboni and Norm Hamlet. Then around 10pm, some 8 hours or so late (late crew member arrival we were told). That causes some problems with tomorrow' schedule, but nothing major.

October 16: Clarkston to Richland, and ...

There are eight dams, with locks, from Clarkston to Portland. The first ones we manage to sleep past them. The night sky was brilliant, with Orion being prominent in the sky. But, we were awake for the next one. There was a sign giving the times for recreational boaters. Here are a number of photos as we approached the lock:
upper part of the dam,
toward the hills behind,
green fields, probably wheat, beside the river,
more fields and a train. Entering the
lock, and finally
Ice Harbor Lock and Dam. The lock extends beyond
the dam, and we had a few
spectators alongside. Then it was down into the
bowels of the lock, not as close on the
other side. For this lock the
door is a
guillotine, which is starting to rise (for the later chop, I suppose).
No chop yet! Finally, out on the
River.

Weather has been wonderful (except for the fact our clothing was planned for much cooler weather). We arrived in Richland around noon (well, actually at Sacajawea Park in Pasco). Because we are behind schedule, they dropped us off there, it being along the way. We (well, just me, not Amelia and Mary Kay) visited there. A sister ship (boat?), the American Empress was also docked there (well, no dock, they pulled up to shore and put out their gangplank to it), Sacagewea Park is very pleasant, and has a good museum, and a replica of the log canoes the Corps of Discovery used. We were then bused to the REACH Museum, about the tri-cities area and some emphasis on the Manhatten Project. From there we were taken back to where the American Pride was docked. Guess what kind of water birds they have there. Oh, guess who was waiting.

This was followed by bacon wrapped pork tenderloin!

The entertainment tonight was again Mario and Norm with Rock and Roll.

October 17: A restful day

Today was a day we did a not off-ship day, the tours either being something we had already seen, or not of interest. We did see some salmon fishing boats. We did get a glimpse of Mt. Hood. Looks snowy, but no, just the lighting (I think). The rugged river edge and fall colors came along:
volcanic rock
Fall Colors
Train, buildings, fall colors
More fall colors

While the American Pride seems to be a Paddlewheeler, in fact it is just for show. Other things for show are around, and I took the opportunity to ride the pig. Must be a story there somewhere. A bit further down the river, we had a better view of Mt. Hood.

We motored up to a bank next to the marina in Hood River, and extended the gang plank. It was just across from a marina and there was a good view of Mt. Hood. For dinner that might, Mary Kay had this salad and I had shrimp on a bed of polenta. However, the dessert was the pièce de résistance a chocolate/peanut butter cake. After dinner I watched someone running a model boat around the marina.

So far we've had a wonderful set of lectures on Columbia River, Lewis and Clark, and other topics (well, we didn't go to all of them).

Entertainment tonight was Kevin McNeil singing cowboy songs.

October 18: Hood River

Today we took the hop on drop off bus into Hood River. We only spent an hour there in the morning. Seems like a nice little town. In the afternoon, I took the trip up to the Western Antique Aeroplane & Auto Museum. Upon arriving there was a pretty good view of Mt. Adams (sorry about the wires). The museum has (guessing) around 300 aeroplanes and autos to say nothing of motorcyles, gasoline pumps, toys, and ... Most were built in the 1920s and 1930s, but also some later models cars, especially 1950s and 1960s (not a lot of them, though). Here's the sign for the museum. Here is a 1931 Franklin Sport 90 that surely must have been built by one of Amelia's relatives. This is just one example of MANY aeroplanes that most people have never heard of which populate this museum. One of the outstanding cars was this 1936 Cord 810. While there are many aeroplanes, one that struck me was this 1928 Boeing 40C. It could carry four passengers and also carried mail. Another of the nicer old cars was this 1935 Packard twelve. Well, of course, I have to include this 1930 Ford truck, with a ROUTE66 license plate. Back to aeroplanes, here is a 1910 Curtis pusher. Doesn't seem to be remarkably different from the Wright Brothers Flyer (but I'm sure it had some improvements). I was expecting more warbirds, but there were not many. Here is a 1943 P-40N. Looking at some later models, here is a 1948 Chrysler New Yorker. My dad had one that looked almost the same, but was a cheaper Windsor model. Sticking with the cars, here is a car that was an outstanding NASCAR racer in the hands of Marshall Teague, a 1951 Hudson Hornet; this was well back in the day when "stock car racing" was actually done with cars off the showroom floor (well, OK, they did a little tweeking, but no real cheating). This 1941 Lincoln Zephyr had a V-12 engine.

Then there were some "toys"
Tractors
Cars
Action figures (well, maybe not)
Trucks and cars

Finally, fron the rear of the museum buildings, and good look at Mt. Hood.

Tonight's entertainment was Kevin with sea shanties.

October 19: On the River

This day we were scheduled to be on the river all day, so this is mostly scenes along the way. These structures are used by the native americans for salmon fishing, and no one else can fish this part of the river (I understand). We went by a large area where the Eagle Creek fire burned some years ago. This is one view and here is another. We entered the locks at Bonneville Dam, and here the gates have closed behind us. Then it is down, down, with some grafitti being exposed. The entire dam/lock/river area is pretty complicated (yes, the poor image is my own fault - sorry). Further downstream we get a look at a waterfall, and also see the silhouette of more burned trees. Here's one with a contrail in the background. Fall colors on the Washington side. The buoys on the Washington side are green. A couple of Bald Eagles were seen, one of which I caught at long range with pretty high zoom. We went by Beacon Rock along the river before we reached What may be Horsetail Falls. More color. A little further down we saw Multnomah Falls. Then, some deliciously convuluted volcanic rook. These last two were taken during a rain shower, in case you couldn't guess that. We proceeded on past Phoca Rock, after which we saw more (and more dense) fall color. We saw a train below the roadway. Eventually we came to the Red Lion Inn for a brief unscheduled stop before passing under the I-5 bridge. A bit later we went through a swing type bridge for railway traffic. Then, a view of Mt. St. Helens and more color.

The entertainment tonigh was a treat from the ship's staff. Halloween decorations and a Monter Mash Dance Party. I must say, the crew had some pretty accomplished dancers and entertainers.

October 20: Astoria

During the night after we arrived, I attempted to take pictures of the Astoria Column, which dominates the hill overlooking Astoria. I was unsuccessful at getting any good pictures night-time (but wait until a little later), but here is the Astoria Column as seen from the ship. We took tour of town, first to the tower. There being 164 steps to the top, of course I went up. Here are some photos in various directions (I may have them right, maybe not):
west
northeast
southwest
west
northwest
northwest

Each person that goes up the tower is give a balsa wood glider to toss off the top. Mine did pretty well. It was quite windy, and it circled around and went down and around some trees and back out a couple of times, utimately landing in a dead tree. Another person's sort of went straight down, while a third person's went really-really well, but I confessed I pointed out his wings were upside down as he put it together (and fixed that for him). Then, finally down again, and sure enough there were 164 steps down, which agreed with what I was told there were going up. Here is a close up shot of Astoria Tower. After that I ran for the bus, and they stopped and let me on (I think there might have been some urging from within the bus).

We then went to downtown where Astoria has a certain halloween decoration, consisting of witches flying into lightpoles. Downtown has a lot of old-timey stores, including the Paramount Drug Co. and the (closed) J. C. Penney Co..

Back onboard one table mate has a salad, one noodles and beef, and I had a croque monsieur, and I needed to put in a picture of our cheese rolls and butter. We pretty much took the afternoon easy, resting up for dinner. Here is our dinner menu, front and back. If it looks good, here it comes:
half Halibut
my half Halibut, half Scnitzel
half Occo Busso
Osso Bucco (you can't see the bone is about 3 inches high)
Halibut

To celebrate the great company we had for most meals (same bunch), here is the aftermath of dinner with Athena, our server. Left to right: Mary Kay, Dagmar, Dick, Athena, Amelia, Fred (Bill, also known as Felix), Bill (also known as Oscar), and Terry. A great bunch of folks!

One more thing: A series of shots of the Astoria column as it changes colors at night, ending with the equivalent daytime photo: Astoria Column!

Tonight we had Courtney Freed and David Saffert singing and playing the piano with songs from the Great American Songbook.

October 21: From Astoria to Kalama, on to Portland

This was a day when one could take a trip to visit the Johnston Ridge Observatoruy (well, closed) and viewpoint of Mt. St. Helens. Most of the passengers did so, I think, but we saw it all several years ago, so opted to not go. Instead, I amused my self several ways. One may notice that toilet tissues have gotten narrower (and narrower - try out Home Depot's some time; or maybe they are wider now). However. American Cruise Lines has the won the prize for the record shortest I've ever seen. Oh, well, man (and woman, but less so) does not live by toilet tissue alone), so, enough of that

I got a nice sunrise photo. A sister ship was parked (OK, it wasn't docked; we, and it just rammed into the sandy bank and held there by the thrusters), the American Queen. It's older, and apparently has no balconies, but on the other hand, it looks like it has an outside circuit around the ship, which ours did not. Being anchored (so to speak) in the sand, the gang plank afforded a means to get to the shore (and the red carpet). The view back up the river showed this long sandy beach. Eventually the sightseeers came back and we went to dinner. I had the Surf and Turf - stuffed crab and tenderloin, with baked potato and asparagus.

The night's entertainment was possibly the best. David Duthie and Bo Ayars on bass and piano played music and told stories.

October 22: Off board, and afterthoughts

It was a good time. Excellent service, especially the dining room with good wines available. Congenial passengers from many parts of the US, and some from abroad. Good entertainment, cookie times and cocktail parties with good quality quality spirits. I would especially mention the presentations by David Miller, who was very knowledgeable about the history of the Columbia and Snake Rivers and gave outstanding presentations on Lewis and Clark and the Corps of Discovery. In addition, he seemed to be there when any sort of help was needed. Kudos to him and the entire crew.

PS: We had a nice drive home from Portland (light traffic, even through Portland via I-5 and I-405. The fall colors on the drive down I-5 were spectacular and a fitting finale to the trip!