If you happen to be driving to Portland from Eastern Washington and you just cannot drive another hour without stopping (if you’ve got kids, you might know what I mean), Hood River is a good place to get out and stretch your legs. When we drove back to Portland after Thanksgiving, I was hoping to drive all the way to Portland without stopping. However, I was outvoted 3-1, so we pulled off the freeway and drove up to Oak Street, the main street in the touristy part of town. We parked and hopped out, looking for a café. Just up the street, beyond the absinthe bar, we spotted the Dog River Coffee company. It looked like the type of place where we could get a little boost for the last leg of the trip (the café, not the bar).
For those of you who don’t know, Hood River is a small town about an hour’s drive east from Portland on I-84. It is located on the southern bank of the Columbia River and is a well-known destination for wind surfers who come to take advantage of the Columbia Gorge’s ever-present winds. It is also a popular place for people who are in transit to/from Mount Hood for camping, hiking or skiing. The downtown is geared for tourists and is full of small shops, restaurants and cafés. If you venture up the hill very far, the town offers some spectacular views of Mount Adams across the river to the north.