As we were heading out I said, it’s windy in the Gorge – they have world class windsurfing, but had no idea how small that statement would feel an hour or so later.
Our plan was to drive through the Columbia River Gorge along the old historic highway, stopping at various overlooks and waterfalls on our way to Hood River. A nice Sunday drive kind of day. But at our first stop on Crown Point we found 50-60 mph sustained winds which made it difficult to walk outside the car. So we drove to what I thought was a sheltered area on the hilltop and tried to get out of the car again.
I knew the wind was intense so was holding on to the door with two hands while easing it open. A second later a 100 mph wind gust ripped the door out of my hands and bent it back on itself denting the front fender. Getting out of the car I was nearly pushed over by the wind and tried to close the car door, but with no luck. The hinges were warped and the door off alignment so no matter how hard I tried it would not shut. (and trust me I tried!)
At this point I’m standing OUTSIDE the car and realizing I need to get back INSIDE the car, but didn’t want the wind to take the door for a ride again. I waited for the wind to “die down” and eased my way back into the driver’s seat. Of course now I’m stuck holding onto the door with all my strength as the wind keeps trying to rip it out of my hands again. So dilemma number two presents itself. I can’t sit here just holding on to the door. I need to get out of the wind that is now rocking the car back and forth, but how do you drive while holding onto a door.
So I hand the keys to my friend who turns on the car. While I hold onto the door and push the gas, she shifts gears and steers. Now if you’ve never been to Crown Point then you should know that this “point” is on the edge of a cliff and the winding road hugs the edges of said cliff, which we were now having to drive down. It took about a half-mile to find a turnout that was shielded from the hurricane-like gusts.
The tour of the Gorge had come to an end, but what a tour it was. We didn’t get to see Multnomah Falls – the star attraction- but did catch a glimpse of a few waterfalls from the seat of the tow truck. A tow truck that had just the week before rescued another car off Crown Point whose door had suffered the same fate.
Welcome to Oregon! There’s world class windsurfing in the Gorge.