From Portland we followed the Columbia River east to the town of Umatilla, OR. Our near term objective is to get to Glacier National Park in Montana and this moved us 200 miles in that direction. If you haven’t been into the eastern part of Oregon and Washington, it is completely different than the green, wet and mountainous western portion. This part reminds me very much of California’s central valley, very dry with some gently rolling hills and lots of agriculture.
In Umatilla, we parked at the Umatilla Marina and RV Park on the south bank of the Columbia River just downriver from McNary Dam. This is one of the many hydroelectric dams on the Columbia, a river that deposits more water into the Pacific Ocean than any other. As with the other dams, this one has incorporated fish ladders that allow migrating salmon to make their journey upriver to spawn.
Wine grape growing regions are defined as American Viticultural Areas or AVAs. The Columbia Valley AVA, which primarily occupies central and eastern Washington, contains 99% of wine grapes grown in the state. We crossed the bridge to Paterson, Washington to visit the Columbia Crest Winery, one of the leading wineries in the Columbia Valley. They are located in the Horse Heaven Hills region which is a sub-appellation of the Columbia Valley AVA.
Next stop: Spokane, WA