Cruise the Columbia and Snake Rivers, Summer 2009

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Summer is in full swing here in the Pacific Northwest and Cruise West’s remarkable ship, the “Spirit of ’98″, is making her weekly voyages on the Columbia and Snake Rivers. Having driven the highways along the Columbia River Gorge, I can attest to the dramatic, awe-inspiring scenery that opens in front of you. But to really get a feel for the pulse of life along this waterway and to experience the immensity of the Columbia River Gorge, there is nothing like seeing it from the surface of the river it’s self.

With it’s old fashioned smokestacks and victorian-style decor, the Spirit of ’98 resembles the steamships that once plied the rivers of North America. Adorned with ornate, carved wooden cabinety, floral upholstery, a Grand Salon and a full bar exuding Old-World charm, you will feel you are being transported aboard an early 20th century steamer. But this small ship offers all modern amenities and convienences including private bath in all cabins and email, internet and phone service on-board.

The weekly departures sail out of Portland, Oregon on the Willamette River which runs right through this west coast city. The following morning will find the ship entering the locks of the Bonneville Dam, a 1938 historic landmark with a fascinating visitors center.

This cruise will visit some unique and historic sights as well as transit 7 dams on its journey inland from the Pacific Ocean to the confluence of the Snake River.

  • Pendleton, Oregon: Visit the underground tunnels dug by Chinese immigrants in the late 1800′s connecting their saloons, bordellos and opium dens.  Visit the Pendleton Woolen Mills where native blankets are still woven.  The Tamastslikt Cultural Institute houses the 10,000 year history of the Umtilla, Cayuse and Walla Walla native tribes.
  • Hells Canyon: Enjoy a jet boat ride up the wild and scenic Snake River,  deep into the canyon filled with wildlife and ancient indian  petroglyphs.jet-boat-snake
  • Walla Walla, Washington: Enjoy a day filled with great food, art, shopping and wine-tasting at two  very unique Washington wineries.
  • Mt. St. Helens: Journey to the site of the 1980 volcanic eruption that levelled 230 square miles of forest.  View the crater left after the moutain blew 1,300 feet from its top and see how the area’s still trying to renew itself.

columbia-gorgeThe Columbia River scenery is dramatic and diverse with lush evergreen forests, cascading waterfalls, orchards, vineyards and stark basalt cliffs. Only Cruise West can get you so close, you’ll feel the spray of the falls on your face. Call Rhonda or Linda at TMI Tours to check available cabins and dates for a great adventure on the Mighty Columbia River. 1-800-975-7775 or info@tmitours.com