TRAVEL THERE: WHERE IN THE SAM HILL ARE WE?
Welcome to Oregon! Well, sort of. This summer my husband and I spent twelve days traveling the state and now I’m sharing the experience with you. I’ll tell you about the attractions we visited, the meals we ate and where we stayed. Maybe you’ll decide you want to visit Oregon, too. Today’s focus is the start of the Columbia River Gorge.
Sam Hill and Oregon
How many times have you asked where in the Sam Hill you were with out knowing who Sam Hill was? I certainly have. Wikipedia gives top billing for the likeliest legendary Sam Hill to some drug store proprietor in Prescott, AZ, but after my recent visit to Oregon, I think Wikipedia chose the wrong Sam Hill.
Sam Hill was an Oregonian business man and visionary, who dreamed up the idea for
the Historic Columbia River Gorge Highway and then directed the full force of his rather driven personality to compel the building of the road.
After leaving McMenamis Edgefield Resort Bill and I continued west on Mr. Sam Hill’s highway, stopping in Corbett to peek at some art galleries and a little later to watch a fly fisherman enjoy one of the smaller streams in the area. The day was absolutely perfect for a drive and we’d had enough food to hold us for a while. We almost zoomed past an overlook on the left side just outside of Corbett, but we’re so glad we turned around.
Chanticleer Point, Columbia River Gorge, Oregon
The overlook is called Chanticleer Point. Signs around the parking lot tell you it was named after Chanticleer Inn. Sam Hill is about the only reason anyone remembers Chanticleer Inn. See, Sam Hill realized what great real estate Oregon had and he knew if he could just get people up there they’d love it, but no one was going to come hack a trail through the forest to see it. Sam Hill realized they had to build a road and along that road they needed to build places for the tourists to make rest stops. He rounded up a group of like-minded men and sold them his idea. Thank you Mr. Sam Hill.
Chanticleer Point is a perfect introduction to the Columbia River
Gorge. The story of the area, since before history, is encapsulated on one of the signs, but the results of Mother Nature’s work are all around you. Mention is also made of the Lewis and Clark Expedition which explored the area in the early 1800’s, but Sam Hill is the guy that stuck with me. As I describe our adventures of the next few days, you’ll hear the name Sam Hill a few more times. He’s part of everything that is the Columbia River Gorge today.
There’s a lot more to see along the Columbia River Gorge, but I’ll save it for later. There are many beautiful drives in our nation, the Road to Hana on Maui, the rim of the Grand Canyon, Skyline Drive in the Shenandoah Valley, but thanks to Sam Hill, you and I can easily enjoy the wonders Lewis and Clark explored so long ago. Next week we’ll start at Vista House and see how far we get.