Historic Hood River
Twin Tunnels Segment
While the Columbia River Highway to Hood River was mostly complete by 1916, it took several more years for the road to make it to Mosier and the Dalles. It wasn’t until 1922 that the last bit of Warrenite was poured, and the road as Sam Hill and Samuel Lancaster envisioned it was complete.
This image is from a grouping I’m pretty confident shows “Cap” McCan in his dealer stock Nash automobile (1920 plates) checking out the progress of the construction between Hood River and the Twin Tunnels. It’s hard to be sure of the exact location, but some of the other angles give enough background that I am confident the view below is close.
I had the pleasure of driving on this segment of roadway this weekend in my Model T. Despite knowing every inch of the road from hiking and biking trips since it reopened in 2000, experiencing the highway at Model T speeds really helped me appreciate the care taken in the design of every mile of the roadway. Every bend exposes something new. There is just enough time to appreciate each vista before another one presents itself. There was no time to be bored, but there was none of the stress I’ve felt driving windy mountain roads in a modern vehicle.
While the roadway is usually closed to motor vehicles (certain classes of e-bikes being a recent exception), when the restoration project started years ago ODOT decided to advance the historic elements of the charter by allowing vehicles 1949 model year and older to drive on the highway in limited numbers a couple of times a year. Friends of the Historic Columbia River Highway promotes this concept with an annual antique automobile ride on the second Saturday in July. It took me a couple of years to get my machine mechanically ready to join them, but it was worth it.