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Economic and dam related articles

Travel the Historic Columbia
& Snake Rivers by Small Ship

by Arthur Wright
Examiner, August 21, 2009

I know the summer season is coming to a close, but if you have not had a chance to get away, I would like to suggest this Small Ship Adventure with Cruise West sailing along the Columbia and Snake Rivers. Enjoy the Autumn colors that's right in our own backyard.

There are still a few Cabin Spaces available and you could receive 25% savings if you take advantage of the Cruise West Stowaway program. This would mean, you could save up to $1,366 per person when you purchase a Columbia/Snake Cruise in a 30 Day window. Reserve and book a 7 night cruise, including port fees, taxes, gratuity and shore excursions for as little as $2,658 per person, depending upon availability and sailing departure date.

Cruise West's eight-day, seven-night Voyage of Discovery along the Columbia and Snake Rivers takes explorers on an up-close, casual and personal journey traveling in the footsteps of the Lewis & Clark Expedition. Retracing nearly 1,000 miles of their historic route, the small ship's path invokes the adventurers' spirit of exploration with spectacular natural vistas, informative historical excursions and enlightening culinary delights.

Departing from Portland, Oregon, the 96-guest Spirit of '98 sails along the Columbia River and into the Bonneville Dam and locks, the first of eight sets of dams and locks throughout the trip. From there, guests will take a drive by motor coach to breathtaking Multnomah Falls, the tallest falls in the state of Oregon.

The ship will continue upriver to the Columbia River Gorge, an 80-mile-long, 4,000-feet-deep river canyon that is a natural wind tunnel and the only sea level route through the Cascade Mountains. At the Bonneville Dam's Visitor Center, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Interpretive Guides will give a tour of the giant turbines and explain how the Columbia River provides the majority of the electrical power in the Northwest.

The Nez Perce Indian tribe will then greet the ship in Clarkston, Washington, where guests will board covered jet boats for an excursion into awe-inspiring Hells Canyon.

In the increasingly popular wine region of Walla Walla, Washington, visitors will enjoy the Fort Walla Walla Museum, which houses a collection of more than 35,000 catalogued pioneer artifacts, dioramas and a replica village. A special casually elegant lunch has been arranged at a local favorite restaurant before a tour and tasting at two unique wineries.

The ship then departs for the Maryhill Museum, a historic mansion sitting in solitary splendor on a bluff over the Columbia River. Here guests will explore an eclectic collection of Native American arts, European paintings, and the Queen of Romania's personal effects. The museum offers a stunning view across the Columbia River to the Oregon plateau and Mount Hood, Oregon's tallest volcanic mountain at 11,240 feet.

From the museum, visitors will descend a narrow road to Biggs Junction, where various branches of the historic Oregon Trail joined together. The trip's grand finale finds guests in the historic town of Astoria, home to Fort Clatsop - an appropriate ending, considering the fort belonged to Lewis and Clark more than 200 years ago.

Every Cruise West trip hosts Exploration Leaders onboard to provide guests with a wealth of insider knowledge and a passion for the history of the region. Because Cruise West's philosophy embraces adventure and spontaneity, the captain and crew will stop or linger at unexpected and unusual sites along the way, whether they involve ancient geologic forces, Native American myths and legends, intrepid explorers, or regional wine.

For more information about traveling to the Columbia & Snake Rivers with Cruise West, please feel free to contact me.

Arthur Wright
Travel the Historic Columbia & Snake Rivers by Small Ship
Examiner, August 21, 2009

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