Although traveling I-84 meant an out-of-the-way excursion, it was well worth it to see the Columbia River Gorge. We thought swarms were long behind us, but a stop at Multnomah Falls proved us wrong as throngs of Japanese tourists buzzed about with cameras in hand. Fearing that our arsenal of mosquito spray couldn't deter the scads of tourists, we headed straight for the steep path that allows up-front viewing of the 620-foot waterfall (making it the fourth largest in the USA). As we descended, mysteriously many of the tourists had vanished. In search of a restroom we dared the environs of the Multnomah Gift Shop, replete with loads of bric-a-brac. As nice as they were, we passed on the Multnomah shot glasses and the lure of their matching waterfall placemats; we could hear the rumblings of another tour bus arriving and quickly made a beeline for our rolling test chamber.

Our major goal of the day was to see Oregon's highest peak, Mt. Hood, and feared we might miss it, as the sun was rapidly heading for the hills. We squealed up to a vantage point just as the fiery orb touched the western horizon--only to be treated by a pack of dogs that kept circling around our camera tripod. More than one super-slow shutter-speed exposure was ruined when the flea-infested hounds bumped continually bump the tripod in search of affection, though a game of "fetch the chunk-o-bark" kept them entertained long enough to record the occasion. Once darkness set in, we were back in the driver's seat faced with the fact that the fuel tank was again in need of a sacrificial dino juice offering. We pulled into a gas station, grabbed the fuel nozzle, and were nearly tackled by the gas jockey. Apparently Oregon has a law that dictates only "qualified" station attendants can pump the petrol and clearly we'd upset the lad.

With no Taco Bell in sight, we opted to ingest fistfuls of chips and sugary drinks in lieu of a traditional dinner. Predictably, the artificial high faded quickly. After repeated days of long hours and erratic sleep patterns, exhaustion was really starting to hit us as we ambled our way through the central Oregon night towards Bend. Soon, our grogginess was on par with a sedated polar bear after just being shot with a tranquilizer dart delivered by Marlin Perkins and his sidekick Jim. Approaching Bend, the first illuminated sleep spot we found was the lovely Dunes Motel so we pulled in for a look-see.

With rooms at just $35 per night and free ice, how could we go wrong?