July 2019: Leg 3, Cruise the Snake and Columbia River

July 16-19, 2019: Enjoying Spokane

[NOTE: You can click on any photo to see it enlarged.]

On the previous leg of our journey, Joan initially flew home and Stu had arrived in Portland where he stored Winnie for a month and flew home to Delray Beach and rejoin Joan. Winnie waited patiently in Portland where the cruise was to deliver us.

We flew back to Spokane, the starting point of our cruise, very late after a cross country trip, and a three-hour time change. Three days in beautiful Spokane helped us rest before the cruise began.

There are a few Davenport hotels in Spokane – at least three, all named Davenport, before our Uber driver finally settled in on the one that had our reservation.

As we waited in line to check in, three people went by to catch a shuttle to another hotel because the Historic Davenport Hotel was oversold. We were pleasantly surprised when the desk both had a room and knew we had two reservations for us, one for our pre-cruise visit and another for the night before departure. They also had a reservation for Sheila and Bob.  We were very hopeful.

The HIstoric Davenport Hotel, built in 1914

The hotel is a lovely, very old, fully restored building. Several places to sit, lots of things to buy, and extensive antique decoration.

The first full day we took a walking tour of the city. The Review was a major force in the early city before its merger with the Sportsman to become the Sportsman-Review. The early architecture of the city was dominated by the Review Tower and later the complex of buildings that produces the newspaper.

Newspapers, churches and Government Buildings usually mold the architecture of a city. Spokane was especially fortunate by having early water projects, including flour mills and electric generation become the center of a growing city.

Riverfront Park along the Spokane River

Just a few blocks from our hotel was the Spokane River, with the Riverfront Park on its bank. The river is known for its falls, the second longest urban falls in the US. The SkyRide Over the Falls is available at the Park to view the Spokane Falls from up in the air. It’s a 15-minute round-trip ride with a 200-foot gradual drop as it approaches the falls.

A City that Treasures Beauty: Flowers, Sculpture, and its Old Buildings

The city clearly treasures its flowers, which are everywhere and beautifully maintained.


On its 40-mile paved Centennial Trail along the river, the Riverfront Park section has 21 different sculpture area.

The art deco City Hall building is being painstakingly re-painted.

The Old Steam Plant

The Steam Plant is a restaurant that has been built inside the original steam plant building. The steam plant stacks, steam machines, and cat walks surround the restaurant.

The Steam Plant was in use as a steam plant for nearly 70 years and was shut down in December of 1986. Rather than gut the building, its unique interior was used in the renovation, saving as much of the original machinery as possible. The four massive steam boilers have been converted into restaurant seating and a waterfall/wishing well. The 1,200-ton coal bunker has become high-tech office space suspended from the ceiling. One of the stacks is a visitor attraction, while the other stack houses a conference room in one of the office spaces.

July 20: Departing on the cruise

Bob and Sheila Bell, Stu’s brother and sister-in-law, arrived in Spokane the night before our cruise departure. After a chaotic breakfast in the Davenport Hotel, the four of us, and everyone else staying there before the cruise, climbed on a bus and were driven to Clarkston, where our riverboat, the Song, awaited us.

We boarded the Song, and departed on the Snake River, heading for our first destination, Richland, WA. The first order of business was to lock through the Lower Granite Lock and Dam.

There would be 8 locks to go through before we reached Portland OR, our final destination. The Columbia River drops two feet for every mile — compared with the Mississippi River that falls one inch for every mile — and going through locks to be dropped up to 60 feet is a lot easier than going through the rapids they replaced.

July 21: Richland, WA

We took a morning walk through the town.

For our afternoon excursion, we took a 15-minute motor coach ride to the REACH Museum. Exhibits showed how this Hanford region because the site where the atomic bomb was created during World War II.





Sunset was always a time to be on the top deck of the boat.

July 22: The Dalles, OR



July 23: Stevenson, WA



July 24: Kalama, WA



July 25: Astoria, OR



July 26: Portland, OR

We arrived in Portland on schedule at 2pm. Inexcusable that the cruise line deprived us of over a half day of excursions. We had only a quick trip to the historic Vista House (1917), a 45- minute drive away and right near a great number of beautiful waterfalls. This should have been an optional full-day excursion that included the waterfalls. Shame on American Cruise Lines. Lucky for us, Stu and I climbed into our waiting RV the next morning and drove to the waterfalls ourselves.





End of Cruise and Beginning of our Next Adventures.  Click here to view our visit to Portland, OR to Salt Lake City, UT via Yellowstone and Grand Tetons