Astoria Waterfront Trolley in the town of Astoria,
Ore., located in the north-western tip of Oregon
near the Pacific Ocean along the Columbia River,
where the S.S. Legacy cruises the Columbia, Snake
& Willamette Rivers traveling nearly 1,000 miles
roundtrip from Portland.
Ore. — This is the same river route Lewis and Clark took
200 years ago, a 1,000-mile journey along the Columbia and
Snake rivers and right up the musket of the American West.
the milky calm of a Snake River canyon, summer raindrops
smooch the mirrored surface; at the mouth of the mighty
Columbia, waters first brewed in Canada race for the sea,
meeting waves as high as a cathedral.
so great about increasingly popular river cruises? With a
maximum of 88 passengers, this fetching little ship is a
fine alternative for those tired of massive floating
hotels — or seasickness or endless days of open ocean.
than the sea, a river pulses, every bend a new chapter. We
cross gorges and pass 7,000-year-old petroglyphs and stop
in dusty former frontier towns that once brimmed with
brothels. One afternoon, with Mt. Hood luminous in the
distance, hundreds of kite boarders show off for us, like
a fleet of polyester butterflies. Pure travel magic.
vessel? Un-Cruise’s Legacy, a 30-year-old replica of the
late 19th century coastal steamers. Brass fittings.
Gleaming wood rails. As clean as a sailor’s spoon.
eight days we make shore visits to waterfalls, wineries,
dams, fish ladders, museums and forts along the way. Back
on board, your favorite hangout probably will be the ship’s
bridge, which is open to passengers night and day, as the
river pilots use a watchmaker’s touch to snug the
190-by-40-foot vessel into one of the eight locks along
river is the star here, but the personable crew is a close
second. One night, they stage a talent show that rivals
most comedy clubs.
there’s a lot of history to swallow in a week, but if it
gets to be too much you can opt out of one of the too-many
museum trips and spend an afternoon in the hot tub with
that thriller you’ve been meaning to tackle. As is the
bridge, the ship’s saloon is always open. Most nights
ended swapping stories with my favorite fellow
passenger/soul mate, "Bloody Mary Bill," a
Michigan farmer who kept everyone entertained on the
you do, you’ll end the week with a bit of a wind burn
and a thrashing river of good memories. That may be a lot
less than what Lewis and Clark left here as a legacy. But
it’s an exciting start. So come aboard as we explore the
famed Pacific Northwest route from the desert to the sea,
in what might be the greatest of all the American