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Columbia and Snake Rivers: History and Harvest by Small Ship

Program Number: 20445RJ
Start and End Dates:
10/21/2014 - 10/28/2014; 9/26/2015 - 10/3/2015; 10/20/2015 - 10/27/2015; 11/1/2015 - 11/8/2015; 9/24/2016 - 10/1/2016; 10/18/2016 - 10/25/2016; 10/30/2016 - 11/6/2016;
Duration: 7 nights
Location: Oregon/Washington
Price starting at: $4,490.00 - Price may vary based on date, departure city
Program Type: Adventure Afloat Study Cruise; Small Ship Cruising; History & Culture
Meals: 19; 7 Breakfasts, 5 Lunches, 7 Dinners    
Meal Options: Vegetarian; Low Fat; Low Salt; Gluten Free    

Study Lewis and Clark’s brave early 1800s journey, learning about the history, landscapes and culinary delights of the region aboard an expedition ship. Onboard experts specializing in nature, geology and local history accompany you. Delve into themes including the mountain crossing by the Corps of Discovery, the evolution of river navigation and the cataclysmic origins of the Columbia River Gorge.

Activity Particulars

Hikes of various distance offered to accommodate a range of fitness levels. Uneven and potentially slippery terrain. Climbing in and out of expedition landing craft or kayaks.

Join us on the November 1, 2015 date for a special Road Scholar 40th Anniversary celebration!

All day-by-day breakdowns are a sampling of the places we intend to visit, conditions permitting.

Itinerary At-a-Glance

Spokane, Wash., 1 night; aboard National Geographic Sea Bird, 6 nights.

Coordinated by Road Scholar.

Days 1-2: Arrival Spokane, Wash. / embark National Geographic Sea Bird:

Explore the city of Spokane with a local guide. Transfer to Clarkston to board the vessel. Lodging: Comfortable hotel.

Day 3: Clarkston:

Take a jet boat excursion up the Snake River over rapids and past abandoned homesteads and gold mines to Hells Canyon, the deepest gorge in North America.

Day 4: Palouse River:

Explore this small tributary by expedition landing craft or kayak and see Palouse Falls, where cascading waters plunge into pools below.

Day 5: Maryhill Museum / The Dalles, Ore.:

Visit the Columbia River Gorge Discovery Center to learn about the region's natural history and to hike or bike along the beautiful river trail. Visit the Maryhill Museum with its impressive collection of Rodin sculptures and drawings, extensive collection of Native American baskets, and other fascinating exhibits.

Day 6: Hood River and the Columbia River Gorge:

Enjoy fresh fruit from a family farm and taste award-winning wines at a local vineyard in Hood River. Continue on to the Columbia River Gorge where you’ll get a fresh perspective on such highlights as Bonneville Lock and Dam, Beacon Rock and Multnomah Falls.

Day 7: Astoria:

At Fort Clatsop, walk through the full-scale reconstructed fort where Lewis and Clark hunkered down for a harsh winter. Visit the Columbia River Maritime Museum. Choose to explore Cape Disappointment (the headland where the Columbia River meets the Pacific Ocean) or to visit the Lewis and Clark Wildlife Refuge by expedition landing craft or kayak.

Day 8: Portland / disembark / departure

National Geographic Sea Bird

Lindblad Expeditions nimble 152-foot boat carrying 62 passengers, the National Geographic Sea Bird is scaled to cater to small groups and to be in harmony with the environment. It can access areas that larger boats cannot and carries a fleet of versatile Zodiac landing craft and sea kayaks for up-close shoreline exploration.

Road Scholar Instructors
These instructors are participating on at least one date of this program. Please note that changes may occur.
Don Popejoy

Don Popejoy has always loved American history, especially that of the Pacific Northwest. He is currently involved with the Oregon/California Trail Association and his passions extend to the Lewis and Clark Trail Heritage Foundation. Don has represented the organizations as a trail guide, preservationist, board member and several other positions. Don teaches Pacific Northwest history, Lewis and Clark history, geology and global warming at Spokane Falls Community College and the Corbin Center. Don has lead, coordinated and instructed Road Scholar programs for more than 13 years. He graduated from Eastern Washington State College of Education (EWU) with a double major in U.S. history and Pacific Northwest history, and a dual minor in psychology and sociology.
Meals and Lodgings
   Red Lion River Inn
  Spokane, Washington 1 night
   M/V Sea Bird
  Columbia and Snake Rivers 6 nights
 Red Lion River Inn
Type: Three-Star Hotel
  Ship Information: n/a
  Contact info: 700 N Division St
Spokane, WA 99202 USA
phone: 509-326-5577
  Room amenities: Premium television channel(s) Premium bedding Climate control Blackout drapes/curtains Air conditioning Phone Free local calls Voice mail Microwave (on request) Refrigerator (on request) Coffee/tea maker Wake-up calls Complimentary toiletries Hair dryer Shower/tub combination Extra towels/bedding in room Electronic check-out Electronic/magnetic keys Window opens Clock radio Desk Iron/ironing board Pillowtop mattress Rollaway/extra beds available Cribs/infant beds available Speakerphone Daily housekeeping ESPN Satellite television service Free Wi-Fi
  Facility amenities: Red Lion River Inn features a spa tub and a fitness facility. The hotel offers a restaurant. A bar/lounge is on site where guests can unwind with a drink. High-speed wireless Internet access is complimentary. Business-related amenities at this 3-star property consist of audiovisual equipment and small meeting rooms. Event facilities measuring 3000 square feet (279 square meters) include conference/meeting rooms, exhibit space, and banquet facilities. This Spokane hotel also offers complimentary newspapers in the lobby, dry cleaning/laundry services, and room service (during limited hours). Complimentary parking is available on site. Red Lion River Inn is a smoke-free property. Spa tub Fitness facilities Bar/lounge Restaurant Room service (limited hours) Free parking Self parking Exhibit space Banquet facilities Multiple small meeting rooms Multiple large conference rooms Event catering Audiovisual equipment Business services Total number of rooms - 245 Safe-deposit box at front desk 24-hour front desk Express check-out Security guard ATM/banking Dry cleaning/laundry service Patio Microwave in lobby Air-conditioned public areas Number of floors - 2 Wedding services Airport transportation (complimentary) Number of outdoor pools - 2 Meeting facilities size (meters) - 279 Meeting facilities size (feet) - 3000 Smoke-free property Complimentary newspapers in lobby Free Wi-Fi
  Smoking allowed: No
  Additional nights prior: Subject to Availability Contact Road Scholar Travel Services at 800-241-1404 or via email at
  Check in time: 3:00 PM

 M/V Sea Bird
Type: Cruise Ship
  Description: Small groups in a generous amount of public space with several highly qualified team members who accompany the group throughout the cruise. Zodiac landing craft allow the group to disembark and explore almost anywhere. Menus emphasize local flair. Special expedition equipment on every ship.
  Ship Information: Length 152 feet, Beam 33 feet, Draft 8 feet, Tonnage 95 USCG cargo capacity, steel hull with aluminum superstructure, launched in 1982, cruising speed 11.5 to 12 knots.
  Contact info: Portland Docks
Portland, OR 97232 USA
phone: 800-397-3348
  Room amenities: All rooms face outside with windows, private facilities and climate controls. Keys are not issued for the cabins, but cabin doors may be locked from the inside. Category 1 (Lindblad Cat 3) Bridge Deck #105, 106 Upper Deck #214, 216, 217, 219 These cabins feature a seating unit with table and two large view windows. Upper Deck cabins include two lower single beds which can convert to a double bed and a pull-out single bed for a third person; Bridge Deck cabins include two lower single beds only. Category 02 (Lindblad Cat 2) Bridge Deck #100-104 Upper Deck #200-212, 215 These well-located cabins include two lower single beds and a view window. Category 03 (Lindblad Cat 1) Main Deck #300-305 Conveniently positioned between the Dining room and Lounge, these cabins feature two lower single beds, a writing desk and a view window. Note: Sole Occupancy cabins are available in Categories 2 and 3 only. Participants wishing to share should enroll in Cat 3.
  Facility amenities: The public areas include a library; lounge with full-service bar; facilities for films, slide shows and lectures; an observation deck; and partially covered sun deck with chairs and tables. Ship has an open bridge policy that allows you to meet the officers. There are no laundry facilities on the ship.
  Smoking allowed: No
  Bathroom: Shower only

Travel Details
  Start of Program:
5:00 PM Registration followed by dinner at 6:00 PM at the Red Lion River Inn, Spokane, WA You will be staying at Red Lion River Inn that night.
  End of Program:
Breakfast on board the ship in Portland, OR with disembarkation at 8:00 AM. You will be staying at M/V Sea Bird the night before.
  Required documents:
The Participant Information Form is required.
  Parking availability:
We will be starting the program in Spokane, WA and ending in Portland, OR. Long term parking is available at both airports.
To Start of Program
  Location:  Spokane, Washington
  From End of Program
  Location:  Columbia and Snake Rivers
Travel Details



From Airport




Hotel Shuttle
Red Lion River Inn
phone: 509-326-5577 x0


Per Person/One Way:


Prices are subject to change.


Travel Time:


15 mins. 




8 miles


The Red Lion River Inn provides a complimentary airport shuttle, 24 hours a day. When arriving to the Spokane International Airport, please first pick up your luggage, then call 509-326-5577 ext. "0" to speak with a front desk or guest services agent at the hotel to arrange the transfer.


Portland, OR


To Airport




Commercial Van/Shuttle


There will be one transfer from the ship to the airport at 8am. All participants must be off the ship by 9am. There will be a hospitality suite for luggage storage at the RiverPlace Hotel in Portland for those with late flights.

Driving Directions
  Spokane International Airport (GEG) •Follow Airport Road to Highway 2 •Follow the signs for Interstate 90 East •Continue on I-90 E to Exit 281 Division Street •Follow Division Street north across the Spokane River (approximately 9 blocks), stay in the right lane •Turn right at the traffic light onto North River Drive •Turn right into the first driveway and arrive at the hotel
The prices listed for commercial services and facilities that are not included in the program cost, such as airport shuttles or extra nights lodging, are subject to change without notice. Since Road Scholar cannot guarantee the accuracy of these prices, we strongly suggest contacting the companies directly for the most up-to-date information.

Daily Schedule

Day 1: Arrive Spokane, Washington / Registration and Orientation / Welcome Dinner
(Tuesday, October 21)
 Afternoon: Hotel Check-in: Available from 3:00 p.m.

Registration: After you have your room assignment, stop by the Road Scholar desk beginning at 5:00 p.m. (location will be posted on the hotel reader board) to meet the program staff and pick up your arrival packet containing your name tag, the up-to-date schedule, and other program information along with the time for our dinner and orientation.

Please be aware that program activities and scheduled times could change due to local circumstances. In the event of changes, we will alert you as quickly as possible. Thank you for your understanding.
 Dinner: In our private meeting space, join your fellow Road Scholar travelers to enjoy our first dinner as a group.
 Evening: Following dinner we will hold introductions and a program orientation to review the daily schedule, discuss responsibilities, safety guidelines, emergency procedures and answer any questions you may have. Following orientation you are free to relax, settle in and get a good night's sleep for the full day tomorrow.
Accommodations: Red Lion River Inn
Meals Included: Dinner

Day 2: Spokane / Clarkston
(Wednesday, October 22)
 Breakfast: At the hotel.
 Morning: Enjoy a walking tour of downtown Spokane, The Riverside Park, and view the Spokane Falls. Throughout the walking tour your study leader will discuss the geology and the early history of Spokane. We return to the hotel by 11:30am and check out of the hotel. We'll store our luggage until after lunch.
 Lunch: Lunch on your own in Spokane. Road Scholar staff will provide you with some nearby suggestions and set a location and time for gathering back together.
 Afternoon: Coach transfer from Spokane to Clarkston. On the bus ride enjoy a historical narrative from your study leader. Once you arrive in Clarkston you will Embark the MV Sea Bird.
 Dinner: Aboard the ship. Unassigned seating makes for easy mingling and informal dining. Menu will emphasize local fair and your Study Leader hosts one table.
 Evening: Each evening will include a review of the next days activities, a presentation by ship or Road Scholar staff or depending on the days activities, some time to relax and rest.
Accommodations: M/V Sea Bird
Meals Included: Breakfast, Dinner

Day 3: Clarkston
(Thursday, October 23)
 Breakfast: Aboard the ship.
 Morning: At Clarkston, we find ourselves at the confluence of the Snake and Clearwater rivers, more than 450 miles from the sea. Today, travel by comfortable jet boat up the Snake River into one of North America’s most scenic spots, spectacular Hells Canyon.
 Lunch: Lunch enroute.
 Afternoon: In the afternoon, return to the ship and begin sailing down the Snake River, the longest tributary of the Columbia River. Rugged mountains divided by rolling plains make up the Snake River Plain created by a volcanic hotspot which now lies underneath Yellowstone National Park, the headwaters of the Snake River. The canyons and ridges along the middle and lower Snake were created by Ice Age floods. By the time Lewis and Clark crossed the Rockies and sighted the Snake river, the Nez Perce and Shoshone were the most powerful people in the region. Learn about the travels of Lewis and Clark in this area.
 Dinner: Aboard the ship.
 Evening: Spend the evening with fellow participants discussing the day's activities.
Accommodations: M/V Sea Bird
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 4: Exploring the Palouse River
(Friday, October 24)
 Breakfast: Aboard the ship.
 Morning: The still water of the Palouse River is the perfect mirror for the surrounding basalt cliffs as we set off on our Zodiac cruises and kayak adventures. Visit Palouse Falls where cascading waters plunge into pools below.
 Lunch: Aboard the ship.
 Afternoon: Join your study leader and ship experts for an afternoon lecture.
 Dinner: While sailing down the river, you'll enjoy local food prepared by the Head Chef.
 Evening: Re-cap the days events and discuss the areas we will be visiting tomorrow.
Accommodations: M/V Sea Bird
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 5: The Dalles / Maryhill Museum
(Saturday, October 25)

Note: This day will include an optional morning hike or bike ride. Participants must be able to walk at least 1 mile. Alternate activities will be available.

 Breakfast: Aboard the ship.
 Morning: Visit the Columbia River Gorge Discovery Center to learn about the natural history of the Gorge. You may hike or take bicycles along historic Highway 30. For those not wanting to participate in those activities, there will be the option to walk in The Dalles or sit and relax in town.
 Lunch: On board the ship.
 Afternoon: In the afternoon you’ll explore the Maryhill Museum and view its extensive and eclectic collection of native baskets, Rodin sculptures, and other fascinating exhibits. After our visit to the museum we will stop at Maryhill Winery which began producing wines in 2001 and offers many red and white wines for tasting.
 Dinner: Enjoy a cocktail hour to recap the days experiences followed by dinner.
Accommodations: M/V Sea Bird
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 6: Hood River / Columbia River Gorge
(Sunday, October 26)

Note: Today's hikes range from 1.7 miles to 2.7 miles with inclines of 200-400 feet.

 Breakfast: Light breakfast aboard the ship
 Morning: This morning we'll head to the Hood River Valley to visit a local farm to taste freshly picked fruit from an area famous for its quality fruit. As we travel to the farm enjoy spectacular views of Mt. Hood and Mt. Adams.
 Lunch: Aboard the ship.
 Afternoon: This afternoon we'll see more of the spectacular Columbia River Gorge. You'll get a fresh perspective on such highlights as Beacon Rock, the core of an ancient volcano and Lewis and Clark campsite; Multnomah Falls, a roaring 611 foot waterfall; and Crown Point, whose Vista House built in 1916 sits atop a historic point important to the settling of the Pacific Northwest.
 Dinner: Aboard the ship.
Accommodations: M/V Sea Bird
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 7: Astoria
(Monday, October 27)
 Breakfast: Aboard the ship.
 Morning: We near the end of our Westward journey as Lewis and Clark did, by navigating the Columbia to the mouth of the river at Astoria. At Fort Clatsop, where the explorers hunkered down for the wet winter of 1805-1806, we'll walk through the full-scale reconstructed fort. Visit the Columbia River Maritime Museum, which chronicles the history of river navigation and this port town.
 Lunch: Aboard the ship.
 Afternoon: In the afternoon you can choose to visit Cape Disappointment or Zodiac and kayak in the Lewis and Clark Wildlife Refuge, conditions permitting.
 Dinner: Enjoy your final celebratory dinner aboard the ship as we discuss the highlights of our journey.
 Evening: Rest, relax and finish packing in preparation for our disembarkation tomorrow.
Accommodations: M/V Sea Bird
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 8: Portland, OR / Disembark
(Tuesday, October 28)
 Breakfast: Aboard the ship.
 Morning: After breakfast disembark the ship at 8:00 a.m. and transfer to the airport for flights home.

This concludes our program.

We hope you've enjoyed your Road Scholar learning adventure and look forward to having you on rewarding programs in the future. Please be in touch via the Road Scholar Social Network, where you can share memories, pictures, and comments. Best wishes for all of your journeys.
Meals Included: Breakfast
Important information about your itinerary: Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy and completeness of the information featured on this website. Itineraries are based on our best information at this time. Circumstances beyond our control may require us to adjust itineraries or other details. We regret any inconvenience this may cause and appreciate your understanding. Information will be sent to you from your Program Provider approximately three weeks prior to the program start date. The prices listed for commercial services and facilities that are not included in the program cost, such as airport shuttles or extra nights lodging, are subject to change without notice. Since Road Scholar cannot guarantee the accuracy of these prices, we strongly suggest contacting the companies directly for the most up-to-date information.

Suggested Reading List

A River Lost

Author: Blaine Harden

Description: A River Lost compares the way the river looked for the Corps of Discovery to now, giving a fascinating look at the incredible changes the great river has undergone in 60 years. It covers the same geographic area that you will traverse, so it's directly relevant to the cruise.

Bound for Glory

Author: Woody Guthrie

Fire, Faults & Floods: A Road & Trail Guide Exploring the Origins of the Columbia River

Author: Mueller/Mueller

National Geographic Field Guide to the Birds of North America, Sixth Edition

Author: Jon L. Dunn and Jonathan Alderfer

Northwest Passage: The Great Columbia River

Author: William Dietrich

People of the River: Native Arts of the Oregon Territory

Author: Bill Mercer

Undaunted Courage: Meriwether Lewis, Thomas Jefferson, and the Opening of the American West

Author: Stephen E. Ambrose

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