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Columbia and Snake Rivers: History and Harvest by Small Ship

Program Number: 20445RJ
Start and End Dates:
10/13/2013 - 10/20/2013; 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: $4,390.00 - Price may vary based on date, departure city
Program Type: Adventure Afloat Study Cruise; Small Ship; History & Culture
Meals: 19; 7 Breakfasts, 5 Lunches, 7 Dinners    
Meal Options: Vegetarian; Low Fat; Low Salt    

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.

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: 186-659-9667 x4
  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
  Elevators available: Yes
  Additional nights prior: TBD Please Contact PD for rates
  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:
Program begins with a program orientation at the Red Lion River Inn in Spokane, Washington. You will be staying at Red Lion River Inn that night.
  End of Program:
Program ends after breakfast on board the ship in Portland, Oregon with transfers to the airport. You will be staying at M/V Sea Bird the night before.
  Required documents:
The Participant Information Form is required.
  Parking availability:
Parking is available at the Lewiston-Nez Perce Regional Airport in Lewiston, Idaho and at the Portland International Airport in Portland, Oregon.
To Start of Program
  Location:  Spokane, Washington
  From End of Program
  Location:  Columbia and Snake Rivers
Travel Details

Spokane, WA


From Airport




Commercial Van/Shuttle


There will be two transfers from the Spokane Airport to the Red Lion River Inn. These transfers will depart the Spokane Airport at 1:30 p.m. and 4:00 p.m. If you are unable to make the arranged transfers, you will be responsible for getting yourself to the Red Lion River Inn on your own.


Portland, OR


To Airport




Commercial Van/Shuttle


There will be one transfer from the ship to the Portland Airport at 8:00 a.m. All participants must be off the ship by 9:00 a.m. There will be a hospitality suite for luggage storage at the River Place 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 / Transfer to the program hotel
(Sunday, October 13)
 Afternoon: Arrive in Spokane, Washington and transfer to the Red Lion River Inn. Meet with your study leader and other Road Scholar participants in the late afternoon for your program orientation.
 Dinner: Enjoy dinner at the Red Lion River Inn with the rest of your group and your group leader.
Accommodations: Red Lion River Inn
Meals Included: Dinner

Day 2: Spokane / Clarkston
(Monday, October 14)
 Breakfast: At the hotel.
 Morning: Enjoy a walking tour of downtown Spokane, 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 11:30 a.m. in order to check out.
 Lunch: On your own in Spokane.
 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: On board the ship. Unassigned seating makes for easy mingling and informal dining. Menu will emphasize local flair and your Study Leader hosts one table.
Accommodations: M/V Sea Bird
Meals Included: Breakfast, Dinner

Day 3: Clarkston
(Tuesday, October 15)
 Breakfast: On board the ship.
 Morning: In 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: Enjoy lunch at a local lodge.
 Afternoon: Return to the ship to begin sailing down the Snake River.
 Dinner: On board the ship.
Accommodations: M/V Sea Bird
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 4: Exploring the Palouse River
(Wednesday, October 16)
 Breakfast: On board 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: On board the ship.
 Afternoon: Join your study leader and ship experts for an afternoon lecture.
 Dinner: Enjoy a BBQ on deck.
Accommodations: M/V Sea Bird
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 5: The Dalles / Maryhill Museum
(Thursday, October 17)

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

 Breakfast: On board the ship.
 Morning: Visit the Columbia River Gorge Discovery Center to learn about the natural history of the Gorge. Hike or take bicycles along the Columbia River Scenic Highway.
 Lunch: On board the ship.
 Afternoon: Visit the Maryhill Museum and view its extensive and eclectic collection of native baskets, Rodin sculptures and much more. Then visit the award-winning Maryhill winery for a tasting and tour.
 Dinner: Enjoy a cocktail hour to recap the day's experiences followed by dinner.
Accommodations: M/V Sea Bird
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 6: Columbia River Gorge / Hood River
(Friday, October 18)

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

 Breakfast: On board the ship.
 Morning: Start with a visit to Gorge White House and farm. Enjoy stunning views of Mount Hood and Mount Adams. Travel the Historic Gorge Highway to walk or hike among towering waterfalls.
 Lunch: On board the ship.
 Afternoon: Transit Bonneville Lock and get a fresh perspective on Gorge highlights such as Beacon Rock, Multnomah Falls and Crown Point.
 Dinner: On board the ship.
Accommodations: M/V Sea Bird
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 7: Astoria
(Saturday, October 19)
 Breakfast: On board 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 walk through the full-scale reconstructed fort. Visit the Columbia River Maritime Museum, which chronicles the history of river navigation and this port town. NOTE: Due to the recent government shut down, there may be changes to this day's itinerary. If Fort Clatsop is closed, the program will visit Fort Stevens instead.
 Lunch: On board 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: On board the ship.
Accommodations: M/V Sea Bird
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 8: Portland, OR / Disembark
(Sunday, October 20)
 Breakfast: On board the ship.
 Morning: After breakfast, disembark the ship and transfer to the airport for flights home.
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.

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