“It took us an hour and a half in those days to drive just from Rhododendron to Government Camp…”
These days, if you are traveling to Mt. Hood from Portland, it is about a one and a half hour drive to reach your destination.
During the early 1900s, when the first automobile trips were made to Mt. Hood, it really was an adventure, taking up to three days to get from Portland to Government Camp, a sixty-mile trek over mostly dirt (and mud) roads.
Off to Mt. Hood chronicles the early days of road trips to Mt. Hood as told by Ivan M. Woolley, who was a college student at the time and would drive tourists in a 4-cylinder, 48 horse power 1907 Pierce Arrow during his summer breaks. In those days, most visitors would not drive their own vehicle on the somewhat sketchy road; they hired a driver, like Mr. Woolley. And only the adventurous even made their way to the mountain.
Mr. Woolley’s autobiography is sprinkled with stories of personal experiences of Mr. Woolley and his compatriots and passengers. He shares the hardships and stories of many of the early settlers who also opened road houses in the area, including Wemme, Welches, Faubion, Tawny, McIntyre and more.