Thursday, April 10, 2008

The Last Two Days on The Road Home ~ Episode Eleven

In Episode Ten, we had pulled into a RV Park in Burns, Oregon.  It was freezing, snowing and generally miserable.  The next morning I headed off to the women's shower room (had it all to myself).  It was warm, clean and country~cozy cute.  Cute wallpaper, beautiful shower curtains on each shower stall....I could have stayed in there all day.

We left Burns about 10:15am that cold Saturday morning after gassing up the truck (bad gas we later discovered~as we chugged along the highway). Continuing up Highway 395 we finally came to the little town of Rufus, Oregon. They had a Shell station there and Bob put a bottle of HEAT into the gas tank and added 5 gallons of super dooper premium gas. The truck settled down a little but on acceleration at about 50 mph, the truck acted like it was starved for gas. It was bucking like a wild horse.  (Later fixed the problem at home with new plug wires).

Again we were driving thru snow covered, desolate territory with little towns here and there.  There was no industry out there so I guess they were mainly retired folk or cattle/sheep ranchers. 

At one point during the day we crossed the 45th Parallel~the middle of the world.  Eventually we began seeing more civilization and finally came to Pendleton, Oregon (does anyone out there have a Pendleton Wool blanket? The factory is here)  near the banks of the mighty Columbia River.  At this point we turned west along Highway 84 with the Columbia to our right.   This area is one of our favorites and we've spent many days in this scenic wonderland.  I love it there, no matter what the weather.  We stopped at The Dalles, Oregon (The Dalles Dam is there) Safeway and got stuff for dinner and then continued on to our favorite campground on the Oregon side.  When you  approach Memaloose Oregon State Park, the first thing you see is a "Rest Area" sign.  But as you drive thru the rest area, you turn down the hill and there's the most delightful campground I've ever seen.  It's clean, with nice green grass and lovely big trees and right up above the river.  There were maybe only 15 RV's there but of course they had hogged up the best view spots.  But we found a nice level spot with a partial view from the camper window.  We ate dinner and watched a little TV.   The next morning we got up, unhooked and went into Hood River, Oregon for breakfast.  Hood River is like the wind surfing capital of the world.  During the summer there are people from all over the world there surfing the river. We pulled into the big parking lot set aside for the surfers and watched the brave few that were out there in the freezing cold wind.  Years ago they all surfed with colorful sails attached to their boards but now they are using kites attached to their boards instead.  It was so cold and the wind was blowing so hard, we only watched them for about 30 minutes.

We continued on, stopping at Cascade Locks, Oregon.  This is another great little town.  In the summer they have a couple stern wheelers running up anddown the river.  They travel west down around the Bonneville dam and then back up the river away's.  We have taken the ride a couple times in years past.  At the Bonneville Dam Visitor Center there is a fish hatchery (saw some baby salmon~yum, yum) and a tank with sturgeon swimming round & round.  There's one big boy, Herman, the 60 year old sturgeon who is 9 feet long and weighs in at 400 pounds.  He's the main attraction.  This lovely area has lots of free parking, picnic areas and a great gift shop.  Also from this area, you can see the beautiful "Bridge of the God's" connecting Oregon and Washington.

From Highway 84 we took a turn and went up on old Highway 30.  There's about 14 miles of this old highway left and it passes by some of the most breath taking scenery the Columbia River Gorge area has to offer.  You pass by 11 of them, Multnomah Falls is 620 feet high.  There's plenty of parking there, an interpretive center and a lovely restaurant available.

The next breath taking place is Crown Point State Park.  It sits 733 feet above the Columbia , offering a 30-mile vista of the Gorge.  On a clear day Mt Hood stands proud in the distance. The building up there is called the Vista House and was built in 1916.  We've spent a lot of time up there on warm summer days...but this day it was cold & windy.  So took some pictures and headed down to the main highway.

Soon we were entering the maze of highways crossing the Columbia River in the Portland area.  Half way across the bridge was the sign "Welcome to Washington."  I was so happy to see that sign.   It was about 5:30pm, raining, dark and Bob kept saying how tired he was so at the first rest stop after we passed Vancouver, WA we pulled over.  He crawled up into the top of the camper to take a snooze.  I was down on my bunk reading my book and the next thing I knew he was saying "Linda, wake's after 8pm." 

Explanation needed here.  I have never done any of the driving on these trips.  I don't do well driving his big truck, I don't particularly like to drive even my car on the freeway and I really hate to drive at night & in the's called "very poor night vision."  So he is the driver, I am the navigator.

So after having a bite to eat...we hopped back into the front of the truck and headed north on Interstate 5.  Within 2 hours we were driving into a very familiar quote Dorothy in "The Wizard of Oz"    THERE'S NO PLACE LIKE HOME !   

Thank you all for coming with me on this 3,209.2 mile adventure. I hope you enjoyed yourself.....and I promise to take you all on the next one.


jjdolfin9 said...

What a fabulous trip.  Your photo's are amazing.  What beautiful scenery.  Love the cat getting her last licks in
Hugs, Joyce

lv2trnscrb said...

loved all the pictures; that falls one must have been a sight to see!! great trip you had; you guys covered a lot of miles and it seems like you had a blast even though there were some stressful parts of it, license lost, your knee problems, etc, but all in all a wonderful adventure!!!!!

can't wait for your next trip!!

I'm the same way as you are; I rarely drive when we travel some place; I have bad night vision too!


mariealicejoan said...

Oh what beautiful scenery you got to see on your trip Linda!  I really enjoyed all the pictures and also the narrative.  You do such a wonderful job in  sharing it with us!  I am sorry it is over now, for I have truly enjoyed it so very much!  When are you taking another trip?  lol  Not that I want you to go, but I do enjoy going along with you!
Have a lovely weekend with Gabi!

breakaway1968 said...

OH MY GOSH those pictures were wonderful!  LOVED the falls and that statue!!  WOW.   And I didn't know people water ski like that! LOL  FUN  Thanks for sharing those.

kirkbyj05 said...

I loved all the photos espcially the sculpture and the wild flowers.  
I have enjoyed reading all about your holiday too.  You made me feel as though I was there with you.
Thanks for that.
Jeanie xxx

treesrgreen78 said...

This entry brought tears to my eyes, I love Oregon.  I have been through many of the areas you mention, brought back so many memories for me.  Oregon is truly a very picturesque state so very much beauty.  Your words and descriptions throughout the whole entry made me feel like I was right there.  I am trying very hard to get to Oregon this summer, never been there in the summer, I am having some problems with being able to leave at the moment but if I do get there I would be most honoured to meet you.  Thank you for the wonderful pictures and the most  beautiful discriptive words of a place I truly love.

yakima127 said...

I have family all over Oregon; some very close to The Dalles...
It is quite an experience, getting to that sign "Welcome To Washington"  right in the middle of that bridge. You have to leave and come back to realize how truly green it is here, don't you think???  Your trip, although not the best weather, sounds like an adventure.  Greast stories and details.  Wouldn't expect anything less from you, though...

justplainbill said...

WOW. 3.200 + miles, that is a lot of driving. I only do 5,000 miles a year. Now I know why I like cruises.
Great trip and pcitures, thanks for sharing, Bill

katie39041 said...

Thank you for taking us on your adventure. I truly enjoyed every minute of it. Coming from the UK your showing us the US the way it should be shown. Although i would like to see it myself, its a trip i will never be able to take. But hey i was there with you sat up front with you and Bob I did not miss a thing. Thank you again
Love and hugs

labdancer51 said...

I`ve really enjoyed your trip Linda, you could write a travel book as you describe everything so well. I will be looking at your back entries as I missed several of them.

Love Sandra xxxx

wwfbison said...

Once again another great travel entry and wonderful pictures.  I agree with some of the other comments, you could easily write a travel guide.  Thanks for sharing your journey with us.

deshelestraci said...

I love the River Gorge.  So beautiful!  My parents live in Vancouver.  And my sister.  So miss it!