Tuesday, August 17, 2010
to Portland with Lewis and Clark
Back to the trip to the great Northwest, the reporting on which has been shamefully delayed by a bout of ennui . . .
If anyone ever suggests to you that you go along for the ride from Spokane to Portland, drop everything and go. The route takes you along the banks of the gorgeous Columbia River, on the route taken by Lewis and Clark in 1804-06. What a spectacular sight! The weather could not have been more perfect; clear, warm, sunny, with the broad blue river flowing from its headwaters in British Columbia to Portland and on to the Pacific Ocean. The forest comes right to the edge of the highway. Washington state is on the other side of the river; there's the occasional trestle bridge to the other side. Along this road are some of the prettiest rest stops I've been to, with wide lawns, lots of picnic tables under fragrant conifers, and stunning views. I saw people in sailboats, canoes and kayaks out enjoying the river, plus a few fishermen trying their luck.
After lunch, as we got closer to Portland, we came around a wide bend in the highway and there, looming ahead of us, Mount Hood. I actually gasped when I saw it, snowy and sparkling in the sunshine. It seemed incongruous to have this sight in the heat of August. Some reading about the mountain says that it has snow year around and summer skiing is not unheard of. There's the beautiful blue river, the green forests, people out enjoying the water, and this snow-covered mountain topping the whole thing. No wonder people love living in Oregon. I want to go back and explore more of it.
We got to our friends' house about 4 o'clock (after getting lost several times, driving around for about half an hour until we finally found the right road). Patti and Joann live in a wonderful big, light-filled house up on a hill at the end of a cul-de-sac. We had dinner outside in the warm evening ~ until the mosquitoes drove us indoors ~ and got caught up. They have an apartment in Cuyutlán so we will see them again in December.
Then next morning we headed off down I-5 toward Grants Pass. From there we were going to go out to the California coast, perhaps Crescent City, for the night. But as we got closer we decided to make a full court press and go all the way home. Soon, another spectacular mountain sight, this time Shasta.
Not as much snow but stunning nonetheless. It's a long slog from Portland to Villa Splendido; 600 miles, 10 hours. But it was good to be home. We rolled in at 7:30, had a quick supper, and were asleep by 9 PM. I love seeing all those beautiful places, but it's always good to get back. It hadn't been blistering hot while we were gone so the garden survived nicely.
The next chore was to tidy up the guest quarters for daughter Caitlin who arrived the next day from Bozeman for her 25th high school reunion. And I can remember her first day of kindergarten.
NOTE TO READERS: This is probably the most uninspired piece I have ever posted about travel. If I don't do it right away the thrill is gone. Next trip I am keeping the LapMac open and running as I speed down the road (when Mr. C is driving, of course) so I can jot down what I see and what I think about what I see at that very moment. Next week we take off for a week of sailing and frolic in Lunenburg, Nova Scotia. Perhaps that reporting will be more interesting. It could possibly be quite exciting; we fly stand-by and have to get seats on four flights to make it to Halifax. Stay tuned.