"Things that matter most must never be at the mercy of things that matter least." ~Goethe~

11 May 2009

I'm back!!!!

Well, we are back home (have been for a few days) and getting back into our routine again.  The saying "you need a vacation after a vacation" is so true! We had a busy, fun and most wonderful trip.  Every day there was something new to do and by the days end back at our friends house, everyone just about collapsed into bed ready to get some sleep for the next days adventure.  :)  I would have liked for the trip to be longer because when we came home we found that the LEAK we had before came back and it was louder than ever.  Luckily no water in the house.  So a few days were spent locating it finally with the help of another friend of ours and a plumber was called in to end this stressful bit of excitement in my life.  Do you know how nice it is to go to sleep at night and not hear a hissing in the pipes and to know that the water meter isn't spinning any more!  Pure BLISS!!!  I'm am a happy camper now!!!

Well, on to better things!!
 We had a wonderful time in...  OREGON!!  We went to visit our very dear friends (family) Gary and Chris who we have known since we were in the USAF in New Mexico.  We wanted to kick ourselves after the road trip to their house because a days drive is not bad and we could have visited them sooner!  Live and learn.  :)

We left early in the morning on the 25th of April.  Not as early as we had planned.  I couldn't drag my tail out of bed to start the "schedule" out right.  I'm glad I delayed things because there were some really cool things to see that I've never paid attention to before.
We zoomed down the highway (I-84) headed for Oregon.  The state line is only about a 40 minute drive from our house.  The sun was coming over the foothills near our house and the light was beautiful shining down on everything.  Ontario, OR was a blur.  Sorry but not much there.  Been there, done that.  Just west of town you start climbing into the rolling hills.  They were much steeper than what I remembered but pretty in their own little way.  The Snake River was running high and fast already with the snow that has melted.  There was road construction off and on during the days trip and up through the mountain passes I was glad to see concrete barriers between us and the traffic on the other side.  I thought a 6 or 7% grade was not my cup of tea on hilly roads but then we came to a 9%, with construction.  I looked out to the hills so I wouldn't see the big trucks whizzing around the corners as we were speeding down the twisty road.  Glenn appreciated that also, otherwise I probably would have been reminding him of the speed limit/warning signs for the corners.  :P
Past Baker City, OR  we started to see the Blues Mountains.  Yes, end of April and there was still snow on the mountains.  Matter of fact it had snowed there three days before our trip!  Good thing the road was bare.  We saw some old abandoned mines along side the highway and some really old farms.  The barns were so cool to see.  I love to look and see how many styles there are of barns, especially in the different areas of the country.
We stopped in La Grande, Or to top off the tank.  I'm still having issues with the fact that you can't pump your own gas in Oregon.  It takes for ever!  And that gets your goat when you want to get back on the road fast.  You usually have one person tending to many pumps and you have to stand there waiting for the person to bounce back around to where you are just to take the nozzle out of the car and hit a button to print a receipt.  You want to see someone get really bent out of shape?  Pull into a gas station, jump out of your car while taking your debit card out of your wallet as the pump person notices you have out of state plates!  That gets them running over to you!  Kind of funny seeing the person spaz out while saying "please DON'T touch the pump"!  That is about the only funny part of the whole filling your tank bit.  And to think that they get $8 an hour for that job.  Sorry, but a bit of a waste to me.  There is a reason why my Daddy taught me how to pump my own gas.

So we start winding our way through The Blues, watching for those who don't seem to pay attention the road rules or the lines painted on the roads.  I thought I was going to need a drink!  Let's just say that some people in Oregon drive differently than the rest of us.  We saw some deer (luckily not on the road),  birds, lots of snow at the top of the range and then the sign for Deadman's Pass.  Sorry I don't have pictures.  I was too busy looking out the window at the hills we were whizzing past again.  I did peek one time to see how high up the road was and to catch a quick view of the valley below.  Wouldn't you know a gust of wind whipped by just as I was looking, making the truck sway a bit and my stomach flipped a couple of times.  So I got to see a lot of green and brown stuff until we came to the valley floor.  I was free entertainment for the girls and Glenn.  I do try to do my part in making them happy whenever I can.  :)  I don't think Glenn had the truck out of 4th gear down the whole hill just to save the brakes.  There were some crazys who thought they needed to try to take the turns as fast as possible.  I'm just not a steep road mountainy kind a person, especially at fast speeds.  I'm a wuss I must admit.  No shame in that.  I'm quite happy with it.  :)
Past Pendleton, Or you start to see the BIG Columbia River.  The wind was blowing so hard down in the valley that there were white caps on the river.  I thought that was neat.  Poor Glenn was really hanging on to the wheel for a few hours do to the strong winds whipping along the river.  There were even some very large barges on the river do to quite a few of the towns along the rivers edge were port towns.  Never seen that before other than on the Mississippi.  And for the remainder of the road trip, the river was to be seen until we exited off the interstate in Portland.
After a bit we came to an area where there were tons of wind mills.  Smart area to put them in I tell you.  Plenty of wind to go around.  You could even see small swells on the river from time to time.
We went past one of the dams that had a lock canal on the far side so that the big boats can go up and down the river.  Pretty cool.
Here's a smaller barge on the river.  Not sure what it's doing or what it's for being it was in the same spot when we were coming back home.  ?  About this time the girls noticed a big rig on the highway along the Washington side of the river.  They watched it from time to time for about 1 1/2 hrs, going about the same speed as we were.  When Brenna notice that the highway in WA was turning away from the river she waved goodbye to her red big rig.  She got a little sad that she couldn't see "her" truck anymore.
We saw a railroad lift bridge down the river.  Looked too old and rusty to me.  But there was a train heading right for it from WA.
We went through The Dalles where we stopped for gas again.  I'm a nag about filling up at a half tank.  I don't want to know what it fills like to run out of gas.  :)  I asked the girl who was pumping our gas if it is always windy here and she said that the winds are strong about 85-90% of the year.  Could not imagine having to deal with that in the winter!  Not me!!  She said it's weird not to hear the wind on the days it winds down a bit.  I would go crazy.  Breezes are nice, not wind like that.
We caught a glimpse of Mount Hood as we were coming into The Dalles.  But also so that we were going to have to deal with some rain from all the clouds there were moving.  Little did I know that this is the normal color of the sky for the majority of the time.
The closer we got to Portland there were so many colors of trees.  Just beautiful.  I was trying to help Glenn with the wheel just so he could get a glimpse of all the green colors along the way.  That would be awesome to have around all the time.  Beautiful!
We exited off the highway before Portland to go and see Multnomah Falls, all 620 ft of it.  The rained had already started.  But we had to see it.  Because when does it not rain in this area.  If that was the reason for not stopping, we would never see it.  To get over to the falls you had to park in the lot between the interstate and then walked under the bridge where the highway passed over.  The girls thought it was cool that cars were "running over" them.
Luckily it was just misting when we headed up to the viewing area.  The little jackets the girls got in the mail just before the trip were just right.  Thanks Tante Moni!!
Of course everyone wanted to go on the 1 mile hike that winds up the side of the mountain to see the top of the falls (except me).
But I gave in and started up the trail with the crew.
There were lots of little streams everywhere.  The sound was wonderful I must admit.  I would love to have a water feature in my yard to hear that little babbling all day long.  Better than pipes hissing.
We got up to the bridge to see the first drop of the falls and wouldn't you know it, it really started to rain.  The girls said I wished for it.  They obviously weren't paying attention to all the clouds in the big gray mass called the sky.  But I was a little happy. :)
The mist alone from the falls would soak you.  No need for a shower after standing there on the bridge.  So off we went back down to the truck before getting totally soaked.  I thought that the jacket I brought for the trip would be all I would need.  Little did I know.  It sucks for Oregon weather.  Trust me.  You need a wind breaker/raincoat mix when in this area.  So I was on the look for a decent one while traveling around.  But didn't want anything with "cheesy" embroidery on it either.  Lots of that I tell you.
So off we went, back in the truck all damp, heading for Portland.  Everything was very green but had that kind of grungy, big city look to it.  Not for me.  And the roads were hilly and twisty all through the city.  The traffic was way to backed up every where.  And let not even get started about the street signs that are posted way too low for anyone to get a glimpse before you have to make a turn!  Could not imagine having to deal with congestion, the twists and hills in the winter.  I would be on medication for my nerves.  But that wasn't the worst as far as the roads are concerned.  More on that later. ;)  I would surely lose my sense of direction in Oregon. I now understand why the majority of Oregonians have direction navigators in their cars.  I'd be calling home all the time asking for someone to come find me.  We arrived at our destination, Gary and Chris's to be warmly welcomed by Chris and the dogs, Sassy and Rex.  Not a bad drive at all.  Not sure why we hadn't made the trip before.  It was surely a wake up call about how we let non-important things take up too much time in our lives.  
There was lots of catching up going on, grilling, side splitting laughing, etc. to be had once Gary came home from work.  Everyone went to bed late.  But we got an early start the next morning for some more exciting adventures that were to be had.  More on that tomorrow!  Sorry but I have to keep you wanting more of  what else we did while on our trip.  I know the suspense is killing you, but be patient.  I will share more tomorrow.

Well, off to get going on some chores being I did nothing yesterday.  It was a nice, relaxing Mothers Day here yesterday.  I had breakfast made for me, a quick lunch was had, some wonderful yarn time was had, a wonderful Chinese chicken salad for dinner, and after a very warm relaxing shower there was more yarn time while being surrounded by the girls as we watched a neat nature show.  

Life is good.


  1. What a wonderful trip!! You don't even know how jealous I am ;) My husband and I spent our internships together in college in Brookings,OR, right on the coast at the southwestern corner of OR. What a gorgeous state. And Idaho ain't so bad either :) Went passed through there too on the way. Long time ago...ahh...those were the days.

  2. Thanks for posting this wonderful travelogue! I hope to get to see the Giant Western Windmills in their natural habitat someday. We just don't have anything like it near DC!

  3. Sounds like you had a wonderful adventure. Glad to have you back! :-)

  4. Wow! Beautiful pictures. What an adventure. Sorry it took me so long to get caught up. Liz