Our last few day visiting with Jason and Kate were filled with activity and exploration. On Saturday we headed to the Oregon coast and visited several beaches, a cheese factory (Tillamook Cheese) and had corn dogs at the original ‘Pronto Pup’ place. We hiked and hung out on a beach, had lunch at a local pub and filled jugs at a spring. . . all in all a great day. Sunday started with a power failure which everyone tried to pin on me until it was discovered that 0ver 25,000 people were without power (but I think I am still suspect). Jay’s neighbors came over for a visit once they discovered we had the secret to making coffee — we had our camp stove. It was a great morning of chatting and story telling.
We then went downtown and hiked for a few hours taking in the sights of Portland, which is a beautiful town. An open air market was taking place along the riverfront and we had to check everything out. We crossed the Willamette River a couple of time where the views are spectacular. On the way home we stopped at Bella's pizza place and had some of the best pizza around. Back at Jason’s we all got comfy for a movie night on the 120 inch TV. Yesterday morning (I am writing this Tuesday morning) was a difficult morning as we had to say goodby, which is always an emotional time. Our visit was way too short as all visits can be and now we miss Jason and Kate even more.
After getting gas we started driving east. Homeward bound, generally speaking, heading up the Columbia River gorge along route 84. Shortly we diverted from the highway and drove up the Historic Columbia River Highway to Vista House, a beautiful spot high above the river with an outstanding view of the valley and the gorge. This is a must see view, and we were not the only ones there. Leaving the Vista House we continued east along the old highway but shortly came to a halt as traffic was a bad as it gets. This old highway is a two lane road filled with switchbacks and the traffic came to a dead stop. It took over an hour to cover the next mile, as people were waiting for parking spots. We had wanted to stop at a couple of places but still needed to make some miles today, so it turned out to that we were not to hike here today. Next time, maybe.
We did stop further up Route 84 at the Bonneville Dam at Bradford Island. Now this is an amazing place to stop. The have lots of exhibits, like a tour of a lock on the river, fish ladders complete with underwater viewing and a great vies of the dam and it tremendous power. I don’t know exactly when it happened but suddenly we were in a foreign landscape..the trees were gone and it seemed as though we had left Oregon behind, but no, this was still Oregon, not the one you have pictured in your head but grassy rolling plains with buttes and mesas and such, filled with sagebrush! Who knew. . . Oregon had changed suddenly and without warning. We drove through this landscape for hours until we crossed over into Washington State, which looked the same. It wasn’t until we were approaching Spokane that trees started to reappear along the roadside and as we rolled into Spokane that mountains began to appear on the eastern horizon. We rolled into a hotel in the evening and basically collapsed. . . a long day on the road with the view blurred by tears from saying goodby.