Tuesday, October 15, 2013

The Destination

And now, we return you to your regularly scheduled program...


Eastern Washington reminds me quite a bit of eastern South Dakota. And eastern Wyoming. And pretty much all of Nebraska and Iowa.

What I mean is ... it's pretty flat and open. Not entirely flat, not watch-your-dog-run-away-for-three-days flat, but pretty flat. And dry. And ... well, not exactly an interesting drive, although it was nice to get out in the open after a couple solid days in the mountains.

Having woken up in Spokane, though, there was really only one logical route to Portland -- and that took me right through eastern Washington.

But then ... Then you cross the Columbia River.

Only one member of my party died! Even though everyone got cholera from those dang berries...
Whoops. I mean...
I may have gone a tad overboard with pictures taken JUST to get Mt. Hood in the background.

Easily the best part of the 350-mile trek from Spokane to Portland is the 150 miles spent along the Columbia River. I-84 is more fun to drive here than most interstate I've driven, but what's particularly fun is Historic Highway 30.

Well, fun unless you meet too many RVs. C'est la vie.

It is also along this stretch that you have the chance to see several waterfalls. I took the time to stop for one -- Multnomah Falls, the best known of the falls there.

Multnomah Falls is a 620-foot waterfall split into two sections, a footbridge crossing the bottom section. A quarter-mile trail leads to the footbridge; another mile of trail beyond that takes you right up to the top of the waterfall.
It's the most popular stop along the historic highway, with tourists from just about everywhere -- particularly on a nice Sunday afternoon in September -- and on my hike up I get the chance to chat with people from New York, California, and Utah. And take photo after photo for pairs hiking together with no one to take pictures of them together. The hike itself was gorgeous and a great stretch after roughly two and a half days of driving; the people-watching and the chance to chat with strangers was a bonus.
But I couldn't stay too long. Not this close to my destination.

I snap a couple more pictures for strangers (seriously, it was amusing -- apparently I looked approachable) and head back for Sophie. We've only got a couple hours to go.

Aside from a half-hour chat in the middle of the summer, I hadn't seen Katie or Joe for any length of time since they moved to Portland. These were friends I met my very first week in college -- heck, I met Katie in my very first hour -- and who were nice enough to look out for an awkward freshman despite being upperclassmen themselves. Their wedding was one of the first I attended in my 50-some since my sophomore year of college. Since they moved, I've had every intention of visiting.
I can't figure out why exactly it's taken me so long to get there.
Lucky for me, Katie and Joe (and their gorgeous little girl) are willing to put me up -- and put up with me -- for a few days. And lucky for me, their place is surprisingly easy to find.
As I reach Portland, I almost immediately understand the appeal. My first surprise is that traffic is so ... friendly. It turns out that even on the road, these people are pretty laid back.
My second surprise was that I didn't see nearly as many Prii as I expected (that's the plural form of Prius, right?) ... although Joe would tell me later that I just wasn't paying enough attention.
I find their apartment and wow, is it good to see them. We've got a moderately relaxing evening ahead; they have dinner with their community group from their church that night and I get the chance to tag along and have a nice, normal night in the middle of my crazy vacation.
After all ... tomorrow's a big day.

1 comment:

granddad said...

Can't wait til tomorrow