May 19, 2009

The Columbia River Gorge

Following yesterday's "woe is me" post, I decided I was going for a walk, regardless of heavy traffic. So I threw on shorts, a tank, and my sneakers, and set out for a brisk walk to rid myself of frustrations. A few minutes after starting, I decided that road was way to motorized, so I took a side road and ended up hoofing it through a forested neighborhood with the roadside covered in wild flowers, lovely landscaping in the yards, and several horse stables. It was nice, good exercise and just what I needed. I've had intentions of walking for exercise for months now, but there's just something rather intimidating about setting out into unknown territory on foot, by myself. I guess, though, all I needed to do was take the plunge. After the first few minutes of awkward discomfort, it was rather enjoyable. In fact, we arrived at our destination at 6:30 this morning, and having an hour to wait, I pulled on my yoga pants, a jacket and sneakers and set off again. I walked for 30 minutes through this town of Grandview, WA, through side streets lined with quaint little houses, and through the old down town area. It was silent except for the occasional car, and I'm sure they thought I was crazy to be out walking at what was only 5:30 their time. I enjoyed it, had more confidence in it this time, and hopefully I'm going to make this a habit. I'd like to not only get back in shape, but its a great way to see some of the areas we're in. I'll have to find a pocket camera to take with me. I saw some gorgeous flowers and adorable homes yesterday, that I wanted to share.
We're loading organic apples this morning. As I sit here and write, we are parked in a dirt lot. There is just enough room in here for our truck and the fork lift that is loading us. We are surrounded on three sides by wooden crates of apples stacked taller than our truck. Malcolm slipped a couple of apples from the crates (with permission from the loaders) and I just finished snacking on mine. It was delicious. And can you even begin to imagine how it smells? The aroma of apples is almost overpowering. These are going to Sebastopol, CA where we took a load of apples last summer. They make organic apple juice and sauce.
After getting our tarp replaced yesterday, washing out the trailer in Portland, and grabbing dinner at the truck stop salad bar, we headed east on WA 14. If you'll recall in yesterday's post, the first one, I told you the Columbia River Gorge was a beautiful drive, especially from the Washington side. And WA 14 is that very road I was referring to. Its quite windy and hilly, but with an empty trailer its not too bad. So we drove along and I snapped pictures when I could.

The Columbia River Gorge

The Bonneville Lock and Dam

The Hood River Bridge

There are over 70 waterfalls on the Oregon side of the river.

About 6 miles before we turned north on WA 142, we pulled into a little rest area to let the girls out to potty and run for a minute. We ended up staying for a half hour or longer. The yard was well groomed, so the girls had a blast running around in the soft green grass, and it went right up to the edge of the cliff over looking the river. We enjoyed watching them run and play with the river gorge in the back ground and the evening light turning the sky pinks and purples.

A river barge heading towards Portland.

The remaining 100 miles were not so enjoyable, though adventurous still. We turned north on WA 142, knowing by looking at the map that it was a bit twisted. Well....imagine if you will trying to draw a straight line in the midst of a catastrophic earthquake....that's what 142 is like. Its full of squiggles, twists, turns, hairpins, double backs....its was interesting to say the least. And it was dark by the time we were getting to the serious twists and turns. And then we came through this little village, went up a hill, and all of a sudden we both realized at the same time that the center line was gone from the road, and we were more of less on a one laner. We started to wonder if perhaps trucks were restricted from this road, but I checked the map, and it didn't indicate such. We were zipping along at 30 miles an hour around turns on the mountain side, rock mountain wall on the driver's side....me....I was hanging off a cliff with no guard rail or anything on my side. And then out of the blue, as we going around a bend in the road, the bus driver from hell comes zooming in from the opposite direction. And despite the fact that we're taking both....well all of the one lane to get around that turn, and despite the fact that my side of the truck is so close to the edge that I can't see the edge, only air, the bus driver keeps coming. Malcolm stopped, and thankfully the bus did to, and then began to back up. He had to back quite a ways, and Malcolm the whole time is saying "this ain't happening" which is his way of saying its not going to work. It was a little stressful. We finally got around the bus without falling off a cliff and plunging hundreds of feet into the valley below, and then quickly made our way off that road to US97 before the state police, which we were sure someone had called in on us by that time, came and found us. It was a relief to get back to a "real" road, and though I'm sure that drive down 142 is absolutely breathtaking...in the daytime....I for one will never ever take it again unless I'm in my personal day tripping car. Never ever ever again with anything pulling a trailer. OK, I need another relaxing picture to look at after thinking about my near plunge into obscurity.


Meagan said...

I love the pictues! The first one and the last three are my favorite! That bad road made me stressed just sitting here! I am glad you got off of it and won't go back any time soon, ick!

Cindy J. said...

What a scary story! I am glad you are alive and well, yikes. P.S. I think you can bring wine to that pottery place in Chattanooga... This could get interesting.