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Heading Back the Long Way

We are on the road to Boise Idaho, and we just passed an Ore-Ida potato factory. The whole air was filled with the smell of French fries. And hash browns. And curly fries. We came up with a few more types of potatoes that we smelled. Seriously. This happened. Eastern Oregon is a sage brush-covered flatlands, and then mountains, and then flat, and in the distance we can see storm clouds and rain falling, but none in the area where we are. Vast open areas, mountains in the far distance behind us and in front of us. Another reminder of how huge this country is.

A little plane swooped over the highway on its descent to an invisible airstrip somewhere close by. Remember that cartoon where the cows are standing on the hill and two of their legs are long and two are short? Well, we saw them. Cows were grazing on steep hills and I swear they had 2 short legs and 2 longer legs so they could stand upright.

Among the brown and yellow grasses dense corn field pop up, clearly grown to feed the cattle. And there are also hay fields, with the hay neatly bundled.

Trains and train tracks are everywhere.

We visited the Oregon Trail National Interpretive Center. I love the story of the Oregon Trail. Do you remember that computer game where you had to make the choices the pioneers made along the trail? From the ‘90’s? Anyway, I highly recommend this site.

We left Hood River, Oregon this morning, after an awesome visit with our friends Hope, Dave, and Jesse. They showed us a little of the beauty of the Columbia River Gorge, the Hood River Valley, the Mount Hood area, etc.

After having a multi-city visit of Vancouver, Seattle, and Portland, I’ve come to the conclusion that while it is fun to be in the cities and to explore the different areas, the most fun Jay and I have had have been in the non-city areas. Here we all are, looking happy:

Here are the great things we did in the Hood River area:

  1. Slept in a tent right on the Columbia River. AMAZING!!! And in the tent was the most comfortable bed!! Falling asleep to the sounds of nature, right at the river's edge, seeing the star-filled sky in the night, and waking up to the views of the river and adjacent hills was a dream.

the boys liked the beds also!

The shower was outside, without a ceiling/roof, so you shower under the sky. Which was great except we couldn’t figure out how to manage the hot water and so ended up with a freezing cold shower. Which was kind of ok, because it was still in the 80’s at 10:00 at night.

Here was our view when we woke up in the morning: That's the Columbia River.

The Lavender Valley with fields of lavender. See the photos. Nothing more needs to be said.

Picking blueberries and cherries. Yes, I know in Cleveland we can all pick blueberries, so no big deal. But picking cherries was something new. And super fun. And delicious. And the cherries were only $1.00/pound. We picked A LOT of cherries. I’m not sure how we are going to eat them all.

Lost Lake recreation area. Yes, another mountain lake. But these mountain lakes are pretty beautiful. This one was good for swimming and boating, and wasn’t freezing like the other lakes we had been to. We hiked around the lake and saw beautiful forests and trees. I’m going to figure out what kinds of trees are in this forest. They were awesome.

Notice Mount Hood in the background? It took a while for Jay to notice it!

Another mountain. This time, Mount Hood. *This is the mountain you see in the Lavender Valley photo and the photo above.

And another mountain. This is one is Mount Adams, which is across the river in Washington, across from Hood River, OR.

Dinner in a cool brewery: Full Sail Brewery. Great watermelon summer ale. Big news: I skipped the salmon this meal. But they did have it.

Breakfast at a great diner.

Ice cream at a great shop (Hood River is a pretty cool town.)

We are now on our loop to get back home. It is kind of sad that our car is now pointed east and not west anymore. But the good news is that it’s really pointed Southwest, as we head towards Colorado, head south and on to Texas. From here on out we are going to be on marathon driving days to get through everything on our itinerary in the short time remaining on our trip.

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