Starry Starry Night

Enough about our car troubles. I could use a day without VW talk. Here’s what we did last week after leaving Mt. Hood…

After relaxing and living the high-life for a few days, it was time to get back to reality and head out into the wild once again. We made our way up to one of the ski areas at Mt. Hood that has an alpine slide ½ mile long. We all wanted to do it (maybe me more than anyone), but we arrived to find out they had switched to ‘September hours’ and on a weekday we were out of luck. We were able to make Bode happy with the promise of candy, but I was really bummed. Someday.

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Down the other side of Mt. Hood we hit the back end of the Fruit Loop and got some freshly-picked produce before rolling into Hood River. Yet another nice little town and appealing lifestyle here. It’s supposedly affordable too. The two things to do around here seem to be windsurfing and making beer. We stopped in at the Full Sail brewery for a tour and tasting and were not disappointed. They’ve got a nice little place overlooking the river too. I never made the connection between Full Sail and windsurfing, but now I know. Apparently, the wind really gets ripping through here and all the local hot-shots have photos of themselves 20 feet in the air clinging to their board. I didn’t see a single photo of someone actually windsurfing in the water. Kind of comical when you see twenty in a row. One more tidbit – they’re working on a whiskey-flavored brew that is currently aging in the barrels. It will be ready in February and sold out shortly afterward. Mark your calendars.

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We started making our way east through The Dalles and pulled over for a roadside attraction near Marysville – Stonehenge! There you go, Sarah. Please leave your Spinal Tap quotes below. I loved it, but Jason has been to the real Stonehenge and said there is no comparison. I think they did get the scale correct, but its otherwise just a bunch of concrete.

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We received some great recommendations of things to do further east, but the timing just wasn’t going to work out for us. The Pendleton Roundup looks like a good time, but I’m starting to worry that we will eventually be chased out of the Great White North by snow drifts if we don’t get going soon.

So, we turned the bus around and headed back down the Washington side of the gorge and spent the night at a state park right on the river. Since we were right on the river, we got watch (and hear!) the frequent trains barreling down the Gorge all night. Not for everyone, but Bode loves trains. After having a pretty thorough conversation about meteors and falling stars a few hours earlier, we laid out on the grass in the dark and did some star-gazing. It only took about 30 seconds before we all saw a long and bright falling star that crossed a quarter of the sky and broke in two. Serendipity at it’s finest.

We all managed to find our own satellite to track across the sky, did our best to identify some planets, and realized we really need to get a star chart of some kind.

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We decided to just snack for dinner and broke out some cheese, crackers, and the elk sausage we bought a few days back. Not really knowing what we had, we dared each other to take the first bite and ultimately decided to all try it at the same time. It was sublime. Not gamey at all. Delicious. We ate and ate. For the record, Jason ate the skorkel.

I’m working on my Portland observations, and will post that soon.

And if anyone has recommendations for Washington, let us know. I’d love to have an actual route planned when we get moving again!

4 thoughts on “Starry Starry Night

  • September 18, 2009 at 9:40 AM

    I have enjoyed the Yakima Indian reservation and visitor center both in ’87 and ’95. The valley seemed to have a lot of Hops and/or Barley farms and beer museums.

    On a 3 week road trip in 87, I made the kids carry their own raingear, gloves and stocking caps in the day packs every day through the Tetons, Yellowstone, Glacier, etc. Finally in Banff, we had a snow storm on top of Sulpher Mountain in early July and was vindicated.

    Be prepared!

  • September 18, 2009 at 9:56 AM

    Jason, Angela & Bode,

    Glad to hear that you’ll soon be back on the road… I hope that your time in Portland was enjoyable…

    Here are some Washington suggestions….

    1. Mt. St. Helens – take the time to drive all the way up to Johnston Ridge (exit from I-5 at Castle Rock). It’s a beautiful drive and the views of the volcano are incredible… Do this only if the weather is clear – as if it’s clouby you won’t see much. If you stop at the Seaquest State Park visitor center you’ll see a picture of my Dad who was the Forest Ranger at Spirit Lake from 1970 until 1980 and then later oversaw the building of the three visitor centers. We lived at Spirit Lake every summer from 1970 until 1979… Great chilhood.

    2. Mt. Rainier is also stunning… As is the area around Mt. Adams.

    3. Olympic Penninsula and Olympic National Park. Kalaloch Campground is a beautiful setting. Check out the Rain Forsest Also drive up to Lake Quinault and do the loop around the lake. They warn it’s not for RV’s as part of it is gravel, but I did the route this summer in my 1972 Westie with no problems at all… Check out Banks and La Push which is now quite famous from the book/movie Twilight…

    4. On the Penninsula do the loop around the top the state and consider a ferry ride over to Victoria (can’t remember if Canada is in your plans) from Port Angeles. If not continue on to Port Townsend (stay at Fort Warden State Park) and then take the ferry from Port Townsend over to Kingston on Whidbey Island. Explore the Island (especially Langley) then take the Mulilteo Ferry from the Island over to Mukilteo – or proceed north ont he island and cross over toward Anacortes. Go North into Canada or South toward Seattle.

    5. Drive over the North Cascades Highway (dubbed America’s Alps) and spend some time in the Methow Valley. My Dad retired to here and it’s a stunner! Kitschy Western Town, but so much more beyond that to explore. Be sure and check out the Cinnamon Twisp Bakery in the nearby town of Twisp. Have their signature pastry “Cinnamon Twisp”.

    6. From Winthrop if you want to head up into Canada cross over into Canada on US 97 – visit Penticton. Lake Okanagan is reputed to have it’s own “Loch Ness Monster”. Canadian Wine Country… There is a beautiful BC Parks campground a few miles north of the city right on the lake. Head west back toward Vancouver or further north to Kelowna.

    7. Or head east from Winthrop and then south into Wenatchee and continue west to Leavenworth and pretend you are in Germany. Stop along the way in Cashmere and visit the famous Aplets and Cotlets factory…. From Leavenworth backtrack a few miles and head over Blewett Pass, then come over White Pass to I-5.. This will also put you in the vicinity of both Mt. Adams and Mt. Rainier.

    Lots of other thoughts – let me know what your route might be….


  • September 22, 2009 at 11:34 PM

    seems like most of my ideas were already covered. this summer we went to the dry falls area located in eastern wa. we saw some pretty amazing scenery. the olympic national forest is pretty cool also. if your able a ferry ride to the san juans would be a good choice, or for that matter any ferry ride. there is always stuff to do in seattle. ballard locks, capital hill, EMP. pike place, etc etc. we live north of seattle so we do a lot of hiking off of the mountail loop highway. boeing is a good place that a little one might enjoy. there is a museum of flight in south seattle. have fun and enjoy.

  • October 25, 2009 at 7:00 PM

    OMG I just caught up with you. You made it to Stonehenge!!

    I went to the real one, too, but unlike Jason, I thought this one was way more fun…maybe because there was NOBODY there, which meant I could get somebody we all know to pose for pictures buck naked ; )

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