Saturday, August 27, 2011

Our trip through the Columbia River Gorge.

About once a year (usually for our Anniversary), Dusty and I find our happy place at Skamania Lodge in Stevenson, Washinton. Although it is much different than our honeymoon location in Mexico, we feel as if we are reliving those days anytime we take one of these getaways. It's good for the soul, right?

Since I've been loving following Groupon lately, we got to take a ride on the Columbia River Sternwheeler. The sternwheeler is one of those things I've always wanted to try, but have never done. Here was my chance. I was a little nervous, due to a habit of feeling as if I'm going to lose my lunch when on boats. When I booked the trip I honestly never considered the fact that I'd be ON the boat. Days later, when telling someone about it, I had one of those "oh cr*p" moments that clue you in to the fact that you may have done something really stupid.

A few short tips about the Sternwheeler: If you wear a dress, try for something tighter fitting than an A-line. As famous as that picture of Marilyn Monroe is, I personally find that having your dress fly up around you in public is just NOT that glamorous. Also, if you DO get seasick, stay on the top deck. Unless you get blisters from the sun, in which case you're up a creek. Should THAT happen, stay outside on the lower decks and find a spot of paint to stare at with all your might, as if that blue paint drop is heaven and you are on your deathbed. Another tip: look for the smiley face. It's on the wheel of the stern wheeler, and it smiles when it's out of the water. Then it turns to a frown face right before plunging into the depths again. Honestly, it didn't matter how many times I saw it, I laughed every. single. time.

Dusty assumed this position about thirty seconds into the ride:

My haircut is not meant for windy areas. Within 5 minutes of this picture, my shaggy 'do had transformed into something resembling a bird's nest in a hurricane.

This is the wheel, though I was unable to get a shot of the smiley. You'll have to find it on your own! Standing by the wheel got you sprayed in a mist that was lovely on a hot day.

This is a shot of the bridge used in one of the first scenes in Twilight. Probably I would have realized LONG ago that it was actually the Bridge Of The Gods, if I didn't have a habit of squeezing my eyes shut and focusing on breathing any time I go over a bridge. I've never really LOOKED at it before.

After the Sternwheeler, Dusty and I crossed over to the Washington side and checked in to heaven on earth. This is the view from our room's window. I offer it as proof of the property's magnificence.

Within 15 minutes we were golfing. We have decided that golfing together is great for our marriage. This is how we golf together.

(What you can't see in this picture is a beer in my left hand and a good book in the right, but I assure you they are there.)

After golfing we headed to dinner, where Dusty had set up a special anniversary dessert- ice cream, caramel sauce, berries and hardened chocolate that spelled out "Happy Anniversary!" and tasted fantastic. After dinner, we hit the hot tub where a very drunk guy insisted that the whale in Free Willy wasn't real (which was funny, considering I actually saw Keiko with my own eyes- and who on earth didn't know the whale was real?).

I woke up at 5:30 the next morning, which ONLY happens (without me cursing it) at Skamania Lodge. I was so excited to see the sunrise. The sky out our window began to turn pink, no children were around to say "Mommy? I had a leak.", and it generally seemed that the morning couldn't get better. Until I noticed a flashing on the glass of a picture in our room, and realized that lightening was lighting up the sky above the ridge of the gorge on the Oregon side. It was an amazing sight- to see a pink sky on one side of the window with dark clouds and white-hot streaks on the right. Once this excitement was over I settled in for breakfast and reading in bed.

After Dusty golfed again (an activity I didn't join him at, because reading about Jamie and Claire Fraser's adventures sounded WAY better than being anywhere but bed at 7am) we set off to explore the area. And by that, I mean find the field where the baseball scene in Twilight was filmed. I mean, we were RIGHT THERE- it is only 15-20 minutes away from Stevenson.

On our search for the baseball field, I realized three things:
1) Dusty is a really good sport when it comes to vampires.
2) I am not cut out for criminal activity.
3) We don't have very good luck.

The field is on private property. It isn't a house, and seems to rarely be used- so basically we decided against our better judgement to check it out anyway and hope for the best. By the time we were at the edge of the field I was both excited to see it and on the verge of a panic attack. We stood there, about to see IT, when we spotted a truck. Then Dusty looked at the grass pattern at realized that the field was being mowed. Right at that moment. I have never been so scared in my whole life. Ok, that's an exaggeration, but still. This foray into the world of trespassing officially ends my criminal career. I'm out.

So, feeling a bit bummed that we came so close and didn't actually see the field (at this point even Dusty was bummed), we headed back over the Bridge Of The Gods and into Oregon.

While we were pretending to be tourists in a place where we aren't really tourists, we decided to check out the Bonneville Dam and fish hatchery. I find Dusty's fascination with fish to be a bit morbid, seeing as it stems from his love of pulling them out of the water on a string and eating them- but whatever. He lets me seach out movie spots, so fish watching is the least I can do.

After Bonneville Dam, I needed nourishment STAT. We had been so busy exploring that I didn't think about food until my stomach threatened to eat itself. We hopped on the scenic highway and stopped at Multnomah Falls. While we were enjoying a mediocre lunch at tourist trap prices (though the setting WAS lovely), Dusty mentioned he hadn't ever BEEN to Multnomah Falls. After I picked my jaw up off the floor, I devised a plan to get him to the top of the falls. It began with "Well, you HAVE to see the bridge", then continued to "Well we're already at the bridge, may as well go to the top"...How many times during my childhood did my parents play this trick on me? Now I know why- it works perfectly.

Sometimes things just work out. As we paused on the trail at a lookout point, I realized something: we were looking across the river at the field. We may not have seen it up close, but we DID get to see it from afar (and didn't even have to worry about being arrested in the process). This made me unreasonably happy.

Hlaf way up my trickery backfired. Dusty was ambling along, determined to reach the top, and I was positive that either my legs would fall off or my lungs would burst. But Dusty, realizing he'd been tricked into a hike, was determined to pay me back and drug my little butt up the trail. Finally we made it- right before I faced certain death due to dehydration, I'm sure.

Dusty, feeling triumphant at having reached the top:

Me, feeling thankful that I didn't pass out along the way because that required much more effort than I remembered:

On the way home, we learned an important lesson: if you are almost out of gas, take I-84, not the scenic highway. We DIDN'T run out of gas, but we both let out a long sigh of relief when we hit a gas station 20 miles and many hills after were seemed to be on empty.

So here we are- back home and resuming normal life. My vacation is over- starting today, it's back to cooking and laundry and preparing for the work week. It was fun while it lasted, though!

1 comment:

Grandmommy M said...

Wow, what a fun trip to experience AND to read about! Nice!