It was my birthday last August. Lou, my three sons, and I were touring parts of Oregon. We had departed the Oregon coast (See my last post, "Road trip - the Oregon coast") and headed inland toward Portland, traveling through the Willamette Valley, the heart of Oregon's agricultural country and including more than 200 wineries. We chose to stop at Amity Vineyards for a picnic lunch.
In theory this sounds idyllic, and the setting, overlooking the spectacular vineyards and valley, certainly was.
But we forgot about the bees! Vineyards need bees. Now, why the bees were so interested in my sandwich, when they had thousands of grape plants to pollinate, I don't know. But the pesky creatures wouldn't leave us alone, and I came close to swallowing one or two of the bolder ones. A note to Amity: a screened-in porch would be nice! We quickly finished our lunch and left the picnic area for the quaint red building housing the wines. Amity is noted for its Pinot Noir, as well as other great wines, and we spent some time tasting the selections before choosing the best ones to celebrate my birthday later that evening. My boys also gave me some of Amity's wine filled chocolates, which make my mouth water to this day, thinking about them.
We stayed in Portland for several days, exploring local attractions. One of the highlights of our trip was the day we spent traveling the Mt. Hood/Columbia River Gorge loop. One of our first stops was historic Vista House, which offered incredible thirty mile views of the river and valley.
Columbia River Highway 30 took us through ancient forests and past several waterfalls, including the 620 foot Multnomah falls.
We spent the morning exploring the fern filled grottos of this enchanting area. After we ate lunch in the city of Hood River,we headed across the Columbia River into Washington. I took these photos of the Columbia River from our moving car!
After fitting our bodies into wet suits, life vests and helmets, we climbed into a rubber raft for a thrilling eight mile white water journey on the White Salmon River. The scariest part was when we had to portage around a section of white water deemed too rough for rafting. I found myself clinging to ropes hooked into the slippery side of a mountain and looking down at the boiling water below.
I gulped. I am not a young person.
Well, I had to keep going, because I surely could not go back. I was glad when I was once again in the raft bouncing over class III-IV rapids.
The end of the White Salmon river trip featured a twelve foot drop over Husum Falls. I wanted to do it! But the river guide discouraged us by graphic descriptions of bodily injuries suffered by folks our age. In the end, Lou, Josh, and I bailed out, and we watched from a bridge while Sam and Mark took the plunge. Thanks to Wet Planet Rafting for the following photos. My guys are in the front, and the river guide is in the rear.
We returned to Portland by completing the Columbia River gorge loop, featuring the Mt. Hood scenic drive.
It was a good day, a very good day. May all of you have such good days to come.
This post is dedicated to fellow garden blogger Linda, of An Artists Garden, who is blessed to live in the Columbia River Gorge.