Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Home from Portland

Sorry for the silence of the last couple of days. It always takes awhile to recuperate after a trip and catch up on things like unpacking, laundry, etc. Nonetheless, follow me home from Portland.

On Monday morning, Older Daughter and I made our pilgrimage to Powell's Bookstore, surely one of the most wonderful entities on the west coast for book-lovers like us.

Here we're approaching Portland's beautiful downtown area.

Some of the older buildings in the Pearl District are gorgeous.

We passed the elaborate entrance to Chinatown.

The über-tight parking garage for Powell's was undergoing construction, making it even über-tighter. Über joy.

Ah yes, joy.

As we checked out at the cash register...

...we saw bumper stickers sporting Portland's unofficial motto. There's something endearing about a city with a sense of humor.

Immediately after leaving Powell's, we hit the road for the looooong drive home. Mt Hood was visible, still clad in snow.

Soon enough we were in the Columbia River Gorge, following the river.

We made a lightning-fast stop at Multnomah Falls.

Turned out to be the 100th anniversary of the Benson Bridge, which dramatically spans the falls.

The sun wasn't conducive to photographing the entire span of falling water, so I contented myself with a quick pic of the lower falls.

And of course the footbridge.

It was already hot by this time, so Older Daughter kicked off her sandals and waded in the creek on the way back to the car. I kinda wished I'd joined her.

Then we hit the road again for some serious driving.


Very quickly things become dry and treeless.

The scale of these hills on the opposite shore of the river can be gauged by the white 18-wheeler in the bottom left of the photo.

There are enormous 300-foot-tall windmills all over the place.

We passed this massive but unknown gizmo being transported as an oversized load.

The last major sight we see before hooking a left on Hwy. 82 is a massive tree farm of fast-growing hybrid poplars, irrigated with water from the Columbia. I believe they're used for paper production.

They're so much alike they could be clones.

First stage of the trip, done.

The wonders of irrigation in an otherwise dry desert.

First loop of the Columbia. This brings us into Washington.

Old abandoned mining operation, I think.

Negotiating the Tri-Cities' complicated highway system, trying to sort the right route to take.

This second leg of the trip has some mind-numbing stretches, and by this point we were getting mighty tired of being in the car.

The third leg of the trip (after we turned off Hwy. 395) had improved scenery, but we were stuck behind a lumbering truck. It's not that the truck wasn't trying its best; it's just that we really really really wanted to get home.

But the desert gradually morphed into the sweet hills of the Palouse.

In the late afternoon we stopped in the charming town of Colfax to stretch our legs and find a bathroom.

The wheat is nearly ready to harvest.

These are (mostly) lentils.

Here's the sign we were waiting for!

This looks more like home.

It was wonderful to get back to the farm and reacquaint myself with all our critters. At the risk of sounding clichéd, there's no place like home!


  1. part of the base of a windmill on the truck

  2. the unknown object is probably part of a soon to be wind turbine. seimens is the worlds largest maker of wind turbines, so 1+1=2.

  3. Your gizmo is part of the mast for those big windmills; a manufacturer here in Iowa ships them regularly down our highways. The blades are just as huge! However, we have low electric rates as our power provider has multiple wind farms.

  4. Being the curious person I am, I took out my atlas to familiarize myself with the trek to and from Portland. I love looking at maps.

    Good heavens. It seems to me to be one complicated navigation after another! There are intersecting interstates and highways converging every which way. Yikes. I'd never be brave enough.

    I saw how the Columbia River is flanked by highways on both sides and where it curves around under the two bridges. And I saw where Multnomah Falls is.

    Love the pictures. Missed the cows more than I thought I would.

    Just Me

  5. What you think is an old abandoned mine is actually an old abandoned sand works for the highway department, the trucks would drop their loads on the upper ramp and would sluice down to the shed where they would use it during the winter on the old two lane 395.

  6. I'm from PA so I like green! Portland and that area is gorgeous! The desert not so much. But the Amber waves of grain, STUNNING. Thanks for the pictures!

  7. Yes, but what books did you buy?

  8. You are definitely right. There is no place like home.


  9. Just wanted to compliment you on your photography. You live in some beautiful country. I really enjoy your blog. Wish we could join you.
    I agree on the other posters, the "gizmo" is part of the mast on a wind turbine. I have watched many of those travel on the roads to a "wind farm" in Kansas and Wyoming.
    Have a great day!

  10. "we have low electric rates as our power provider has multiple wind farms."
    You have gone over to the dark side. Your electric rates might be low but NOT because of wind or solar power. Wind power at the commercial level is a scam. When you calculate the energy that went into producing that windmill it is unlikely that it will ever produce as much over it's lifetime. That is why more then half it's cost is subsidized by taxpayers and the rest of the cost is made up by forcing the utilities to by the power at about 6-20 times the cost of hydro power. Everyone of those windmills in the gorge was paid for by you and me and will never pay for themselves. Worse (can it get worse) is that for every killowatt of potential windmill power placed on the grid the utility must back it up with a killowatt of conventionally generated electricity. This doubles the cost of the already expensive wind generated electricity. Don't believe what they have told you about those giant bird blenders in the gorge, it is pure cronyism and payola. Someone is making a lot of money, some politicians are having their hands crossed with silver and YOU are paying for it. Just like the AGW scam it's purpose is to take money from your pocket and put it in someone else's pocket.

  11. Yep, that big truck load is part of a windmill. I work for Siemens. :)

  12. MMMM...lentils "on the hoof" ;0) Yum!
    I think it may be time to cook up a mess of Kale & Lentil Pasta!
    Glad you made it safely home.

  13. Powell's is Cabella's, it's almost too much if you just want to look.

    Glad you safely navigated the Tri-Cities. I've lived here almost 4 years and there times I find myself heading unexpectedly for Yakima.

    Also, Colfax is nice little town. I was lucky enough to draw a doe tag for that area this year. There is a place right on the main drag called the Top Notch Café that makes a mean chicken fried steak...perfect for a late breakfast after chasing Bambi around for a few hours at sunrise.

  14. the clone trees are just that!!! They grow them for logs or paper, the other thing I thought was funny was how many people live in the area you drove through. I saw my field in your picture and just smiled. Next time you drive down 84 look for Charlie Brown sleeping. Most locals know what I am talking about. Glad you like E Oregon.

    Damon Locke

  15. Beautiful and interesting pictures! Enjoyed the commentary as well. I have never been to this part of the country.

  16. Lots of those turbine bases going to Canada through N. Idaho!

    Can't say I enjoy Portland - hate driving there!

  17. Hello, what is the name of the fair you were in Portland?
    Thank you.