I'll conclude this Portland trip by documenting my trip home. After that, it's on to other stuff.
A trip to Portland isn't complete without my annual trip to Powell's bookstore, the four-story "city of books" that takes up an entire city block. It's a book lover's paradise.
Except the part about parking. That's not so great. Their micro-sized parking garage was full, so I was tasked with finding other parking. This proved so frustrating I nearly gave up and just started the drive home.
However while circling a nearby block, I came across a public parking garage, so on impulse I pulled in. It proved to be a vast and bewilderingly full underground facility three stories deep -- who knew it was there? -- so I found a spot and parked.
Powell's is an amazing, astounding place. It would be a dangerous place (for me) if I lived in Portland, that's all I can say. I'd be eternally broke.
I was (ahem) frugal in my book purchases, however, in light of our not-so-stellar tankard sales over the run of the show. When I finally descended to the first floor to the checkout, I was surprised to see this sign:
I learned Mr. Carter was due at the store in four hours.
At the cash register, I saw bumper sticks with the city's unofficial motto.
Re-emerging from the underground parking garage and waiting to turn onto Burnside, I saw this narrow corner building, which I thought was architecturally interesting.
Then it was time to face the mind-numbingly long drive home. The first part through the lush portions of the Columbia River Gorge was gorgeous.
I flirted with the idea of stopping at Multnomah Falls, but signs indicated the parking lot was full so I bypassed it.
The lush portions of the highway slid away, and I passed through the endless dry desert-y parts of eastern Oregon.
The massive scree slopes on the opposite side of the river are a marvel. If you look carefully, you'll see a little white dot near the bottom left center of the photo. That's an 18-wheeler semi truck. It gives perspective to the photo.
Most rivers zigzag. The Columbia just zigzags, well, bigly.
After several hours, I finally looped left onto Hwy. 82.
Then, because the thought of facing that long slog on boring Hwy. 395 was too daunting, I decided to take an alternate route home. I turned right at Umatilla and went through Walla Walla. I had never been there.
Rather than crossing the Columbia, I paralleled it for many miles.
Walla Walla turned out to be a charming little city, full of sturdy brick buildings, impressive churches, and gracious homes.
Everywhere I went, I saw people selling the famous Walla Walla sweet onions.
Then I launched myself into the endless Palouse hills of wheat that make up this extreme southeast corner of Washington.
Massive windmills dominated this landscape.
Whatever your opinion of these massive turbines, they are staggering for sheer size close up.
It was as sparsely-populated a landscape as I have ever seen.
Tumbleweed crossed the highway at intervals.
So did deer, including this handsome buck on the heels of two does.
Eventually I crossed the Snake River.
More endless fields of wheat, with a little rain thrown in. But I'm getting closer to home.
At last I got into Colfax and on to familiar ground. The Walla Walla route took longer than I thought it would and I probably won't take it again, but I was glad to see was it was like.
No kidding, just as I finally crossed into Idaho...
...a rainbow appeared and followed me much of the rest of the trip.
I was never so glad to see home.
Because let's face it, there's no place like home.