Country Living Series

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

The trip home

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.


  1. Your newest lead photo is just stunning! I have no idea how you come up with them but please keep it up.

  2. Walla Walla, the original capitol of Washington state. Like taking side trips once in a while for some different scenery. Thank you for the photos.

  3. I absolutely love your posts about these annual trips. I love the tshirts and Powell's and hearing about your sales. While following your pictures on the way home I am able to "feel" how good it feels to be home. Thanks for sharing each year.

  4. Didn't know that Idaho was so beautiful...

  5. We always went thru Walla Walla on our way to Idaho. Thanks for the tour.

  6. Those windmills cost upwards of $6 million apiece but will never in their entire lifetime generate even $1 million in electricity. It is a case of favored companies harvesting tax money while claiming to harvest electricity from the wind.

    1. Besides that, they are an eyesore! I can't believe in the 1960's-70's we went to all the trouble to eradicate billboards along highways because of their unsightliness, but 300 foot monstrosities fill acres. Ruins the landscape in Patrice's picture more than any billboard could. So sad.

  7. Walla Walla has an amazing downtown main street and really good high end restaurants. It feels like you are in the 1950's with the candy shop and quiet tree lined streets. Very nice place to spend an afternoon. And some amazing wine.

  8. Thanks for all the the different landscapes.
    Jo from Central Washington

  9. Welcome Home!

    Doing shows is grueling. Having to unload everything just to reload it again at the end of a hard, rain-interrupted 5 days? That would have unraveled me into a puddle of goo.

    Thanks for taking us along for the ride again. It's so fun.

    Just me

  10. The beautiful colors with the raimbow pictures were also present in our sky here in the Midwest on the same evening.

    The beautiful colors in the rainbow pictures were present in our sky,the Midwest, the same evening. We were under a thunderstorm watch. We have had abundant rains. I wish the same for you.

  11. You had to go through Waitsburg and Dayton, yes? I spent my high school years in Dayton and my parents still live there. Kinda thinking about looking for roperty down there for a BOL.

    Redoubt Renee