Thursday, July 9, 2009

It was a long day!

Yesterday was a long day. We had meant to get an early start, but just couldn't get ourselves moving so instead of leaving McMinnville at 8:00-ish we left at 9:30-ish. So we're off and running, excited to get to Walla Walla. I was annoyed that I hadn't booked three nights there but figured we'd arrive early enough to tour some wineries in the afternoon, and then we'd have a full day to do some other tourist activities and winery tours. Cruising down I-84 we see a reader board: I-84 closed at Exit 17. Use alternate route. We had just enough time to look at each other and say "huh?" before applying the brakes and coming to a screeching halt. Fine, we're by Troutdale. We know Troutdale. Paul remembers reading about the Historic Highway, so away we go for a beautiful ride through the hills knowing it will connect with I-84 once we've past all the spectacular waterfalls. About halfway through we had a great surprise: Vista House. It's a beautiful building set atop an outcropping of rock, and the views are breathtaking. We pulled over to stretch our legs and enjoy the view, and then off again we went.

When we finally got to the entrance for I-84 we saw it was also closed. What's going on? We left the freeway at exit 17 and this entrance was around 35 so Paul got out to ask the state trooper. Evidently early that morning a tanker truck managed to flip over and spill his load of hot asphalt all over the freeway, shutting it down for most of the day. So we (like everyone else going east) back tracked to Portland, hopped over to Washington and traveled Highway 14. Luckily we were able to cross back at the Cascade Locks on a toll bridge called the Bridge of the Gods. So for the huge sum of $1 I was able to experience terror like I haven't in quite a while. The old metal bridge shook under the weight of the cars, and most of the deck was open grating. Of course we couldn't move more than one mile an hour, and it took about ten minutes to cross the Columbia. Not doing that anytime soon.

The rest of the trip was a breeze, and we finally limped into our motel around 6:00 p.m. We may have missed the wineries for today, but we were able to eat some dinner at T. Maccarone, and a sippy-sip at Vintage Cellars. The cheese plate at T. Maccarone was amazing -- almost as good as Vin Grotto's. And the lady at Vintage Cellars kindly pointed out breakfast spots, and some places to go after the town shuts down at 6:00.

Okay, enough already. Paul is waiting, and we've got a full day planned so I'll leave you with some shots we took at Vista House, and the Bridge of the Gods.

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