It was a two mountain day today. As I drove over the Marquam bridge, I caught a glimpse of Mount St Helens, a bit covered with haze but looking very big. Then as I entered the Columbia Gorge area, I saw Mount Hood.
I find I keep comparing this trip to the one I made seven years ago: Weather about the same, sunny with a few clouds. More traffic, but then last time I left the day after Labor Day not on the holiday itself. Aches. Hmm. I don't remember my shoulders or elbows aching after a few hours of driving. I guess the body is seven years older. Will need to be sure to work out the kinks at rest stops.
The drive through the Gorge is always ... gorgeous no matter what the weather. The magnificent geology formed by the Missoula Floods. Boggles the mind how massive the rush of water must have been to carve out this scenery.
My itinerary was planned not for the shortest route but to travel places I'd never been before. The new stuff started just a couple of hours into the trip, when I got to Biggs, crossed over the Columbia and headed east along the river on route 14. Two-lane road with not much traffic. Very nice drive. This called for driving music. I pulled out a tape by Off Course, a Japanese pop group from the 1980s and played it -- loud, YES-YES-YES -- over and over until I got back into traffic.
When I started planning this trip, I had to figure out whether I should drive my 9-year-old car or get a new one. One of the factors that went into the decision was whether I would be able to listen to my 25-year-old Japanese pop music tapes if I got a new car, which would probably be equipped with a CD player. (I do have other tapes, but I am especially fond of the Japanese ones.)
Along route 14 I was for a while behind a truck that appeared to be hauling scrap paper. Little pieces of paper were blowing off the truck and scattering every which way. How terrible, I thought. Polluting this wonderful scenic area with garbage. After quite a while driving at a distance behind the truck I saw something roundish and white in the road. It appeared to be ... an onion! So that was it. The truck was hauling onions (Walla Walla was not far away) and the "paper" was onion skins. Never mind.
Tonight I am in Post Falls, Idaho, spending the night at the home of my friend Janet's mom. Very wired lady. She plugged me right in and I could check email and update the blog. Right now Chris (Janet's mom) and other scattered family members are chatting online -- as they do almost every night.
First day in 60 (or more) that I'll be on the road. I'd better get to bed to be rested for Day Two.