Sunday September 16, 2018
Well, the weather has changed bringing with it rain, rain and more rain. Weather guessers never get the Cascade Locks area of the Gorge right. If they say a little rain in the morning with a couple of showers in the afternoon they really mean a lot of rain in the morning and constant showers in the afternoon with no sun breaks at all. So it is here. The locals are very happy because they’ve seen no rain all summer. Although the rain seems to follow us wherever we travel, WE DID NOT BRING THE RAIN! Honest…..
Our two weeks have consisted of mostly working days with a couple of days off. The pace isn’t hectic by any means and since rainy days don’t make good exploring days we’d rather stick around the hatchery and help out where we can. Besides our regular duties we done extra. Jim made a larger tree planter box of vertical tongue and groove siding. It looks really nice. The next step is how to remove the tree from the old planter and place it in its new home- hmmmm.
We drained and cleaned the pond with the jumping salmon fountain display that’s out in front of the gift shop to get rid of the algae. The algae is gone! Jil and I headed back the ivy from the curb and cleared it from the trees and ramp of the mechanical room. I must share with you that when we maintained an acre and a half of landscaping we were in a whole lot better physical condition than we are today! Oh, my aching back!
The Columbia Gorge contains a lot of microclimates. Bonneville is wetter than across the river at Stevenson. In fact, I believe this section of gorge is more wet than any other. So after a couple of days of unrelenting rainfall we are S#$%@ Full of the wet stuff. Less rain falls the farther east one goes. Last week we had a couple of days off. One of those days we drove to Hood River partly or mostly to get out of the rain for a day- and for the most part we are successful. We got there early and took advantage of the light foot traffic downtown, walking up and down empty sidewalks. Downtown is only a few square blocks. The classic two story brick buildings overlook the marina with the town of White Salmon visible on the Washington side of the Columbia.
The town is built on a hillside so downtown’s streets are pretty steep. We had walked down the block when I noticed that the parked cars had tickets of some kind on their dashboards. Hmmmm, this must be a pay to park zone. I then saw a little nondescript kiosk with an icon I didn’t recognize. THAT must be the pay station. A quarter’s worth of time would be sufficient- and I have no change and neither does Jil. BUT, the pay station takes credit cards, so I slip my card in the slot and try to figure out how to debit a quarter from the card and have it cough up a ticket which I will place on the dash of Mr. Subey.
I see a window with digital readout so I push a button quite a distance below it thinking it’s the cancel button. But its not, it’s ringing up 25 cents at every push. Sheesh I am now thinking that if I push the button enough times it will revert to the 25 cents that I am willing to pay. Nope- it gets stuck on $2.75- the max. So I see another button that is cleverly positioned as to be almost impossible to determine its function, hoping that it cancels this crazy transaction, I push it. NOPE! but I hear some whirring from inside the machine and a ticket spits out. Crap, we’re only gonna be here another 15 minutes and I bought an all day ticket- with no one around to give it to when we leave.
Cruise Paddlewheeler, Hood River Bridge, Popular Brewery
We head past the airport and into farm and orchard country traveling now on the popular Fruit Loop. A lot of folks who grow apples, pears, cherries and other tree crops as well as berries and U-pick flowers have stands on or near this loop route. Nearby are lavender farms and alpaca farms. It’s very popular during high fruit season. Cherry season is over and apples and pears are still hanging on the trees. Odell sports a population of 2500 souls but one would play hell trying to find them. Downtown only has a couple of store fronts but nearby are a couple of large fruit transfer facilities.
We like to stop at the Apple Valley Store located in a holler near the town of Odell. They specialize in fruit and other varieties of preserves, fresh or ready to bake pies, ice cream and Jil’s favorite, the Pumpkin Shake. We leave armed with a bag of preserves, a piece of loganberry pie and, of course, Jil’s Pumpkin Shake. Another “must stop” for us is the Gorge White House. This historic home sits on a working apple and pear orchard. It also has a huge u-pick flower garden aaaannnd a take out stand with the best hot dogs this side of who knows where…….. and the whole kit and caboodle is closed. Drats!
Our last stop is Toll Bridge County Park up near Parkville. The drive to the park offers outstanding views of Mount Hood and despite of the rain the mountain is showing itself. The park offers a really nice day use area right along side the Hood River. A very nice RV park is located on the other side of the entrance from the day area. But the RV park is closed as the sewer system is being repaired. The campground host said that we could walk through but we graciously decline.
We head back down to Hood River via Highway 35. We might take 35 around Mt. Hood to Highway 26 to Highway 97 when we head towards the barn. It’s a beautiful drive….. But for now we catch I-84 and drive back towards the hatchery………. in the rain……… sigh……