We Don’t Need No Stinkin’ Maps!

Mt St Helens off in the distance

Mt St Helens off in the distance

Day #13

I had a few epiphanies on Day #13.

First, people in Washington love to fish. Everywhere we went, everyone was fishing. I have no interest in fishing, but, fisher-people dotting the landscapes of every river, creek, pond, and lake, was kind of cool.

Second, there’s a metric ton of forests in Washington. There’s plenty of space for Sasquatch to roam about freely without being seen. But, what does he eat? And how does he breed? Is there just one of him? He’s always referred to as Big Foot. There is never any mention of Big Feet, as in, more than one of them. If there’s only one of him, and he doesn’t breed, then, is he just really really old? And then, getting back to a previous inquiry, what does he eat to stay alive for so long?

Third, when in the countryside/foresty parts of Washington, it’s probably a good idea to do some research first, or, at least, ask directions, prior to driving a long way on the wrong road.

We had taken this particular road towards Mt. St. Helens, ‘cause on the map, it looked like it went right by Mt. St. Helens…and it did. But we learned today, from the ranger, that it was the other side of Mt. St. Helens that had blown out in the eruption in 1980…not this side that we were on. Oh. Shoulda asked about that first.

The Space Shuttle...on the "wrong" side of Mt St Helens

The Space Shuttle…on the “wrong” side of Mt St Helens

We looked at some big posters on the wall in the ranger station, showing the eruption and blown-out side, and decided that was good enough. And we continued on our merry way on the road we had already committed to.

At least we got a great view of the non-traumatized side of Mt. St. Helens, from a great lookout point on Curly Creek Road. And we’d purchased a video from the ranger station, that we watched that night. It was as good as going to the proper side. Got to see everything on the video. Phew…saved ourselves a whole heck of a lot of driving!

I drove a good part of the way as we headed back towards Hood River, OR. The winding mountain roads were beautiful, as was the Jethro Tull music that we had blasting on the stereo. A perfectly sublime road trip moment. And I thought to myself, “Life doesn’t get much better than this!”

Adios Portland. Hola Cougar Washington!

Swift River Reservoir Campground

Swift River Reservoir Campground

Day #12    part 2

After having my bike stolen in the early afternoon, I spent the second half of June 21st pretending to be a duck. Ya know, let the bad shit roll off my back. Don’t let the bad stuff get me down.

I did walk away from REI with a new pair of hiking shoes that I love. So, that’s something good!

After filing the police report on my stolen bike, we made a quick stop down by the waterfront, just to have a peak. And then we left Oregon.

We headed towards Mt. St. Helens, in Washington. Stopped for the night in Cougar, at the very beautiful Swift River Reservoir Campground.

Our campsite @ Swift River Reservoir Campground

Our campsite @ Swift River Reservoir Campground

Mark & Dax @ Swift River Reservoir Campground

Mark & Dax @ Swift River Reservoir Campground

Swift River Reservoir Campground

Mark & Dax @ Swift River Reservoir Campground

Surrounded by magnificent tall trees, bordered by the river, and sparsely populated, we had a lovely evening. Sat around the campfire and played music until late, with nobody nearby to complain!

Evening @ Swift River Reservoir Campground

Evening @ Swift River Reservoir Campground

Today I realized that Mark and I had fallen into a couple of  rather traditional roles. Mark had become the “hunter.” And I had become the “gatherer.” Mark was the one who hunted around the grocery marts to find meat.  I was the one who gathered up kindling for our fires. And we never, ever, switched roles.

Gathering kindling for the fire

Gathering kindling for the fire

Celebrating Crummy Canned Foods From the 1960’s

Multnomah Falls, Oregon

Multnomah Falls, Oregon

Day #8

Since we’d un-virginized  the RV propane stove yesterday while preparing a wholesome  dinner of Dinty Moore Stew, it was easy to do the same today. So, while sitting in the Bridge RV Park in White Salmon, Washington, while Lew Farber began work on our solar upgrade, we dove right into another culinary bastardaization…lunch…Chef Boyardee Spaghetti and Meatballs.

My normally healthy eating habits were on a speedy decline. And I was actually enjoying it. I devoured the spaghetti and meatballs. I have heard people say that everything tastes extra good when you’re glamping, and I was beginning to believe it, ‘cause here I was, kind of enjoying my can of spaghetti!!

After lunch, Mark and I headed out on a day trip in a rental car, while Lew worked on the rig.

Lew, working on our solar panel install & upgrade. White Salmon, WA

Lew, working on our solar panel install & upgrade. White Salmon, WA

We drove west from White Salmon, through Carson, and ended up at the Columbia River Gorge Interpretive Center. Cool museum.

Columbia Gorge Interpretive Center Museum. Washington

Columbia Gorge Interpretive Center Museum

Columbia Gorge Interpretive Center Museum. Washington

Columbia Gorge Interpretive Center Museum

Ya know what I learned at the Interpretive Center? That in Skamania County, it is illegal to hunt Sasquatch (Big Foot.).  The reason being this….If Big Foot was killed, and was deemed a human, than he would fall under the jurisdiction of the Sherriff’s Department. If Big Foot was killed and was deemed an animal, he would fall under the jurisdiction of the Department of Fish and Game. Neither department wanted to deal with it, so they just made it illegal to hunt him. Makes sense.

Enough of filling our brains with cultural stuff and information that’s difficult to retain. So we drove back over to the Oregon side of the river, to Multnomah Falls.

Multnomah Falls, Oregon

Multnomah Falls, Oregon

Multnomah Falls, Oregon

Multnomah Falls, Oregon

Mark, hiking back down @ Multnomah Falls, Oregon

Mark, hiking back down @ Multnomah Falls, Oregon

Hiked to the top. I think it was about a mile to the top, via some steep switchbacks. We did secret races against the other hikers. Kicked ass on every single one of them. Slow and steady never wins any race. Faster is better, even if it kills you.

Is It Summer or Winter, And Why Is It Hailing On Us?

Crossing the river from Hood River, Oregon to White Salmon, Washington

Crossing the river from Hood River, Oregon to White Salmon, Washington

Ya know how I’ve mentioned, at least a couple times, about how cold we’ve been on this trip so far? Yea, well, this morning, while filling up with gas and checking the air in the tires, we got hailed upon. 

It is freakin’ Summer…the middle of June…June 16th…and it is hailing on us!! What up with that??!!!

Grabbed a couple of hot chocolates from the service station mini-mart, and once again, berated myself for not bringing a winter scarf.

The plan for today, was to just head north to Hood River, Oregon. On the way, we stopped for lunch at Eagle Crossing Restaurant, on the Warm Springs Indian Reservation. Nothing unusual to report, except for the freakishly gargantuan Indian Fry Bread Burger that Mark ordered. The burger was on the “very large” side, but the Fry Bread bun was on the “off-the-charts” gigantic size. Had to have been 8” in diameter. Could kick myself for not getting a better photo of it. You had to have seen it to believe it.

The rest of the drive to Hood River was probably beautiful, but it was hard to see through the fog and rain. Many of the little roadside stops (for fruit, crafts, etc) were closed because it was still a bit early in the season. 

I have to ask…When exactly is the summer tourist season in these parts? It was almost the middle of summer. Summer Solstice was only five days away, but you would never know it!

Narrow bridge over the Columbia River, between Hood River, OR and White Salmon, WA

Narrow bridge over the Columbia River, between Hood River, OR and White Salmon, WA

We arrived in Hood River in late afternoon. The rain cleared and we did a drive-a-bout through Hood River. Nice little town. And we had a look around some of the country roads outside of town. Very scenic. Decided this was a nice place!

That evening, we had two landmark events. First, we used our RV propane stove top for the first time. This was a big deal. I had feared the stove, and had banned the use of it. I was afraid we’d explode ourselves, or, that we’d stink the place up so badly that it’d be hard to sleep in there. And second, for the first time in my life, I ate a can of Dinty Moore stew.

We did NOT blow up the RV. The stew DID stink. The stew was palatable. And the stink eventually cleared out. And, as usual, we were pretty happy campers!

Made a note to myself to buy dish soap. Up until now, we’d been washing our dishes in bath gel.