Day 4: Serendipity

No sign of thwartation today, even though last night was quite a poor night. We went to sleep (well, one of us did) to the dire warnings of Fox News about the impending heat wave and the most irritating loud noises from the A/C as it cycled every 20 minutes. I ended up sleeping barely 3 hours, with thoughts of doom and gloom about the trip in my head. (We’ll boil Nick to death! We won’t be able to do anything fun! Etc., etc.)

So, given that night, the day did not seem as if it would be spectacular. We began it as we always do—gas up and add air to the incredible leaking tires. (Don’t get me started on the squeaky brakes. Our 1999 steed has creaky joints.)

Here’s how it went down.

Check out of hotel. Wander around the hills/cliffs of The Dalles, OR, enjoying the views of the Columbia River and Mt. Hood. Get on I-84 East, thinking that we’d cross over to the WA side of the river to get off the interstate. Ignore that thought and enjoy the beautiful views of mountains, vineyards, trains, desert, and water till we turn off (again, unexpectedly) to a side road to take us to Walla Walla. Enjoy another gorgeous ride past all of the Walla Walla Sweet Onion fields, which are “popping” now. The onions—which can only be grown successfully here—are literally popping out of the dirt now. Amazing.

We get to the town and stop at the local Chamber of Commerce (always a good idea). A lovely retired woman gives us every tip we’d ever want to have, and then we propose an afternoon to her (from her tips), which she pronounces “lovely.” So off we go.

2-mile, 1-hour architectural walking tour, with Nick in tow. What a great thing to do, combining all of the things we like to do: walk, look at great architecture, be with our VERY GREAT dog, and talk to people. Perfect.

Then we pick up salads at what looks like a local great place (converted gas station) and head to a winery that the retired lady recommended. WOW. Basel Vineyards was wonderful—gorgeous architecture and yummy wines. We highly recommend the Claret. But even better than the wine—we got a tip on where to camp tonight.

I am sitting here in Harris State Park in Milton Freewater, OR, listening to the Walla Walla River rush by over white-water rapids, in a fairly secluded camp spot, with a yellow finch trying to get in our RV (it likes our side view mirrors) and singing to us when it can’t, being delighted by the lovely cool temperatures in the midst of this “killer heat wave,” the fear of which kept me awake last night. It got to 87 degrees today (not bad—it’s predicted to be 108 on Sunday), but we’ll stay in a motel Sat/Sun to use the A/C in the afternoon/evening. So, again, all is well. I think Lisa had a nice nap:

Nick is turning into The Best Dog. Ever. He’s totally at home in the RV now. Instead of sleeping on the floor of the RV on his bed as we drive, he now makes his place on one of the people beds in the back. He has a great time—very comfy.

Then, in camp (which he loves), we put him on a long line and he chases bugs to his heart’s content. Not to say that he doesn’t like motels—he loves putting his ball in the shower for a game. So, he’s just a happy boy. Very mellow and accepting of all circumstances—how we’ve always hoped he’d be.

So, today—a great drive, an architectural walking tour that all 3 of us loved, a winery visit, and a spectacular campsite. It does not get any better than this.

Here’s our campsite. That's the setting sun on the steep cliffs. You can't see the gorgeous river, but we sure could hear it. Lovely sound to sleep by.

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