Thursday, December 23, 2010

End of an Era

Since moving to White Salmon in 2007, we've participated in an annual tradition: blowing your own 0rnament at the White Salmon Glassworks. You choose your colors, shape smooth or ridges, and whether or not you want snow. The glass artists do all the shaping while you blow your own hot air through a tube into the very hot glass. It's great fun, and you get to take home a beautiful piece of art the next day (or they mail it to you if you've come from afar).

In 2008 a string of snowstorms almost caused us to miss our opportunity, but due to popular demand, Ellen and Robin opened up between Christmas and New Years for one more chance. Fortunately for us, the girls were both here to participate. Last year my niece Sydney got to make one for her Xmas present.

The Glassworks has been a labor of love by Robin and Ellen Knoke, and their building is a cornerstone of our little town. But the time has come for retirement, hastened by health problems this past year, and we're all keeping our fingers crossed that someone or some group will step up to keep the fires burning. The glass artists who do their crafting there hope so, too.

Lloyd and I each blow an ornament. My six siblings and I have a rotating Christmas gift share. Each year we've kept Lloyd's ornament, and I've given mine as a gift to a sister. (Don't worry Linda, I made an extra one this year so you'll get yours next year no matter what!). I made one to keep this year, just in case. We have enough to put one in each window along the side of the house.

I have Keara's for safe keeping while she's in Korea, so it has its own window, watching over the bird feeder. Also keeper of Alina's, which was supposed to have 'snow' on it, but it was forgotten...Still pretty though.

Here for your enjoyment are the rest of the beautiful orbs:

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

To Tree or Not To Tree...that was the question

I recently polled my Facebook friends to help me decide whether to bother with a tree this year. We have a nice big fake tree that we've had for more than 10 years. It was fine for our houses in Louisiana and Texas but it's a little oversized for our house here in the gorge. I've been leaving off the back row of branches so it wouldn't stick out so far into the room. This year we added the fireplace, so there's a little less room for that tree. I was feeling rather Scroogish, neither of the girls is going to be here, so I was thinking about bailing on the tree thing. Just put up some decorations, hang some favorite ornaments in the windows, light evergreen candles...but this weekend we decided we just couldn't go treeless.

We tried to find a skinnier fake tree. No dice. So we drove up to the Trout Lake forest service ranger station and bought our $5 tree cutting permit. When we lived in California, we used to go to Lassen National Forest over Thanksgiving weekend, and cut a tree. It was a nice tradition, and the kids, who were really small at the time, loved it. Anyway, the weather was foul, so we decided to wait until a break. That came today. We loaded up the snow shoes, saw, and the dog, and drove up to Pineside Sno park. It was dry in White Salmon, rainy at BZ Corner, and snowing at Trout Lake. It snowed like crazy up the road to Pineside. We ended up walking in about 2 ft of fresh snow up the snowmobile road a ways before we found some possibilities.

The winning tree came down easily, but next time we'll bring a sled of some kind to make the hauling out easier. Lloyd did his best Clydesdale impression, and got the tree down to the car. It's outside right now, gotta make some room for it tomorrow before Lloyd takes off to go back up to Adams to ski tomorrow with Dean. Watch for the finished product...

UPDATE: Voila!

I'm Dreaming of a White Salmon 2010

Hard to believe this was our fourth tree lighting event. We had snow before the tree was delivered, then rain, then a break to raise the beautiful 25 foot tree that SDS lumber kindly dropped at the Boatworks. Santa's elves got loads of lights strung on the tree, Lloyd climbed onto the roof and pulled while we pushed and walked the tree to a standing position. Who needs a cherry picker?

The day of the event we took our cds, marshmallow skewers, makings for over 120 s'mores, and a load of wood for the fire pit. I took a walk to the library for their annual wassail celebration, and to hear my marimba bandmate Dottie and her a capella quartet "It Takes Four" perform holiday classics. Lloyd started the fires about 3:30 and it wasn't too long before people started stopping by, but we think the 'Civil War' game between Oregon and Oregon State was responsible for the low turnout.

Michelle from D'lish Delivered brought yummy hot chocolate and an assortment of cookies, Ray at the Boatworks supplied hot cider. The kids from the Equestrian team sold wreaths. Local shops had great specials and I was able to sneak in a few purchases before I had to stand duty at the fire pits.

And then came the mini horses from Windwalker Ranch, with their antlers and striped socks (which they didn't seem too thrilled to be dressed in). They were a big hit with the kids who came early. As it got dark, the horses had to go home. There was a mini stampede as they were being loaded into their trailer but they were quickly contained.

The kids went crazy making and eating s'mores. I am glad none of them were coming home with me. Let's just say the more unrestrained noshers had more than their quota of sugar.

A bit after 5 the crowd had grown in anticipation of the tree lighting. Maybe the game was 5:15 we were wondering where the mayor was...he finally took a break from interviewing police chief candidates and walked down to perform his favorite unofficial duty. He led the countdown, and another beautiful tree, complete with white salmon topper, was lit for the season!

Saturday, November 13, 2010

New Project

Inspired by Conor and Alina's homebrewing, I came up with a great birthday present for Lloyd this year. While I was in Boston, Alina and I went shopping at their favorite brew supply store, and chose a Scottish Ale kit for Lloyd. I'm sure the TSA inspectors were amused when they opened my checked back to see what the can of liquid and assorted powders, grains and foil packs of hops were. I was 2 for 2 that last trip for inspections.

We had all the major equipment we needed from my blackberry wine making venture. That didn't turn out good enough to repeat. Last Sunday we decided to cook up some beer. Alas, my largest pot was a mere 3 gallons, and I feared serious spillage onto my ceramic stovetop. So I went in search of a bigger pot, had to cross the bridge and found what I was looking for at WalMart. The irony of buying my husband a pot! I had a choice of 4 gallon or 5. I figured what the heck, go big. It's a beauty.

I don't know what I was expecting for hops when I opened the foil packs. They looked like something that should be fed to rabbits. They sure smelled good, though. The cooking went well, and I was glad we had the extra headroom, so to speak, as one flash boil nearly reached the top.

After cooking, the whole pot goes into an ice bath in the sink to cool it off before adding the yeast. We did not have a big enough ice supply in our pathetically small ice maker, so that involved an unscheduled late evening run to Thriftway before they closed.

The wort made it into the fermenter, and we put it downstairs in the dark storage area after checking the temp to make sure it was in range. Unfortunately, it got really cold that night and by morning, it was a tad chilly for activating yeast, so it took up residence in the laundry room. By evening it had started percolating away. Glug Glug.

This weekend we'll siphon out the good stuff into the glass carbouy for the secondary, then we'll have a little time to locate some bottles and a capper. I think it will have to stay in the laundry room. Cold weather is on its way and we don't want to kill off our yeast too soon. Good thing our technical advisor is just a text message away. Stay tuned.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Falling through Fall

Once again, I'm paving the road to hell with my good intentions...Here, after long last, is the first of several updates to my neglected blog. To my readers who don't care for politics, you will be pleased that the main reason for such a long absence was politically related activity and that I spared you the agony by writing in other venues. We all got enough on our TVs to last a lifetime. I could make some smart comments here, but I will save them for another space. But fall is here in the Gorge, with winter knocking at the door. A nice rainy day makes for good writing weather!

After sending Keara off to Korea, we had some great days hiking and doing Wilderness Steward good deeds, kayaking on the Columbia and Klickitat, working up at the Tilly Jane Guard Station preparing for historical days and winter, dealing with a fantastic harvest of vegetables and apples from the garden, you know, all the usual things happening this time of year. We never did get out for another camping trip. I still hold out hope for one before the snow flies, though it's already flying at Mt. Hood. And as of 15 minutes ago, on Underwood, about 500 ft above us.

We were fortunate to have Roger and Lupe Severson join us for a long weekend, so we could show off our extended neighborhood. We've known them for over 30 years, lived in RI, CA and TX with them, and now they are looking at a landing place, too. I hope we convinced them with our waterfall hikes, wine tasting, mountain and river views, and promises of excellent nordic skiing if they come back this winter. The photo right is of Lloyd, Lupe and Roger at Multnomah Falls, after our Oneonta Gorge/Horsetail Falls hike.

A busy 10 day trip to Boston followed that weekend. The trees were in full color, as evidenced by this one in Grove Hill Cemetary (est. 1703) next to our street, where I love to walk and visit the old graves. I spent some quality time with my parents, visited with some relatives, and had some very nice Alina time, including a Fins Sushi dinner, which I always look forward to. I'll be sorry when she's no longer at BC, walking distance to this great little place. Her busy schedule of student teaching and a M-W childcare/cooking job keeps her hopping, and I was afraid I wouldn't see her at all. But a text message awaited me when I landed, so I took the green line to Chestnut Hill instead of to N. Station and the commuter to Waltham. We had oysters, chowder and salad at Legal Seafood, with Conor as our waiter. Fun, and I was back in Waltham only about an hour later than I would have been if I'd taken the train. What a treat.

My visit coincided with that of Father Bernie (a Columbian Fathers Missionary) and Una McDermott, cousins of my Auntie Marilyn (who was married to my late Uncle Bill, Dad's eldest brother). I hadn't seen Una since I was a teenager, and Fr. Bernie at my cousin Sarah's wedding in 1998. They are always great fun, and we had a wonderful lunch with them, Auntie M and my cousin Beth, at the homestead on Prairie Street. If those walls could talk...remembering the days of seven Waltham cousins hanging out with seven Concord cousins, while the adults had tea.

Another blast from the past included lunch at the Watch City Brewery with four jr high/high school friends, two I hadn't seen since graduation, the other two I've seen only once or twice in that 40 years. I was leaving a week too early for the short notice reunion being planned, so instead met up with a few people to scope out the venue for the main event. I'd been there before, and it was conveniently in walking distance on a nice fall day. Before I left, I got to squeeze in lunch with Arthur, my friend since 10th grade. But most of the time I spent helping out the folks.

We accomplished a lot. I walked with Dad daily, and starting reading him a fantastic book, Last Train to Paradise, about Flagler's Folly, the railroad built from Homestead to Key West FL, an engineering marvel until the hurricane of 1935 wiped it out. I can't wait to go back and read more. I helped Mom clean out her sewing area in preparation of moving it upstairs. Miraculous! Of course, Mom loved having a personal chef. And speaking of reunions, Mom went to her 65th high school reunion at Mt. St. Joseph's Academy, the only one there from her class. I hung out with Dad, and watched baseball (after Lawrence Welk and Jeopardy). Here she is in her reunion dress. Nice!

The day I got back, Will was here from CA for the weekend, always a pleasure. It was Lloyd's 'when I'm 64' birthday. I still need him, and I still feed him. No problem. Then Lloyd and I went to McMinnville on election day to help my sister Mary, Yamhill County Commissioner, celebrate one way or the other. She's checking the first results in the photo to the right. It turned out to be a happy ending, and Mary will have her third and final term. Turning back a tea party candidate in a conservative county was no mean feat this year, but honestly, the best candidate won. That's not biased. it's a FACT. That's all I'm gonna say.

We ended the visit with lunch at Red Hills Provincial Dining in Dundee, our favorite restaurant. Nancy even made Lloyd a yummy birthday cake! Sweet! Here is Lloyd being deliberately un-photogenic.

Stay tuned for some details and photos of recent activities. I won't make you wait too long.

Monday, August 30, 2010

What Not To Wear

Anyone who knows me knows how much I love to shop. NOT. My idea of a shopping spree is using my Discover points to get LLBean discount cards and hit the Sale page for a new pair of jeans or more fleece of various thickness. I am not sad that I live an hour away from any kind of mall.

Now that we live in the NW, I fit right in. We're not in Sugar Land any more. Jeans work for 3 seasons, and cool evenings in summer. Sweatshirts and fleece jackets never get stored away. Keen makes great hiking shoes, boots and sandals. Who needs anything more?

Apparently, one of Keara's goals for her visit last week was to stage an intervention. After our Costco and Trader Joe run, we stopped at the Outlet Mall in Troutdale, where I thought she just wanted to pick up a few last minute things to wear for work. HA! We entered the Gap Outlet where she proceeded to choose clothes for ME! Try this on. This will look great with that. Your jeans are horrible, try these! Then she stood outside the dressing room door and awaited my appearance to thumbs up or down. I ended up walking out with a new pair of jeans, a pair of gray bermuda shorts, a pair of taupe colored dress pants, a short sleeved T and a long sleeved button down white shirt to wear under the purple cardigan and the turquoise shawl collared sweater, and a colorful sleeveless blouse. Then it was time to find an acceptable bag to replace my aging LLBean healthy back bag that has way too many hidden pockets. The Totes store had the answer. I had to promise to work on shoes. We ran out of time.

I went to work at Springhouse Cellars the next afternoon, in my new shorts, a pin striped white blouse that was hiding in my closet, and sandals. I had to sneak my Keen sandals into the car when she wasn't looking. I need those rubber protected toes! And I wore the new jeans, Tshirt and purple sweater to the airport when she left for Seoul on Saturday (above photo). Thanks, Keara. You were a great 'Stacey'...we didn't even need Clinton.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Hope for the Future

It's been busy in the 'hood. We just finished up working on the primary election, Jamba Marimba had its last scheduled gig of the summer, and my first daughter came home for a week. One week. To put the finishing touches on her preparations for her year teaching English overseas. So thoughts of 'home', our lives and the lives of many friends have been swirling around in my head.

For Keara, home is wherever we are. She spent the first 5+ years of her life in California (though my Texas friends will be proud to know she had her REAL beginning in TX). Her K-5 elementary years were spent in Lagos, Nigeria, where she learned and played with kids from 40 different countries. During those years, we visited at least 13 different countries in Europe, Africa and the Middle East. She went off on her own to the UK in 2002 for a 3 week program at Cambridge between soph and junior year in high school. She added several more European countries during her 6 months in Berlin during junior year at Brandeis. After college, she wanted to work, enjoy life in Boston beyond college, and figure out what to do next. A few mundane admin jobs later, she made a choice to get back out in the world for a new adventure, and prepare for what comes next (grad school, perhaps at UT?). Her advisor in college suggested she needed non European experience to reach her career goal of International Student/Study Abroad officer at a university. Asia was one place she hasn't been, so Asia it is.

South Korea, specifically. All her language study has been European, with 5 years of jr-sr high Spanish, a major in German, and exposure to French at school in Nigeria. Why not go someplace and do total immersion????? That's Keara. I am so grateful we had the years in Nigeria to give the kids a broader perspective. Our friend Joel, the admissions counselor at AIS-L, gave a talk on Third Culture Kids that I'll never forget. Kids who live outside their own culture and how the experience transforms them.

I think about our friends Barb and John, whose daughter Kelsey is in The Gambia with her husband in the Peace Corps, both of them fresh out of grad school. Kelsey lived in Indonesia as a kid. Our friends Tom and Mary's son Matt was a junior high student when we came to Nigeria. After law school, Matt went to Rwanda and started up Indego Africa, investing in long term skills for Rwandan women. Most of our overseas friends' kids have done semesters abroad. Tom and Leila's daughter Andrea, already fluent in Spanish, is getting some hospital nursing experience under her belt, and studying French, so she can join one of my favorite charities, MSF (Doctors Without Borders). My friend Hal's wonderful daughter Sara taught English in Egypt for several years. Other former expat friends, like Diana and Scott, have kids in the military serving overseas. I often wonder where all the kids that Keara went to elementary school with have ended up.

Some of our friends NEVER went overseas, but their kids are out there in the world doing good things, like my friend Janet's Kate, who has been working for a health care NGO in Rwanda the last several years. My cousin Steve's daughter Janna, who just finished a year teaching English in, coincidentally, S. Korea. Keara's wonderfully crazy friend Lucy from Louisiana, who just finished a year of working in Australia and traveling all over Asia, and now wants to apply for a job in S. Korea. My friend Avalon's daughter left this week for a 4 year PhD program in Dusseldorf. Others in and graduated from the service academies, all out serving us in the world.

These are only a few examples. There are more. But it gives me great hope during a time when so many Americans have gone so xenophobic that I am embarrassed for our country. We finally have a president, also a Third Culture Kid, who has restored some semblance of respect in the world but ironically, brought out the worst ugliness at home. As a second generation kid myself (my maternal grandparents came from Germany) I get very discouraged. Living in SW Houston neighborhood of 30 plus homes with only 3 Anglo American families, with neighbors from around the world. I worry how they are faring with this nonsense. I am concerned about my wonderful Muslim neighbors, who would invite us to celebrate the end of Ramadan with them. My Chinese neighbors who would bring tea for Chinese New Years. My Vietnamese neighbors who would stop by with freshly made spring rolls. Our house was bought by a Chinese family. There was only one Anglo American family left when we moved. That makes me sad.

Then I think of all these bright young people out there in the world, putting a great face on what Americans are REALLY like. It gives me hope. Have a great year, Keara. Show them what American looks like.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Best Email of the Day


Sorry I haven't been writing. I try to keep my political life out of my blog life. It's been difficult lately. There are so many things I want to write about. So I've spent a lot of time writing other places. I apologize, and will get back to local color when I'm done tilting windmills.

I got a lot of really annoying emails today. The most annoying was so aggravating, I responded with this.

But the best one was THIS one. I got an email from the Prez. Just because I signed his Birthday Card. Great manners. Really great.
Loretta --

I want to thank you for signing my birthday card.

Michelle told me that she was planning something a little different this year, and I was overwhelmed by the kind words I received from so many supporters like you.

This job has a way of offering humbling moments. And the support you have shown me, time and time again, has sustained me through any number of difficult days. It is more than any president deserves, and I could not be more grateful.

On my birthday, I spent some time considering what the year ahead will bring -- a new set of challenges and opportunities, some that we can foresee and some that we cannot.

If we continue to stand together, I know we will continue to move America forward and win these fights for change.

Thank you again for taking a moment to sign my card. As far as birthdays go, it is hard to imagine topping this one. But then again, Michelle always has a way of surprising me.


I find myself really rooting for this guy (even though I was a Hillary supporter-still am-she's a great Sec State). He's working his butt off, swimming upstream against obstructionist Republicans who demand concessions then vote no anyway. He gets disrespected at every turn, yet he's accomplished a lot more than the previous president, with no recognition for it. He's a good person, a good dad, and a good husband, by all indications. I don't understand the hatefulness of some of the people in this country. It totally embarrasses and concerns me.

Thanks, Barack, for send me an email. You made my day.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Roaring Towards July

I'd be remiss if I didn't point out that, though they got a slow start on the season, my boys from Boston are back in the hunt. As of right now, they are tied with fast starting Tampa Bay, one half game back of the team I love to hate, the Yankees (Derek Jeter excepted).

There are plenty of things to cheer about right now, with new faces, healing injuries, old work horses, and oomph in Big Papi's bat. I still have heart palpitations when they call for the bull pen. Or when Dice K is pitching. But on the whole, I really like this team.

My Nextgen Red Sox fan, daughter Keara, was at the game the other day with her old college roommates, when they beat the Dodgers in the bottom of the ninth. That girl is a good luck charm. She has a history of this stuff. Thanks for being there, doing your part, while I merely scream at the computer Game Day updates.

For the past you know how long, I've been keeping up with news on the Deepwater Horizon oil blowout. After years of living on the Gulf Coast, with a spouse who was a deepwater explorationist, it's always on my mind. My favorite source of news before it hits the major networks has been El Jefe Bob, of the Daily Hurricane. Why do I mention this, besides the fact that he's been spot on THE WHOLE TIME? I knew I liked this guy. Look at him today on his post. Check out that hat. Nuf said.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

New Hangouts in Husum

Since the demise of Hooba's last November, evening Husum hangouts were non existent. Weep no more, local denizens! Rumor has it that someday soon, there will be something happening at the golf course restaurant now that the ghosts of Hooba's have been busted. I hear it might even involve a deep fryer (gasp!).

The bigger news is that Shaffer and Regina are now running The Husum Ice House at the Riverside B&B. The 100 year old brick ice house-turned-wine bar is the centerpiece of the property, which was originally the Husum Hotel, founded at the turn of the century (the last one, not the present one!). The wine bar is full of local wines. Here is Regina pouring some Waving Tree Sangiovese in the Ice House.

We attended the soft opening recently, and were treated to great wines and small plates on the patio. We enjoyed the company of local winemakers, winegrowers, chefs, artists, all fans of eating well and supporting the good life in Husum.

Here are pictures of two of the five plates were were treated to. Top has shrimp and a sauce I don't recall (too much sangiovese) and a pork tenderloin with cherry sauce. The other is lamb balls with a green chutney. MMM good. By then the Sangiovese was gone and we were sipping on some Wind River Cellars reds.

I stopped in for a glass of wine and human contact on Thursday. It was rainy, so the patio was out. Instead, I got to sit at the "Chef's Table", the counter seating in the kitchen, where I watched Chef Shaffer prepare my carpaccio small plate. Nice. They are open Thurs-Fri at 5, Saturday and Sunday noon to 9 pm, and are planning on serving a weekend brunch by July. I'll double check the hours and update this info as well. You can find the Ice House on Facebook as well.

More news: The infamous hillbilly smoker has found a new home at the White Water Cafe, along with its creator and chief operator, John G. Look for the BBQ sign out in front of the WWC across from the Husum Golf Course on Rt. 141. John is open Fri-Sun for his famous pulled pork sandwiches, sliders, ribs, chicken, and combo plates. The Cafe also has plans for an early morning coffee plus shift, and a lunchtime shift. I'll update as all becomes clear.

This bodes well for the Annual 4th of July parade and o.1 K fun run. We're thinking pub crawl between the Ice House and the BBQ. If the golf course place is open by then, we might make it up the hill.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Escape to the Middle of Nowhere WA

Project #3 for being MIA in May: Camping Trip with the Nordic Club gang.

Once the snow is done (though I don't think it will EVER be really done this year) we look for other sources of adventure. Last year we kicked off the 'off' season with a trip to John Day Fossil Beds. This year, we decided to follow the Ice Age Floods. Lloyd and Fred planned us a three night camping trip to Palouse Falls and environs. The weather forecast was awful for the weekend. We were leaving early Thursday morning May 20th. The night before it was COLD, RAINY (snow at 3500 ft) and WINDY. More of the same was on the way. No one was calling it off. We were taking our pop up camper, so as long as the tenters were game, so were we.

We took our time leaving the Gorge, stopped along the way in Wallula Gap for a geology lesson, then had a lunch stop at the Marcus Whitman historic hotel in Walla Walla. The old part of the hotel is neat, but the food in the restaurant was forgettable. I wish we'd gone across the street to Jacobi's, where I'd eaten last fall during the State Democrats meeting. Much better food. And less expensive. Anyway, we made one more stop at the last grocery store for miles in Dayton, then headed in to the Lyons Ferry Marina on the Snake River to set up camp. KOAs are not our first choice in camp grounds but there weren't a lot of choices, especially since the vancampers needed hookups.

The four tents were up the hill from us and the van campers next to us. The weather held, and we set up a group dining area by merging our picnic tables between the two of us.

Skip brought down the Coleman tailgater grill, and we cooked ourselves a fantastic kabob dinner.

Ole brought his trusty guitar and we had a group campfire up the hill, singing every song we could think of, and of course, his Austin Lounge Lizard standards Old Blevins and Paint Me On Velvet. We crashed at the 10 pm quiet time. It was cold. I wore several layers to bed that night, including a hoodie.

The hikes on Friday were easy but interesting. Fueled by a hearty pancake breakfast, we went first to Lyons Ferry State Park across the bridge from our camp. We hiked to a viewpoint where you can see an archaeological site, the Marmes Rockshelter, where the oldest (10,000 year old) human remains in the state were found. There's a diked area to the center right of the photo, with a cave at the waterline where the remains were found. Cool.

Then we drove to the 200 ft. Palouse Falls. The weather looked threatening, but didn't act on the threats. We were treated to great views, and some friendly marmots.

Back at the camp, we feasted on grilled salmon steaks and salads. Meal planning is very important to us campers. Then another campfire/singalong. The campground was filling up, it being Friday night. We resolved to camp midweek if at all possible. It was cold again, but not as bad as the night before. It rained a bit overnight, but cleared by morning.

Who can go out exploring without one of Yolanda's breakfast burritos (on homemade tortillas) with homemade salsa? Not I. Some crazy people ate two. Not I. Friday's adventure was to return to one of the trails at Palouse State Park and hike the steep loose trail to the bottom.

Not being one to risk life and limb for such an experience, decided to stay above and photograph the journey.

As the insane ones made their way to the train tracks, I just KNEW a train would come. Yep, one did. Just as they made it to the next part of the trail. After getting a few shots in, I returned to the park and did Ken Ken puzzles (conveniently left in the car) until they returned. Not that I'm a wuss or anything, I truly just don't like steep trails. I know it's easier coming up. But if I fall on the way down and break my neck, how the hell am I gonna get up? See what I'm saying?

The second part of the day was fantastic. After a scenic drive through Devil's Canyon, we went to Juniper Dunes and climbed to the top. Great fun, great views and great Big Sky! Actually ran into a group that was leaving as we arrived, a nordic ski club from nearby Pasco. How crazy is that? We made it back to the campground for our final dinner (chili and leftovers). It was getting even more crowded, with noisy tenters long after we'd put out the fire packed up the chairs and guitar. It rained and gusted wind all night long. I don't think anyone slept much.

An executive decision in the morning: no one wanted to cook breakfast in the wind. We'd had it. Coffee, yes. Muffins and scones, yes. Enough to get us on our way. The tenters did not take care in being quiet packing up. With quiet hours 10 pm-6 am, they were well within their rights at 6:10 am...payback for the all night partiers, heh heh. We hit the road, but had to drive all the way to Umatilla to find breakfast. A sign by the road pointed down a side street to a hotel and was the first thing we'd seen in hours. The Desert River Inn and Tumbleweed Saloon looked good to us. The breakfast menu was fantastic. We all ordered different things and everyone was happy.

Great way to end the trip. Several cars went to The Dalles after that, and we crossed the river at Biggs Bridge to finish the drive home on the WA side of the Columbia.

More photos can be found on the club's Picassa site.