Things in the US get a bit confusing sometimes. George Washington lived in a grand house called Mount Vernon, which is all the way east on the other side of the country. Washington State probably wasn’t even thought of when George was president, and to honour him further, they named a town in his namesake state after his grand family home. Our friends Gail and Pat live in a little town called Big Lake, just outside Mt Vernon, and I bet you can’t guess how that little town got its name.
But let’s backtrack a bit and tell you about what we did yesterday. We thought we’d have a look around Portland while we were there, but instead we ended up driving east along the Columbia River which marks the border between Oregon and Washington. The explorers Lewis and Clark paddled along the river, spent winter at Fort Clatsop on the south side of the river, then turned around and returned to St Louis. We drove to Cascade Locks, a little town about 40kms from Portland. We were interested in visiting this town because the Pacific Crest Walking Trail (PCT) crosses the river here at the Bridge of the Gods, and this is where Cheryl Strayed, author of ‘Wild’ finished her walk which she had started in California near the border with Mexico. ‘Wild’ is a wonderful book, well worth a read, and it’s going to be a major feature film starring Reese Witherspoon, due for release sometime later this year. As with all books-to-movies …. read the book first. I am looking forward to the movie, though.
So we walked about 10 metres along the PCT, me in my sturdy pink walking thongs and Greg in his falling-apart Keen sandals, had lunch at the local cafe which sits just above the river and has magnificent views of the Bridge of the Gods and up and down the river … then we paid the $1 toll and drove across the bridge to keep on driving north. We meandered along windy back roads for a while, glimpsing Mt St Helens and Mt Rainer still covered in snow, then made it back to the I5 in time to hit peak hour traffic in Seattle. Every time we have driven through Seattle, it’s been peak hour, so I’ve come to the conclusion that it’s always peak hour there. We got to Gail and Pat’s just after 7pm, in time for takeaway Chinese with them and some of their friends. So good to see them again. I’ve been friends with them for nearly 20 years. We have visited them here a few times, they have visited us at home a few times … and in between we have all done lots of travelling and always have lots of stories to swap.
Today we spent some time just catching up, checking out the huge vegie garden, doing a test put-up of our new tent on the back deck and Greg did some geeky stuff on their phones, TV, laptop and some for us to make sure we are connected to the interwebz while we’re travelling. Then we went shopping for food, drinks and other essentials at Walmart, Dollar Tree and See’s Candies. We’re getting back into the swing of travelling in the US, Judy-and-Greg style.