Thursday, November 1, 2012

Washington, Oregon - Day 5: Columbia River Gorge

Our plan today was to cross the Columbia River on the Hood River Bridge and continue our trip east through the Columbia River Gorge on the Washington side of the river.  We needed to be in Richland, Washington around lunch time to meet with a friend from my working days who was now living in Washington.

We left Hood River around 9 under overcast skies, but no rain.  As we drove east, we went through patches of low fog which made for some eerie landscapes.

Despite the overcast and occasional fog, it was a nice drive along the river.  The further east we went, the dryer the terrain was and we left the forests and entered the dessert climate of Eastern Washington.

Roadside vineyards above the river.
One thing we had planned to do along the way was to stop at the Maryhill Museum of Art which was out in the middle of nowhere.  The museum was the former home of Sam Hill, a wealthy businessman in the Northwest who loved the area and built this large home in this isolated area.  He lived in it from the mid 1800's to the early 1900's and upon his death his home was converted to the art museum.  The building looks more like a fortress than a home, but it is very interesting with beautiful grounds and just a real oddity when you consider the isolated location.
The Maryhill Museum of Art.
Some of the fog shrouded grounds.
The entrance.
Val's head at the entrance.
Exiting into the fog.
Even though art museums are not usually one of my favorite things, it was actually a very interesting visit, and well worth the stop.  Just up the road is another oddity of the area compliments of Sam Hill.  In 1918 he built a replica of Stonehenge as a war memorial to the servicemen of the area who died in World War I.
Stonehenge, Maryhill style.
Val inside Stonehenge.
Inside Stonehenge.
We were running late so from Maryhill, we did a straight run to Richland arriving around 1 PM.  
The foggy drive east.
We met Rob and Judy and they treated us to a tasty lunch at Famous Dave's BBQ. Thanks Rob and Judy!  Rob retired about six months before I did and decided to move to the Richland area to be closer to Judy's family.  They had their home built and finally had been able to move in just two weeks ago.  After lunch we visited their home and it was beautiful.  They had everything built to their specifications including a large workshop for Rob which I am very envious of.  They love their new home and area and are doing great in retirement.

After visiting with Rob and Judy for a while it was time for us to hit the road again.  Our plan was to stay in Yakima so we headed west and arrived in Yakima in the late afternoon.  Even though there was heavy overcast all day, we didn't get into any rain until just before Yakima.  Once again our hotel room overlooked a river, this time the Yakima.  The fall color continues to be spectacular.  Here are a few pictures Val took from our balcony.

Another great day and more to come tomorrow.

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