When I left the house the other morning to head West on a 4 hour drive that takes me through the gorge, I wasn't expecting the fierce wind. Teach me to check the weather report through the Columbia Gorge.
When I joined the trucks and cars on I-84, I feared we would all become bumper cars for the gusts that channeled through the gullies. We were certainly targets for the tumbleweeds that had long lost their tumble in exchange for bullet intensity. The anxiety and my morning coffee combined to make me so appreciative of an Oregon's highway rest stop... they really are nice and well kept ...but I could barely get my car door open, not to mention the struggle to get the heavier restroom door to respond to my road weary arms. If I had designed that particular rest area, I would have put the men's room on the prevailing wind side.
Deeper into the gorge the rain was relentless, but the wind backed off a bit. The river, however, was doing its best to impersonate the ocean with white capped waves buffeting against the current. Impressive, really.
The return trip today couldn't have been more different. The sun was shining and the Columbia River was so still that I could see the V left in the wake of the paddling ducks. Rare. One of the cities along my route is the wind surfing capital. No colorful sails today.
Climbing away, then up, then down into our valley presented a welcoming scene. The higher peaks of the Blue's, still wearing winter's white, were standing guard over the multi-hued ridges and draws; and the sun-reflected spray of the irrigation systems was refreshing the April growth of Alfalfa along the Touchet River. The winter wheat displayed that soft baby blanket appeal on the rolling hills, and the flowers along the streets through town were colorful and aromatic.
Spring and I are home.
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