Short weak ends .. or something like that

We hopped in my little car and got much better gas mileage on our short weekend/long trip to Portland. We do those things to see daughters and grand kids.

The Gorge is always a beautiful drive and this weekend was no exception. Canadian Honkers were everywhere, including waddling up the railroad tracks that parallel I-84. A passing grain car must have left some lunchables for the feathered travelers. (Northern Pacific, Really Terrific. Anyone remember that?)

Fall colors in the trees were mostly shades of yellows and brown. The western trek was unusually wind-free, the leaves weren't scattering, and the the Columbia River was like glass. While I was driving, and the hubby was asleep, I noticed the colors reflected like the wells of a painters pallet. I could have dipped a brush in the water and continued tinting the autumn designs on the hills.

The fog became heavy in the deepest area of the mountain pass. 'The Nothing' from The Never Ending Story loomed in the distance and the stony faces on the cliffs bore resemblance to 'The Rock Eater.' I remember his Big, Strong, Hands. The fog lifted in one area and hung like a perfect cover for the 'Swamp of Melancholy.' Yes. I have that movie.

The grandchildren were rugrats. Curly Mop demonstrated her ability to make mommy squirm by throwing a hissy fit at the store. Terrible Two's. Later, she entertained us with singing and coloring and hopping with grandpa. BenJammin' was pleased that we ate Thai-food. He and I played "Four-Score" plus he read books to grandpa. The Buttercup arranged butt races down the steep carpeted stairs in Amanda's apartment and played the awesome sport of "get me grandma' because she knows she's much quicker on the corners. To end the race I have to hide behind a door and scare her into Karmyn's laughing hugs.

The trip home arrived quickly and we were pushed by the prevailing easterly winds that draw the wind-surfers and para-sails from all over the world. And, they were everywhere.

Even with the gusts, the leaves were stubborn, refusing to let the wind loose them from the swaying branches. The sky began falling as soon as we left Portland and prompted a short fat rainbow on an opposite river bank with the most vibrant colors I have ever seen. The hubby was asleep - so he missed hearing me name them. Violent Violet and Yodeling Yellow were two. ( A friend of mine told me she drove through a rainbow a few weeks ago. I was intrigued?)

The hubby saw a white mountain goat on a sharp rocky ledge and later we both saw a herd of big-horned sheep. I know where to find the sheep, as they always winter between the same two canyons. As the eastern slopes of the Cascade drop into rolling hills and sagebrush I always watch for antelope. I never see them. About six months ago, however, I saw the sleek and muscular stretch of a big cat race across the freeway at dusk. The cougar must have been very hungry (and the traffic was light) to have made that appearance. It was the second sighting in my whole life. The hubby was asleep.

The clouds raced us home while the sun played peek-a-boo through them as it set in a pink and golden orb.

And just now, close to midnight, when I should be in bed getting my "beauty sleep" for another work week I discovered something shocking. I turned on the patio light to look outside and it was snowing. My begonia's were still blooming!! The temperature has dropped to about 38 degrees but I don't believe it will stick. (Unfortunately, it will stick it to the Begonia's.)

I haven't seen snow in October for at least 30 years. This time I woke the hubby.


vicki said…
I can't imagine seeing a big cat and a mountain goat while driving down the road. We get coyotes, deer, turtles, armadillos, possium and sometimes a fox. I love road trips and try to take them often. Now I have children who fight in the backseat so until I get that soundproof glass installed between the driver seat and the back seat I'm going to say close to home. =)
Jenny said…
You have such a great way with words!
Pass the Torch said…
It sounds like a wonderful drive, even with the rugrats at the end of the journey;)

I wish my mom would come to visit us. She expects us to always go to see her. It's too bad.

Curt responded to your question today!
Heather said…
Sounds like a lovely trip! I LOVE road trips - wish I could do them through the mountains more often.
Swampwitch said…
Great story..."hissy fit"...I love it. I thought I was the only person in the world who used that to describe my children's behavior.
Claudia said…
How beautiful! The whole story and family. It also reminds me of my first winter in Balti, the first time it snowed was right before Thanksgiving. We were at work and just stared out the window!
Devon said…
What a great way to spend the weekend. Do you ever take pictures on your road trips and paint from the picture later? It is something I have always thought about doing. As it is, I haven't painted a watercolor in over a year and miss it!!!!!!
Walker said…
Snow on the begonias!??? Who the heck is in charge here!
Kila said…
Sounds like a beautiful drive. You have a way with words.

How are the begonias doing?
Sue said…
We've made that drive through the Columbia Gorge a few times and it is always beautiful. You have a wonderful gift with words to make one feel as though we're riding along with you!
Jenn said…
I love autumn drives. I figured you would have snow your way soon, since we just got some last week.

Isn't it fun to see all the "wild things" while driving. Love your description from never ending story. One of my favorite movies ever!
Shauna said…
How exciting - snow! ! ! I can usually just dream about it here in OK. . .Sounds like a wonderful trip!
willowtree said…
I felt like I was along for the ride (and not sleeping either).
Karmyn R said…
Yes - I remember trick-or treating in the snow in my Tinkerbell costume - so that was probably about 30 years ago.
Susan in va said…
WOW! It was 72 degrees here today! I love the snow. I can't remember if I've ever seen an October snow.

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