I actually left on Wednesday after work, and headed up Highway 97, which I pretty much know like the back of my hand by now. It has a few scenic spots, but for the most part is rather boring. Rather than take the even MORE boring route the rest of the way, I took Highway 14 on the Washington side of the Columbia River, rather than Interstate 84 on the Oregon side. Sadly (or happily? it definitely shaped my decision), due to our dumb speed limit laws here in Oregon, the winding 2-lane highway with barely any shoulder and cross streets every so often in Washington has the same speed limit as the 4-lane divided highway with wide shoulders and convenient on- and off-ramps. Go figure. So I made decent time and got to Jen's a little before 10:00.
|Sunset photo from the road|
That night, we (she has a roommate, plus of course Nathan was there, too) just sat around and chatted, catching up.
Thursday was the 4th of July. We (me, Nathan, Jen, and the two dogs that belong to Jen [she has four in her house--another belongs to her roommate, and the fourth is a foster dog]) attempted to go geocaching right in her neighborhood, and the site was pretty cool, but we were unsuccessful in locating the cache. Meanwhile, the humans and the dogs were all pretty hot and thirsty, even though it had only been a short walk, so we headed back to the house.
Later, when it was even hotter, we took two dogs (this time, one of Jen's and also the roommate's dog--the two who are known swimmers) and went to Finley to go swimming--there's a kind of cove that's protected from the river current, but is near where the Snake joins the Columbia. Not sure which we were swimming in, but the water was the PERFECT temperature, whichever it was. The dogs LOVED chasing their bumpers (floating toys for them to fetch), and Nathan and I had fun in the water, too. Jen and her roommate mostly stayed on shore or only wading depth, throwing the toys for the dogs.
We headed back to the house, and although we had talked about possibly going somewhere to watch professional fireworks, it's probably best we just stayed home so Jen could be with her dogs. It's an understatement to say they're not fans of fireworks. :-) Meanwhile, we played various games, including Risk, and I tried to get some photos of the dogs.
|Jen's dog, Sasha|
|Their foster dog, Bailey|
|Sasha in the background, and Jen's other dog, Dylan|
|Jen's roommate's dog, Ariel|
|Bailey has magical ears|
Saturday, we had a leisurely breakfast and more chatting, then all the houseguests cleared out so Jen and her roommate could resume their normal lives. :-)
Nathan and I headed toward my mom's house. More chatting, some popcorn and plums for dinner, then we (mom, step-dad, their dog, Nathan, and I) set out on a short geocaching excursion. The first cache was a pretty quick find once I realized I shouldn't trust my GPS, which was telling me to walk up someone's driveway. The next one we went for was a multi-stage in a playground. The hint indicated that the clue to the real coordinates would be near the top, so I was surreptitiously hanging out on the jungle gym, looking around, groping in small places, and pretending to take photos of Nathan, who was goofing off on all the equipment.
|No, the cache wasn't in the dilapidated outhouse.|
We went to one cache that was near a fire tower. The cache description said the tower is often vacant on weekends, and that if the gate was locked, you could always park and hike to the cache. There was A gate that was shut an locked, but there was a road that went around it. Well, a "road." It's probably best if only high-clearance and/or 4-wheel-drive vehicles attempt it, but I gave it a shot in my Camry, taking care to keep the tires on the high ground rather than IN the ruts, so I didn't high-center it, and watching the rocks to make sure I didn't slam the undercarriage of my car into them. There was a spot where it got steep enough that I wasn't sure I would make it up, but I gunned, and made it.
When we arrived at the tower, it turns out there WAS someone there, and the first think he said when I got out of my car was, "Wow, impressive driving to have made it up here in that." Apparently he was watching me the whole time. Ha! I didn't tell him I used to drive actual four-wheel-drive trucks, occasionally, and that while no one would accuse me of being GOOD at it, maybe I did learn a few things. :-) He actually invited us up to look around, but I didn't want to intrude, so I told him we were just there for the geocache, and would poke around a bit then get out of his way. We did find it, and I took a photo from the top of the hill while we were there, too.
But Nathan got tired of me making stops, and it WAS getting late, so eventually we just hit the road and stayed there, until we got to Prineville and stopped for some Mexican food. Just as we were leaving town, and I had promised Nathan we would be home in 30-40 minutes, I realized I HAD to pull over one more time--there was an overlook and this sunset (click to view larger):