Thursday, May 30, 2013

Eastward Bound

I never really have been one for doing things over Memorial Day weekend - other than being happy to have a three day weekend. Last year I went to Gearhart with the BFF to celebrate her birthday, I think that was the first time I really remember doing "something" for Memorial Day weekend.

This year, with how hectic life has been and crazy work has made me, I figured I deserved a weekend away. So this past weekend my mother and I packed up her car and headed to Eastern Oregon to explore pioneer cemeteries and old ghost towns (ghost as in deserted not as in haunted) together!  

Specifically we were headed east following the Columbia River and headed to Pendleton, OR (perhaps you have heard of the Pendleton Round-Up Rodeo or Pendleton Wool?). We figured where we had been up and down the Oregon coast before, why not head a different direction and see parts of Oregon we hadn't before. 

We started off traveling along Historic Highway US-30 following a trail of waterfalls off the Gorge and finding The Vista House -  an amazing lookout spot only 30 minutes from my house. The view was just breathtaking.
We jumped back into the car and onto I-84E and began our journey. We were amazed how how quickly and drastically the climate changes just shortly after Multnomah Falls - going from the rainforest like wetlands into dry scrub-oak filled flat lands. There were times where we joked, if it hadn't been for the giant Columbia River to our left, we would have thought we were back in the high deserts of California.

Because we spent so much time enjoying waterfalls we hadn't been to before, we decided to pick up speed and get to The Dalles by lunch time. (For those of you unfamiliar with PNW words that's pronounced more like The Dolls than like Dalles, TX). Once we did get into town I pulled out Yelp and found the first "4-star" ranked restaurant near us...Momma Jane's Pancake House (obviously the Saturday hangout for everyone)

After lunch, and an amusing show by a regular customer who donned one of the waitresses flowered aprons and pranced around offering coffee to the other customers, we got back on the road. Our goal was to reach Pendleton before 4PM so we had time to visit the Tamástslikt Cultural Institute. (We made it!)

A quick nap in the hotel afterwards, and we headed to the casino for some "fine-dining" at Plateau (which had an amazing view which I forgot to take a picture of). I tried elk for the first time and decided, since I was on vacation,  to have a cocktail after my Huckleberry wine. I tried their Ginger Cosmopolitan which was spicy and sweet. The waitress left the shaker after pouring my drink, and wouldn't you know it...there was a whole 2nd glass worth there for me!

Since we were at a casino, how could we not hit the casino floor for a little while right? And by a little while I mean we played penny slots for five minutes, lost $13 between us and were ready to head back to the hotel. Haha. (Neither of us are big gamblers)

We knew we had another long day ahead of us (headed home and stopping at a half dozen old cemeteries, ghost towns and museums along the way. So we tucked ourselves into bed early and, as with any good vacation, didn't set an alarm. 




Part 2: Headed Home Again coming soon

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