I have my husband back!
School is out for a whole month, so Eric and I are taking advantage of all this marvelous free time with a few little excursions.
We all know that we do most of our vacationing with Groupons (or Living Social, in this case) to do lots of fun things on the cheap. This time around, we got a great deal on a 2-night stay at a bed and breakfast in the Columbia River Gorge.
The gorge is about 3 1/2 hours away from Eugene, and although the 2 1/2 hour drive to Portland is pretty boring, it gets really amazing as soon as you enter the gorge. I’m not even sure how to describe it. You should just go ahead and Google the Columbia River Gorge. Spend a few hours looking at all the photos and then come back to me. It’s just beautiful.
We made this same drive last year when we were visiting Oregon on vacation. And even though I have seen all of this before, I was still shocked by how gorgeous this area is. It’s one of those scenes that just makes you stop and say, “Oh my goodness” over and over again. The huge Columbia River cuts through the mountains, and the road runs right alongside it. So on one side, you have a beautiful, powerful river, and on the other, you have huge bluffs and mountains, and tons of waterfalls. I felt like we saw a waterfall every few minutes. And we got to drive past Multnomah Falls, which is just an astounding view. If you ever find yourself in this area, you have to stop there. It’s just impressive.
So we took this incredible drive through the gorge to Hood River, Oregon, which is this picturesque little mountain town near Mt. Hood. We visited here last year and fell in love with it for it’s small town charm and beautiful views. It didn’t disappoint this time around either. We stopped at Dog River Coffee (which brews Stumptown Coffee- score!) and perused a few local shops. We didn’t have a ton of time to explore since we wanted to find our bed and breakfast before dark, but we took in some good views of Mt. Hood and the river.
And then the real excitement began.
Eric and I seem to find ourselves in somewhat strange situations when we go on trips. So I suppose I should have expected everything that happened next.
First, we had to cross the Columbia River to get to White Salmon, Washington. It turns out that you have to pay a toll to cross the bridge (which means crossing back and forth got a bit on the spendy side). So we paid the toll and continued onto the most terrifyingly tiny and crowded bridge I’ve ever seen. And it was full of very large vehicles. And it was a metal grate, which means it was loud and made it impossible to drive in a straight line. But I suppose it’s been a while since we’ve felt close to death, so it’s good to get in a good scare every now and then. And since the river is very large, it took several minutes to cross the bridge, leaving us both shaky and sweaty. Lovely.
But the view from Washington was totally worth it. Hood River, Oregon may be the quainter town, but White Salmon, Washington has the million dollar view of Mount Hood. Spectacular.
Once we reached dry land, we followed the directions from the B&B’s website. You would think they’d give you some warning that you will need to drive 8 miles uphill on a gravel road. But nope, the paved road just gave way to gravel, and then dirt with a little gravel mixed in. As we drove farther and farther away from all signs of civilization, we were hoping that this B&B really existed. And sure enough, we eventually reached a gate for Husum Highlands Bed and Breakfast.
So we pulled up to the house and were greeted by the owner, Jerry, who gave us a tour (including a demonstration of how to use the remote control) and informed us that we were the only guests for the next two days. Being the only guests at a bed and breakfast is slightly awkward. It’s really quiet. And makes you feel like you need to whisper. But on the upside, we got the view of the sunset all to ourselves.
We asked Jerry for a recommendation for dinner. He mentioned a few places and then looked doubtfully at his watch, saying, “I don’t know if any of them would be open this late.” It was 4 o’clock in the afternoon.
So we called the restaurant he recommended, Taste of the Gorge, and found that it was, indeed, open for dinner. So we drove back down the dirt and gravel roads, now in complete darkness, and found the restaurant.
We walked inside, and the owner/chef (we will call him Fu manchu from this point on) was sitting at a table, watching TV. We were the only people in the restaurant.
Fu manchu welcomed us in and gave us the best seat in the house, right next to the fireplace and Christmas tree. Nice. Then he handed us some menus and walked away.
A few minutes later, another car pulled up. Our waitress had arrived. My guess is that Fu manchu called her to come to work when we got there.
Fu manchu turned on some Christmas music and we enjoyed our meal all by ourselves. The food was really delicious (seafood fettuccine for Eric, a burger for me), and the service was excellent. The waitress seemed very appreciative that we had given them some business on a lonely Monday night.
I spent most of the meal laughing to myself, as neither of us had ever been the only people in a restaurant.
And once we left (a little after 6), they turned the lights off in the dining room. The end of an exciting night in Husum, Washington.
The trouble with winter in the Northwest is that it gets super dark around 4 pm. The trouble with winter in the rural Northwest is that once it gets dark, there is absolutely no light. So we drove back to the B&B in absolute darkness, making me wish that we had some stronger headlights, as there was a party of deer very interested in hitting our car. Luckily, we were driving so slowly (once again, 8 miles of windy, gravel roads) that we didn’t actually hit any of them. Apparently I’m getting over my fear of deer, as I didn’t scream or try to grab Eric’s arm every time we saw a deer. Big points for me.
Here’s to the start of a fun mini-vacation!