Thursday, February 14, 2008

Road Trip!

This past Saturday Stephanie and I took a road trip. We were just sitting on our bed in the morning when she asked me if we had any plans for the day. I thought for a moment and then replied "I don't think so..." She then proceeded to say "Let's go on a road trip! I haven't taken you on one of those yet have I?" The answer was no, she was astounded, and we took off for the day. As we left Richland the only destination in mind was south to Oregon. As we crossed into the next state I asked if we could go to Joseph, OR. I remember having gone there about 5 1/2 years ago and I thought she would really enjoy the scenery. We looked at the map, found our route and headed that way. We tried to be as spontaneous as possible, stopping any time we thought something might make a memory... or a good picture... A little bit after we reached the far side of Pendleton food started to become prevalent in our minds. We stopped at a place called "Cody's" for lunch. It was a small restaurant next to a big rig fueling station. The food was decent and the people were nice, but we had finished eating, so we left to continue our adventure. On the way to our next stop we came upon a vista while climbing a mountain slope. When we paused to take a look we realized that we could see 2 mountains off in the distance (I found out later that they are Mount Hood and Mount Adams) and it was a beautiful sight. Somewhere in between there and La Grande, we drove through an unexpectedly well maintained campground. The snow was probably 2' deep and yet the roads were plowed and there were cars and people there! Upon continuing our investigation of this peculiar camping area we found out that there were cabins there and that the people were staying in those and not tents (thank heaven!). As we drove through La Grande, OR we got lost (only a little though), and on our exit we saw "the new outlet grocery store", or "Grocery Outlet", which apparently had it's grand opening that very same day. The sun was getting low and we were worried that we might not reach Wallowa Lake before sunset. Unanimously, we decided we needed to limit our stopping so often, in attempt to get pictures of the frozen river "flowing" through the snow covered mountains. When we arrived in Joseph, it was still light, and we were driven to see the lake before it was dark. A few miles later and we saw a glorious view of the lake... It was covered in ice! I had no idea that it would be frozen over like that! We hurried along, got to the campground entrance, and gazed astonishingly at the wonderful views, but not after stopping to figure out what had caused a blue mountain of ice that was still spurting water out the top! The lake was so serene, and the people we met there told us they lived about an hour away and visited Lake Wallowa often and liked it most in the winter because of the lack of crowds. They also said they had never seen the lake frozen like this before and they were surprised to see it so. We asked them to take a picture of us, which they were happy to do, and we thanked them for being so friendly, but it was getting cold for us and Cooper had turned into a snowball once again, so we decided to head back to Joseph. Once there we thought we should have dinner before our trip home. We looked around for some good food, and our decision was to eat at a place called "Outlaw Restaurant & Saloon" (unfortunately I did not get a picture of the place). It was decorated nicely for the upcoming holiday of Valentine's Day, and the people were friendly and attentive. Stephanie ordered their French dip, and I arrived at the choice of chicken strips. When the food arrived, it was HOT! My chicken was good, and I tried some of Stehp's French Dip. When I did this I found out that I had definitely ordered the lesser meal. I was glad to help her out when she could not finish her meal and must say that is the best French Dip I have ever eaten. Deciding the route to go home was the next step, I suggested that we go a different way than the one we came in on, Stephanie agreed, and we started back home. About an hour form Joseph we began climbing a pass through the Blue Mountains and we found out quickly why The man at the "Outlaw" was somewhat surprised to hear that we were going back to the Tri-Cities through Walla Walla. The pass was icy and snow covered the road. I was reduced to putting the truck in 4 wheel drive and doing about 35 mph! It was amazing that people (2 trucks) passed me and probably going 50! On ice! Coming off the pass we saw a lot of lights and I must say... I had no idea that Walla Walla was that big of a place. Old town was pretty neat though, and we can now say that we've been to Walla Walla. We arrived home late, and did little before going to bed... What an adventure! I might also make mention that we are now planning to go back to Lake Wallowa to honeymoon for our 1 year anniversary. We want to stay in one of the cabins there and since Labor day is right after our anniversary, we are planning on taking a long weekend to go explore that area some more. These are, however, just ideas, and we may not be able to fulfill them, but we are going to try!