So often in my travels I marvel at the variety of landscapes across our country. Lush green fields, tropical palms, the vastness of the farm and ranch lands, the grandeur of the larger mountains and the graceful rhythm of rolling hills, it’s all beautiful. Today’s road trip however pointed out how quickly the landscape can change. The snow we traversed in Paradise while we visited Mount Rainier quickly turned into a rich yellow ochre and raw sienna colored series of hills, dotted with sage brush and other plants that fight for survival against the heat and dryness of the land east of the Cascade range. The temperature soared as we headed to the Yakima Valley and the Columbia River areas. A completely different landscape and temperature just down the road from Mt. Rainier National Park. Again, I was struck by a beauty that was unique to this area, and so different to the other side of the mountains.
Besides stopping for breaks and picture taking along the way we were headed for The Lyle Hotel, in Lyle, Washington. That would be our launching point for the next day of touring along the Columbia River on the Oregon side. The little hotel was wonderful! I highly recommend it. It’s near the Columbia River and the food is outstanding. When we arrived we were greeted by Marianne, the owner and inn keeper. She was just a delightful person and we were all chatting as she showed us our rooms. Come to find out, Marianne was also from New Jersey. As so often happens with New Jersey refugees, the conversation turned to all things New Jersey. That in turn led to Pork Roll. Yes, for those of you who have never had occasion to have pork roll, it’s a local food, something like sausage and ham combined, it’s not really easy to describe. It’s served for breakfast cooked up like you would Canadian bacon. Mustard on it works best for me although, now that I live in New Hampshire it’s been a long time since I’ve had any.
Morning came with much calmer skies. When we arrived in Lyle, the wind was really blowing. That’s pretty much the norm for the area which is why this area of the Columbia River is a mecca for wind surfers. Going over to the Oregon side gave me another state to add to my list of places to paint Main Streets. We traveled along the Scenic Highway section of Route 30 seeing beautiful vistas and waterfalls. Having seen the snow at the higher elevations it was clear where the water was coming from. I always love seeing things that were once upon a time Geography lessons and only understood from looking in a book. The geology of this place was also amazing. It was a full day of picture taking and I’m anxious to get back to my studio to start painting from them.
With just a few more days to go, the coast was next on the checklist of places to see.