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A Million Little Pieces Of My Mind

Columbia River Gorges

By: Paul S. Cilwa Viewed: 4/15/2024
Page Views: 1045
Topics: #ColumbiaRiverGorge #Oregon #MultnomahFalls #WahkeenaFalls #OneontaFalls
Photos and text describing our 2001 trip to the Columbia River Gorge.

As it turns out, this vacation almost never happened: It wasn't planned, and it (mostly) wasn't paid for. But, it happened anyway.

In 2000, I was bumped off an overbooked Delta flight and received $450 "Delta Dollars", good for flights on Delta but not for anything else, and good only for a year from date of issue. That year ended March 12, 2001, as I realized a few days before then while preparing for a business trip. But, no matter; I would trade it in when a got back a few days before the Delta dollars expired.

Wrong! My return flight was delayed, and I got back to Phoenix a day too late! However, fortunately, the very nice woman at the Delta counter allowed me to use the Delta dollars—but I had to do so, then! Quick, where could Michael and I both go for $450?

Our options were (obviously) limited, but we decided, at the ticket counter, to visit the Pacific Northwest. Michael had nieces and nephews living in Oregon; I had dear friends in Washington State and Vancouver, and neither of us had seen the Olympic National Park and wanted to. So, the tickets were bought and the trip "planned", if you can call it that, for the following week, when I had no classes scheduled.

No Packing Allowed

Michael and I were about to receive my Mom for her yearly visit, and my son was still living with us while he attended art school. So, running out of space, we had decided to get a storage unit, move the stuff in the garage into it, and move our offices into the garage. Since the garage isn't air conditioned (and temperatures here in the Phoenix area can reach 115°F in the summer!), this was not an ideal situation but it seemed to be the only choice. However, the night before we left on our trip, we received a call from our landlady: Would we be interested in moving into a larger house she had? So, instead of packing, we went to look at it (and accepted). So, now, we had to halt the garage move (already in progress), and leave instructions to my son to start moving into the new house. In addition, Michael's sister, Surya, had en emergency need for us to bring her some office equipment from the East Valley (a two hour drive), I had some changes I'd promised to make to the church web site, and Michael had work to do for the church's Public Relations Committee, of which he is chairperson, and for our men's group's annual business meeting.

So, we never went to bed. John drove us to the airport at 6:30 AM, and I dozed on the plane. (Michael hasn't flown enough to be able to do that, yet.) By noon, we were in Seattle.

We rented a car there for the drive. I had made reservations for a modest one, but found out when we arrived that the only car on Alamo's lot with a CD player (can't drive without one of those, can we?) was a sleek, black, Toyota Celica. So, that's what we got!

Nieces and Nephews

We were scheduled to spend our first night with Michael's nephew, Donald, and his fiancé, Aimee, and her two kids. We were supposed to spend the second night with Michael's niece, Liz, and her husband Steve, and their baby. Both live in Portland, OR. However, for reasons of logistics, we wound up staying with Donald both nights. That first night, Liz and Steve, and another of Michael's nieces, Michelle, with her husband, Ismael, and all their kids, came to Donald's to visit.

The next night, we had dinner with yet another nephew of Michael's Gerry, and his lovely wife, Sue. They have a spectacular home in an upscale neighborhood, perfectly appointed; and we had a lovely dinner. Unfortunately, no photos were taken as we inadvertently left Devala's digital camera behind.

The Columbia River Gorge

The beautiful Columbia River, which separates Washington and Oregon, has cut a deep gorge in the Cascade mountains, which we visited the next day. Donald drove Michael and I out there, while Liz and Logan, and Michelle, Ismael, Michael, and Addie, drove separately in Ismael and Michelle's van. We agreed to meet at Multnomah Falls, one of the more spectacular of the side gorges that feed the Columbia.

Side Gorges

Along the way, one encounters many side cascades, each one a breathtaking waterfall in its own right, pouring into the Columbia River.

Wahkeena Falls

Multnomah Falls

Oneonta Falls