It’s been a long time packing, traveling, unpacking. Only the traveling was fun, and not all of it. We spent 49 hours moving, according to the GPS. One of those days was driving through Yellowstone and another morning through Columbia Gorge on the way to Portland OR.
This trip we did some of the lesser traveled thermal areas, Biscuit Basin and West Thumb Basin. Of course we paid our respects to Old Faithful, and luckily we were told it was due to erupt in 10 minutes, and not again for another 90. We headed to a spot that was rather empty before realizing it was empty because the wind was blowing directly at us. So when Old Faithful performed, we got quite the shower. It was impressive as always.
One thing about doing Yellowstone in early spring is that it is still cold, so there is more visible steam from the thermal areas. There is also more snow on some of the roads and paths. None of the side roads were open so we missed some of the scenic byways, but what we saw was grand. And the roads that were open had drifts at the sides over 6 feet high still.
In fact, there was still snow on some of the boardwalks. This is the most that I got into, but then I followed only the easy pathways. The boardwalks are important because in the thermal areas, the crust isn’t always strong enough to hold people up. Even animals sometimes crash into the hot springs. Their instincts for danger must not be strong enough. This path had about 12 inches cleared for walking on, but it was impossible for me to get to the observation area. Other more agile folk just climbed up over the snow, making a rather icy path . A BBC series on Yellowstone conveyed how very intense winter there is. And this was spring.
It was a very good day in a very intriguing place.
The 12 and 14 hour driving days were less interesting, but necessary to get across country in time to meet my furniture. On the last day, we were earlier than I could get into my new apartment so we took our time on the Columbia Gorge Drive. There was a 14 mile stretch of old route 30 that we took, and we stopped at two water falls and one observation point. There were more falls where we could have stopped, but though we had extra time we didn’t have that much.
The observatory is a nice art deco structure from around the 20s And the views from it are spectacular. It was mostly cloudy so visibility was not 100% but we could see quite a bit. And lucky for us, the rain stopped when we were out of the car. It was mostly mist when we were driving, so it could have been worse. In fact in spite of the reputation for rain in Portland, I have seen sun and blue sky on every rainy day so far, and three days of blue sky and sunshine in my two weeks here. It was a wonderful entrance to Portland–a little like Lake Shore Drive is a wonderful entrance to Chicago.
It was a refreshing pause between packing and unpacking. The unpacking is nearly finished. I have found a knit group that meets weekly on Mondays that I have attended.From these women I am getting the knit scene and also just some general information about Portland. And online I find at least one quilt guild, a very large one. I will soon explore quilt shops and get the full scoop on what is happening in that realm. I have found a bank and a library and soon will change my auto license and do the drivers’ written test–and hope they choose to waive the driving test. I’ve always had a yen to live in the west, to be near mountains and the ocean, things Indiana could not offer. So I am looking forward to this phase of my life.