New Year’s Day
New Year’s Day started with a headache and slight nausea. OK, quite a bit of nausea. I’d have been fine if I’d just stuck to the moonshine but there was also some Tequila in there two, plus a considerable quantity of beer. Still, despite my poorlyness we had another hearty breakfast courtesy of the lovely Miraya.
We’d decided that we were going to visit one of the local discount retail outlets in order to grab some sale bargains, so off we went once we’d filled up on coffee. The weather wasn’t quite as nice but at least it wasn’t raining. We drove down the Columbia River Gorge Scenic Highway, a quite spectacular drive. The Columbia River Gorge is part of the USA’s first protected natural areas and is quite stunning. The river itself is gorgeous and is lined with some spectacular scenery.
One of the most impressive waterfalls along the way is Multnomah Falls – the second highest year-round waterfall in the USA. It’s nothing like the incredible Niagara Falls – it’s much more narrow – but its setting is quite beautiful.
It was definitely a “black and white day” photographically. The falls are set in series of inset cliffs and there’s not much light in there, especially on a grey day. I did the best I could with the conditions and I quite like the black and white conversion I did on the shot above. I tried to get some shots closer in but the falls produce and awful lot of misty drizzle and my lens got soaked.
The Falls are very obvious from the road and you really must stop and wander over to have a closer look if you’re driving past. The views are entirely free!
Once I’d done my best to ruin my most expensive lens (don’t worry – it was fine) we headed off to do some shopping. I’m not going to expound on that – shopping is boring!
We returned in the early evening as we were going to head out for a meal with our hosts and their parents. We visited the Riverside Grill, the excellent restaurant in the Hood River Inn. The meal was just fantastic! I’d never had Lobster Bisque before so I decided to try that for my entree, and it was utterly delicious. My main course was seared halibut with some quite lovely lobster pancakes. I could barely fit it all in, but I gave it my best shot. The prices were also very affordable and as the food as much, much better than your average American Diner I would definitely recommend this place. I should think and evening meal by the riverside would be something special in the summer, though the decision to stay indoors in December was easily made.
During the meal Steve’s father, the wonderfully eccentric Bob, told us that when the New Year rolled in he’d gone outside with one of his guns (a pistol of some description apparently) and fired off a clip. Crikey! If you do that in the UK you’ll have a prompt visit from the Old Bill. It’s difficult for us Brits to really appreciate the total difference in cultures between our nations sometimes.
Once the meal was done we headed back up the mountain again – our last night in the wonderful winterland. I really did not want to leave and hope to visit again sooner rather than later.