We drove out to the lake cabin in Northern Idaho again this year for our birthday week. Friends, family, boats, laughing, swimming, drinking…what could be better? Nothing. That’s what.
A few favorite moments from the drive up and our first night at the cabin:
- Driving east from Portland, the views down the Columbia River Gorge were stunning. The hills plunge straight into the river, and it takes my breath away every time I see it. At over point, when we were talking about how beautiful it all was, Charlie broke out into song: “Roll on, Columbia, roll on!” Toph and I joined in. “Roll on, Columbia, roll on! Your power is turning our darkness to dawn! So, roll on, Columbia, roll on!” It’s basically a propaganda song for the Bonneville power company that we all learned as children in the Northwest. It cracked us up that that’s what they were teaching us, but hey, I guess it stuck.
- Outside Umatilla, we passed what longtime readers of my blog know is one of my favorite signs: BLOWING DUST AREA NEXT 40 MILES. I always chuckle because I’ve never seen blowing dust here, but also, so what? What am I supposed to do if that happens? I’ve never been clear on that. Today, though, there were little dust cyclones in the fields all over the place. It looked like some weird dystopian desert landscape in a movie.
- The fields of corn on the northern Oregon border were lined with these strange newfangled curvy irrigation wheels, which looked like dinosaur skeletons when the sun hit them just right. It was awesome and a little creepy, especially combined with the dust cyclones.
- Another great sign we passed just over the Washington border: LITTER AND IT WILL HURT. Whoa. I mean, litter is a real problem, but evidently the state has never heard that old adage about getting more flies with honey than all caps threats on the side of the road.
- After the Cascade Mountains, Oregon becomes a desert, and so does Washington. And then, as you make your way north into Idaho, the flat, brown land begins to be dotted with pine trees again. Charlie said this is her favorite part of the drive, just as the trees trickle back into the landscape. She said, “It feels like I was in one of those covered wagons for six years and we finally made it. Like, I’d say, “I can almost smell water, Pa.” She delivered that last line so wistfully, I laughed for a solid minute.
- When we got to the lake, we hung out a while waiting for friends to arrive. Even though the sun was mostly gone when they got here, we hiked down to the dock to jump into the lake for a quick, cool swim. On the way down, we found an apple tree and picked a bunch for pie tomorrow, swimming over to retrieve the ones we accidentally shook off the branches into the lake.
If today was any indication, this is going to be a great week.