We were up early on Sunday morning, facing a 324-mile trip to Pendleton, Oregon. It was raining pretty hard, and we were glad to be underway in hopes of driving out of it on our way north and east.
Twelve miles outside of Tillamook, I leaned over to pick up something I had dropped on the floor, and realized that Kota was not in her customary spot under the jackknife sofa. I looked on the bed and saw Colt and Rue comfortably settled for the ride…but no Kota! We had driven off without her!
All sorts of terrible thoughts went through our minds and time seemed to stand still as John frantically searched for a place to turn around. What if she had tried to follow us and had been hit by a car on the busy highway? What if she had gone looking for us in the parking lot of the enormous Fred Meyer store next door? What if….What if….? Fortunately, it was Sunday morning and traffic was light. A suitable parking lot appeared on our left, and we swung around and headed back to Tillamook, praying as we went that she was safe and that we would be able to find her.
Fifteen or so agonizing minutes later, we pulled back into the Ashley Inn RV area, and there was our Kota, sniffing about in the rain, apparently unaware that she had been abandoned. We had an emotional and soggy reunion there in the parking lot, thanked God for keeping her safe, toweled her off and were on our way again.
We had looked forward to our drive through the Columbia River Gorge, but unfortunately most of the beautiful views were obscured by clouds and rain.
But, that will give us a good excuse to come back another time.
We made good time, considering the delay and the weather, and pulled into Wild Horse Casino RV Park outside Pendleton at 3:30. It’s a lovely park. Our site had a nice, grassy lawn, and an adjacent area that was perfect for throwing balls. All around were beautiful views of the rolling hills of northeastern Oregon.
Another long day on Monday brought us to Three Mile Island Crossing State Park in Glenn’s Ferry, Idaho. The high desert vegetation of the park was broken by a row of beautiful red maples.
We loved this park. The sites are enormous, with lots of green grass courtesy of plentiful water from the nearby Snake River.
The dogs had plenty of room to roam the river banks, and only Colt made the mistake of trying to go for a swim. The Snake is cold, deep, and there are hardly any shallow areas along the banks. He got a thorough dunking and scrambled out as quickly as he went in.
The park also has an excellent visitor center with information about the Oregon Trail, which crossed the river almost directly across from the park. You could spend an entire day just exploring the exhibits.
We picked up a map of the route the Oregon Trail took and set out to explore the historical sites nearby. The state park takes its name from the crossing that utilized these three islands in the deep and treacherous Snake. This was one of only a few places where the river was shallow enough to cross. A few years later, a man named Glenn set up a ferry to bring travelers across the river, and the town is named for him.
We also found another site where the ruts are even more evident. This grassy hillside shows where the wagons struggled up the hill. There is a small, white stake that marks the path.
We were glad we chose to spend an extra day in this lovely spot.
Wednesday’s travel was mostly boring…..and then we were in Salt Lake City at the local KOA. We don’t often seek out KOA campgrounds, but this one was in the right place at the right time. And, it backed up to a river with a lovely walking trail alongside. Much fun for the dogs and a chance for John and me to stretch our legs.
We left Salt Lake City the morning of the 13th. It seemed to take hours to get out of the city; smog obscured the surrounding mountains, and it was 10:30 before we saw grass beside the road instead of parking lots and houses. There were some pretty scenes along the way. We could tell we were getting closer to the canyon lands we had come to see. John has been doing most of the driving, but I took a turn on our way south.