Tuesday, September 9, 2008
. . . so, after being completely amazed at the wonder and beauty that the old scenic highway along the Columbia River had to offer, I continued my trek out to Mount Hood. It was an impressive sight, but if you have to choose between Rainier and Hood, my advice to to visit Rainier. Nevertheless, Mt. Hood is a sight to behold, especially in the manner that it dominates the fertile valleys below. The best part of this part of the trip was driving through the farming communities and stopping at the roadside stands that sell fresh produce. I purchased some fresh-picked raspberries and blueberries and was in heaven as I partook of their juicy sweetness while driving lackadaisically through the idyllic countryside.
Traveling further in the farming districts I ended up in Central Oregon where I viewed and photographed a number of covered bridges. It was a cool sight to see and there really weren't any other tourists driving about (at least not that I could detect. . . the reality is that there was no-one driving about, or so it seemed). As the evening shadows stretched themselves out upon the landscape and the sun dipped beneath the horizon, I concluded that I had ought to find a place to sleep for the night. The problem--I was in the middle of farmsteads--not exactly a place for tourists to stay. I finally drove passed an RV park and stopped by asking if they had any place for a tenter. It turned out that this RV park was run by the city and there was one small section for tenters. Needless to say, I was speaking with a city worker who told me all about it. He warned me that there was a homeless couple camped out in the tenting sites and mentioned that they would talk my ear off. His parting words were, "If you have any problems, call 911." He quickly recognized how poorly that sounded and I told him I was not worried.
So I ended up camping with this homeless couple, who actually proved to be really nice people. It was a husband and wife and the husband was quick to assure me that he had only been homeless for a couple of months and that he did not plan to stay homeless. It turns out that he has had a rough life. He served in Vietnam and shortly after his return, his wife committed suicide. He later remarried only to be divorced sometime later. He recently married his third wife (about a year ago), and shortly thereafter learned that his second wife had come down with cancer. He took at a load against his house in order to help his previous wife pay the medical bills and then he lost his job and naturally lost the home as a result of being unable to pay the bills. In the meantime, his second wife passed away. Regardless, they were a kind and upbeat couple and I enjoyed visiting with them.
The next morning I was heading back toward the Oregon coast where I drove from the central coast southward. . .