Friday, March 4, 2011

Day 2 on the Road, or Stonehenge to Bethlehem

Today was a really long day of driving, but the scenery was so nice it just flew by! And to make things even better, Max & Leo seem to have adjusted to travelling and were good as can be! I think they miaowed maybe 10 times in 9 hours and no accidents! I know I'm using a lot of exclamation marks, but this is very good news!!!!

We were on the road by 7am, and charged along I-5 to the 205, then on to the I-84. The I-84 starts at Portland, and follows the Columbia river east across Oregon. .

The first section of the Columbia river gorge was beautiful and fascinating. You can tell that there had been a lot of geological processes at play to create such a complex landscape. It looked like driving past mossy castles. I vaguely remember bits and pieces from a Geology course in university, but not enough to quench my curiosity. I think I'll have to read up when I get home.
Wind farms were neat to see all along the gorge. I can't remember ever seeing one before, and they were much bigger than I expected. It was a good place for them too as it was quite windy! My first experience with wind shear, and good practise for the long prairie stretched ahead.
About 300 kms into my trip, I was presented with a unique side-trip that I couldn't pass up. At a place called Maryhill I crossed the Columbia back into Washington state, and drove 15 minutes up a narrow, windy road.

I parked, got out of the car, and strolled towards...

Stonehenge!!! What the hell? Yes, someone actually build a scale replica of Stonehenge in the freaking middle of nowhere, Maryhill (pop. 98... I'm not even kidding). I took the opportunity to stretch my legs, and take a few pictures.

Towards the end of my meanderings, I came across a plaque dedicating the monument to fallen soldiers. I don't quite get it, but what the heck. The tomb of the builder was also nearby (creepy!)

I decided since I was getting to stretch my legs, maybe the boys would like to as well! I took them out one at a time on leashes, and after about 3 minutes of wilderness (in the form of a grassy field and bird sounds) they both decided they'd had enough of the wild! They jumped back in the crate as quick as I could open the door! They are definitely house cats!

The last picture is of a cute little town called Arlington that I drove through, that for some reason has a giant rocket shaped glyph marked into the hills above town. With an eleven in it. What does it mean? I have no idea, but I did think it was interesting.

There was lots more driving today, but no more pictures as I was driving through the blue mountains. The roads were nice and dry, and the sun was shining (occasionally). There were long stretches of nothing but mountains and hills between one gas-station outposts. I stopped for lunch in Boardman (which my Mom has since told me is home to a bomb testing range) at a little First-Nations run cafe and had a great tuna sandwich. I've taken to planning my hotel stops at lunch time, so I looked at my maps and coordinated with my GPS, deciding I could make it to Baker City by 4pm (my nightly cut-off). There weren't any other towns to stop in for 50 miles before or 70 miles after, but since there were lots of hotels in town, I didn't think there would be a problem.

I was wrong. Apparently, Baker City hosts a huge regional basketball tournament this weekend and almost everyone was full! The Super 8 I'd planned to stay at had a room, but their "pet friendly" policy did not extend to cats, which was very frustrating after a long drive. After  half an hour of calling a dozen different places, I finally found somewhere with a room that would take all three of us, so no manger tonight. Though, a manger might be cleaner. Unfortunately, it's not the nicest of places. All I can say, is there is NO way I'm letting this comforter come anywhere near my face. Oh well, it seems safe, and it's just one sleepless night. Thank god there's a Starbucks in town.

Today's drive: 670kms in 9 hrs.
Starting point; Olympia, WA.
Terminus; Baker City, OR.



Jody said...

I am totally loving your adventures!

MandD said...

Attagirl! Any spiritual twinges from 'stonehenge'?

Eunice said...

I want to know more about the Stonehenge and the rocket symbol. Small towns USA.

You're a roving reporter.

Lori said...

I am enjoying your blog, Holly. Hey...we have the same cat! Max looks like our cat Cleo. Happy travels!

HollyMay said...

Ask and you shall receive!

As it turns out, the sign above Arlington is meant to be an 'A' (not a rocketship) and though it has a number 11 in it, it used to have a 9. It's possible they change it every year, but nobody seems to have seen an A-10. Apart from that, I found nothing! You'll have to use your imaginations!

As for Stonehenge, here is a transcription from the dedication plaque:

The structure before you is the first monument in our nation to military personnel who gave their lives in WW1. Memorializing(?) 13 young Kilckitat County men, it also serves as lasting reminder of the works of Samuel Hill, patron of this region. He established a townsite here, with postoffice, hotel, general store, nearly 10 miles of experimental paved roads, and the Maryhill Museum three miles to the west- all on his own land. His tomb is 50 yards distant, on the opposite side of this monument.
The design duplicates in size the original form England's famous Stonehenge (dated 1900-1350 BC) on salisbury Plain in Wiltshire. When Hill, a Quaker pacifist, visited England during the 1914-18 conflict, saw Stonehenge and was told it had been used for human sacrifices to the pagan gods he remarked: "After all our civilization, the flower of humanity still is being sacrificed to the god of war on fields of battle." From that inspirarion came this monument, built by Hill. On July 4, 1918 the altar stone was dedicated. The full structure was complemted and dedicated May 30, 1929.