Freaky Family Fun, Day One

My dear sweet niece, Nora, has named our cross-country adventure Freaky Family Fun.  She is 13 and so, so sweet.  She isn’t freaky at all.  She has her 13-year-old moments, mind you, but she still has that innocence of childhood along with some of the wit and knowledge of a burgeoning young adult.

Nora, A Self Portrait, 2012.

Day One – Traveled 1,795 miles by air with two stops over 6 hours and 20 minutes.  Traveled another 428 miles by car arriving at our destination for the evening, Kellogg, Idaho.  It was a long day.  A very long day.

My sister and her two teenagers overlooking the Columbia River in Washington.

We left the Portland, Oregon, airport and crossed the Columbia River into the State of Washington.  The Lewis and Clark Expedition traveled down the Columbia River to their final destination in what is now Astoria, Oregon, before returning to their starting point in St. Louis, Missouri.

If you ever get a chance to travel in this part of the country, I would highly recommend taking the scenic routes along the Columbia River – either Route 14 on the Washington state side or US 30 on the Oregon side rather than the major Interstate 84.

On the Oregon side, you will encounter the scenic vistas of the Columbia River gorge from atop the bluffs as well as some of the most amazing waterfalls along some of the lower elevations.  We did that on our trip in 1997, and the kids still talk about it.  We saw so many waterfalls that it almost became ho-hum, but one is more spectacular than the next.

On the Washington side, you will travel along a 2-lane highway bordered by vineyards and orchards and eventually cattle ranches as you end up in the arid dessert of eastern Washington.  The transition from the towering pine trees in thickly forested western Washington to the barren expanse of eastern Washington is stunning.

There are many places to stop along the Columbia River including the points of interest of the Lewis and Clark Expedition as well as several dams that include the fish ladders used by the salmon to travel to their spawning grounds and back.

Some of the vineyards and orchards along the Columbia River valley scenic drive from the Washington state side.  The other side is Oregon.

Sam Hill’s Stonehenge Replica in Maryhill, Washington.

We also took time out to visit some fun and quirky tourist attractions.  Our source was

Another perspective of the Sam Hill’s Stonehenge site.

Sam Hill was a businessman and pacifist who built the Stonehenge replica monument as a memorial to fallen WWI soldiers from Klickitat County, Washington.  Did you know that there are more than a dozen Stonehenge replica sites in the U.S. alone?

Note:  This is not the same Sam Hill from whom we get the expression, “What in Sam Hill?”  That is from a Sam Hill from Prescott, Arizona.

Welcome to Kellogg, Idaho – our first overnight stop.

The ski lift outside the hotel where we stayed.

We intended to stay the night in Spokane, Washington; however, the world’s largest basketball tournament was underway, and there were no rooms to be found within a 50 mile radius of the city.  That’s part of having an adventure – you must be able to be flexible and improvise.  So, we headed into Idaho, where the scenery once again changed into the lush pine forests of the Rocky Mountains.

We were able to secure a room for the night in Kellogg, Idaho, thanks to the efforts of DSH.  Turns out cell service was so spotty that we had to improvise.  While DSH found us a place to stay, after a very long day, we oohed and aahed at the beautiful Idaho countryside.

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