Sunday, September 16, 2012

More Wineries

I woke up this morning to a beautiful sunrise over the vineyards, the orchards and the Columbia River.  I could really get use to views like this after a day of wine (just like in BC).  The sunrise had some haze from the fires in Idaho,  and the sun was a bright orange glow as it came up in the morning.

Maryhill did not open for tasting till 10, so I just stayed in the parking lot till they opened enjoying the views.  I went back to do a proper, unrushed tasting this time, and enjoyed a number of their wines.  I purchased their Barbera which is an incredible wine (it’s sister grape is sangiovese).  Their white and red blends are very nice (got a bottle of each) and I picked up one of their ports.   Jess was very helpful  and told me a number of places and wineries to stop for the day. I’m going to have to be careful,  or my truck is going to be loaded down with wine before I even get to California...

The first place I stopped for a hike was “Horsethief Butte, and Lake”   This was a nice hike in desert like terrain up to the top of the butte.  (There even was signs to watch out for rattlesnakes... but didn’t see any).  View from bottom and top are attached(the one from the top,  look for my camper, real tiny in the distance).  It mentioned there were pictographs,  but I searched and could not find any (fun looking for them anyway!)

Then it was on towards the wineries south of Hood River, OR.   I stopped and enjoyed wines at Wy’East (the patio picture is from here), Mt Hood Winery and The Gorge White house (including Viento).  All had good wines.  It was also Pear festival time,  and the fresh, ripe pears were incredible, they just melted in your mouth.  It was too bad for all the fires in Idaho.  Even though it was a clear day,  I could not see Mount Hood,  and I should have had incredible views at each of these wineries.  

Ainsworth State park was the campsite for the night.   At Ainsworth State park, I experienced something at this park that I have not done the entire trip,  not even once since the start of trip back in May.  I actually hooked up to the utilities!  There was only one price for the campsites and it included electric, water and dump facilities at the campsite… So I thought why not?   I am actually proud of the fact that I have not had to (or wanted to…)hook utilities up.  (It’s kind hard to do when your camped in a parking lot).  I have a solar panel that charges the battery,  and this has been plenty of power for what I need at night (lights, charge/run computer, charge phone, fans, heater fan, etc.).  I have propane for the refrigerator, hot water heater, heater, and grill.   I carry my own 35 gallons of water; and have grey and black tanks for storage.  I can actually stay off grid for about a week without having to get water (or dump tanks).  It was really weird to have unlimited utilities again!  The first thing I did was turn on all the lights,  just to see what it was like…way too bright!  And really didn’t need them.  Then I thought about what need charged,  so I plugged in the toothbrush, razor, phone, computer,  and changed the fridge over to electric (why burn propane if I don’t have too!)   I really could not think of anything else.  I could have even plugged in a hair dryer or curling iron (but don’t have those…).  I could have also run the air conditioner (but didn’t need that either and haven’t the whole trip,  part of the point of getting out of Texas summers….)  I had unlimited water and sewage,  but the only difference there is that I took longer and used more water to do the dishes, and in the morning I took a very long shower  (I didn’t have to worry about draining my water tank,  or filling up the grey tank).    It was kind of nice, but also kind of wasteful,  and not something I really missed or needed.  Who knows when/if I will hook up utilities again… 

On to the waterfalls along the Columbia River Gorge tomorrow…

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