Monday, December 21, 2009

Day 1 – Saturday – one week before wedding

DH worked an overtime shift the night before, so he slept in and we did not leave the house as early as we had originally scheduled. I had booked a room for us in Utah, but it was going to take over 12 hours to get there, and so since we left late we called to tell the hotel we would get there after midnight. At that time, we had forgotten to account for the change in time zones, so did not realize it would be even later than we guessed.

Our route was to take us through northeastern Oregon, into Idaho and then to Utah. As we drove through Oregon, we had the pleasure of traveling through the Columbia Gorge, one of the most beautiful places in the whole world, in my opinion. When we compare this place to the mountain house, it just doesn't compare in its beauty, even though the view at the mountain house is quite beautiful in its own right. Still, this experience was very eye-opening for us, especially since we had just recently discussed the idea of purchasing real estate and how we would know what was the right piece of property for us...”you just know”. It was as we were driving through the Gorge that we knew. This was why we moved to Oregon, not the mountain house in the middle of nowhere. So, decision made, we talked about the problems we would face to get real estate near the Gorge. First, the area includes a combination of State and National properties, so real estate available to the public is not plentiful, and nonexistent in the most beautiful areas. Second, the limited supply makes the price higher. Third, the area is something of a commute from Portland, and definitely not a reasonable commute to Salem, so this necessitates a change in DH's job location or job schedule. But at this point, we are still of the belief that “where there's a will, there's a way”, and so plan to keep an eye out for real estate in a year or so. We still have over a year left to go on our current lease, so that's a good enough excuse to keep us out of the market for a while. In the meantime, we will visit and stay in the area every other month or so, to get to know it better.

The most populated area of the Gorge is the Hood River Valley. The views are not quite as spectacular as in the heart of the Gorge, but it's a nice town and close enough that you could get to the Gorge quite easily. Beyond Hood River, the Gorge starts to turn into desert, and is obviously open to development as the view is pretty much very dull. The next major city is called The Dalles, and it's really ugly. So now we know that the furthest we could move is Hood River. The Columbia Gorge is so called because the Columbia River cuts through it. One side is Oregon and the other, Washington. We think real estate may be cheaper on the Washington side, so we'll be looking into that. Lots of research to do, lots to think about.

As Oregon became desert, it got really ugly and flat and brown and boring. We hoped that Idaho would bring a change, but no. We were driving through southern Idaho, and I guess the most beautiful part is in the north. Southern Idaho is brown and flat, potato farms and cattle ranches that stink to high heaven. The state itself seems to stink, for miles and miles. In the middle of nowhere is a military base of some kind. We stopped to get gas and nearly choked on the cattle fumes. I felt sorry for the military personnel who have to live there.

After about 12 hours of driving, we decided that we were not going to make it to Utah that night. We stopped in Twin Falls and forfeited our room in Utah.

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