Sunday, March 14, 2010

Fancy is Free - Super Honeymoon

During our road trip honeymoon, we earned a couple of free hotel stays with loyalty points. Originally, we had planned to use those points on the honeymoon itself, but everywhere we drove through was relatively cheap, so we decided to save the points for use later on a trip to Seattle or something.

Then our loyalty program told us that they were changing the terms and if we wanted to use our points under the old terms, we needed to do it soon. We did like the old terms better, so that is how we got the nice suite in Portland recently, for free. And this past weekend we went to Washington and stayed in a "luxury cabin", again for free.

The cabin was in the Columbia Gorge, which I've previously posted is simply one of the most beautiful places in the whole world and one of our favorite places to go. One side of the gorge is Oregon and the other side is Washington. We had never crossed the bridge to the Washington side before. The Oregon side is spectacular, and from the river, the Washington side looks kind of dull. So we were pleasantly surprised to see that it was very beautiful, though very different from the Oregon side. The Oregon side is so awesome that it is Federal and State property or under Federal or State protection, depending on where you are. The Washington side is more public, dotted with little towns that our guidebook described as "miniscule" and "podunk". They are indeed, and probably 95% of the dwellings qualify as my definition of a "shack" (occasionally I would further describe as "unabomber shack"), but in a way they are better off than most because they get to live in the Columbia Gorge.

While touring around the riverside we saw a bald eagle. I recognized him from all the emblems you see in D.C. We had heard in advance that it is bald eagle hatching season right now, so otherwise we might not have had our eyes open for them. It was pretty amazing. A bald eagle hunting in the Columbia River. How much more American is that?

We stayed at a B&B in a private cabin that was absolutely gorgeous inside and out. Gave us lots of ideas for how we'd love for our own home to be. It made for a very relaxing weekend, which DH needed since he has had a bad week.

All the money we saved on lodging, we ended up spending on dinners. We dined on Northwest cuisine (salmon) in both Washington and Oregon. In Oregon we ate at a restaurant that was riverside and we got there before the sun went down and had a table next to the window.

On the way home, we drove over Mount Hood. The roads were plowed and it was not raining or snowing at the time, so it wasn't slushy and wet. Perfect photo-taking opportunities to show the zillions of huge pine trees covered in snow. Looked like a shot from a December calendar. There wasn't a good place to pull over on the main highway, but DH took some photos out the window.

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