Be advised; this will be a very long entry.

Here’s my weekend, in chronological order, with quite a few ‘visual aids’ to help out. As usual, you can click on the pictures to enlarge them.

I left Portland and turned off at the Historic Columbia River Highway. It’s in the process of being restored and gradually reopened bit by bit, so I always like to see what’s been done since the last time I’ve been through.

This cleared-out tunnel made me very happy.

I’m a big fan of abandoned places, and this road has been a fascination of mine ever since I was a little kid. I’m also fascinated by Sam Hill, who is a very influential and interesting person in his own right, and who is tangentially related to the construction of this road. More on him later.

So I continued along the old road, to the eastern section that I rarely get to, and I was rewarded with a clear day and a stunning view.

Then, on the other side of the summit, a view of the road looping back onto itself, in a similar way to that of Crown Point.

From there, I crossed over to the Washington side of the river, and stopped in for a rest on the lawn at the Maryhill Museum. Remember Sam Hill, who I mentioned earlier? He’s the turn-of-the-century multi-millionaire who built this huge ‘castle’ for his wife Mary, along with the recreation of Stonehenge, and the entire little town of Maryhill.

This place is remote now, but a hundred years ago, it was almost unthinkably remote. Sam’s wife Mary was a Seattle socialite, and she was less than thrilled with the idea of living out in this desert wasteland, so she hardly spent any time there before saying, “Thanks, hon, but let’s go back to Seattle now.” Construction of the mansion was completed after Sam’s death, and it was turned into an art museum soon after. Today it boasts one of the largest collections of Rodin sculptures in the world.

And while we’re on the subject of Maryhill Museum, I should mention the peacocks, because there are tons of them living all around the grounds, and they’re an integral part of any visit, as far as I’m concerned.

I’d never seen an albino peacock before. Its tail was particularly amazing; I couldn’t get enough of it. I was hoping it would display for me, but none of them did. They’re all completely unfazed by people walking, picnicking and driving amongst them, and the alpha male went so far as to challenge my car. He walked straight over to it while I was photographing the albino one, and made it clear who was boss, in no uncertain terms. He strutted clear around the back of it, along the passenger side, and then stopped at the front to stare down my unsuspecting Honda.

It was at this point that I started to wonder just what was going to happen next. This little tough guy could quite easily have climbed or jumped onto the hood, and I wasn’t too excited about that prospect. I also knew better than to physically mess with him (there are signs everywhere warning against doing that), but luckily he just circled around until he found what he determined to be its weak spot; just behind the door on the driver’s side quarter panel. He stalked over and started doing this display with his neck, trying to pick a fight, and then began to peck the side of the car repeatedly. He didn’t seem to be doing any damage, so I knelt down and took a bunch of pictures, trying to capture one of those moments. I was able to get close, but capturing a split-second peck is nearly impossible to do, so here’s the best one.

This picture wasn’t touched up with Photoshop or anything. His coloring is really that vivid and beautiful. I decided that I’d had enough of his pecking, so I walked around behind him and opened the door. He was so intent on winning the battle that he didn’t even notice me walking or opening the door (I even leaned out and took a few more pictures of him through the open window), and he watched in triumph as I drove away.

Next picture stop was just outside of Goldendale, Washington, at this abandoned house, with Mount Adams in the background. This view is different every day, and is also especially beautiful when the fog has rolled in. I was glad to have the view of the mountain, though.

Finally rolled in to Yakima in the mid-afternoon, to go to the rehearsal for Chris and Nicole’s wedding. I was the best man, and I also brought my accordion, in order to provide music for the ceremony, which was simple, but very touching and nice. One of my music teachers from high school was there – an amazing surprise – and it was great to see him. Here are some of the pics from the rehearsal night and from the actual wedding the next day.

You can take the girl out of the 80’s, but apparently you can’t take the 80’s out of the girl.

The reception finished about 7:30 or 8:00, and then I drove home for a bit, before DrummerAdam (who lives in Yakima) called to invite me to the SportsCenter to watch my drummer friend Ty play in a cover band. I hadn’t seen Ty since I moved to Portland, so he was completely blown away to see me there on his turf. Very nice. Got home around one in the morning.

Next morning, my mom’s friend came by to join us for lunch, and during that conversation I was reminded of lots of the things that have always driven me crazy about Yakima, and how empty life can be there. I also kept thinking how much more I enjoy life now, in a way I never did back then. Friends are much better, music is much better, dating is much better, natural surroundings are much better. . .in fact, the only thing I can think of that’s better in Yakima is the Mexican food. There’s some good stuff to be had here in Portland, but you can get the real thing in Yakima.

After lunch, I headed out to meet my college friend GuitaristAl at one of said excellent Mexican restaurants. Since I had eaten at my mom’s house, I stuck to chips and salsa (which were fan-friggin’-tastic, by the way) and talked while Al ate his taco salad. So much fun to see him again. He’s really a great guy.

I drove home to Portland via another scenic route, this time over the switchbacks and hills of Highway 142 – it narrows to one lane for a few miles, with a sheer drop of hundreds of feet on one side – and down along the Klickitat River, to the point where it meets up with the Columbia and I turned back downriver toward home. I stopped to take a picture of one of my favorite spots along the way, which is Cape Horn, Washington, where the road clings precariously to the edge of the high cliff wall. Here’s the view.

This view never gets boring. Not even a little bit.

Finally arrived in Portland at 8:30 p.m., unpacked my clothes and climbed right into bed, where I slept for the next ten hours.

Great weekend. Great times. Great friends. Great memories. I can’t believe it was all compressed into three days.