Day 17 Drive: Sisters, OR to Walla Walla, WA

Breakfast for the llamas

We thought we needed to bound out of bed and rack up some miles today, but we may have mistakenly read the time to our destination as the time to our lunch stop. At any rate, we were on the road before 0800 and we soon found we were running way ahead of schedule, (maybe it was the latte) so we made a detour.

We crossed the 45th parallel today – halfway between the equator and the north pole, the sign explained. This would be way cool if your were driving from say, the equator to, oh, I don’t know – Santa’s workshop or something. On the other hand, we also crossed the Columbia River, which marks the border of Oregon and Washington. There is a freeway running along the south side of the river, but we much prefer the Old Columbia Highway, which runs along the north side. Two lanes of fresh blacktop, and hardly any trucks. Hardly any traffic, actually – from 1100 to 1106 we saw just three vehicles. Then we passed a flock of motorcycles that messed up my statistics.

Barge on the Columbia River

Stopped for lunch at Columbia Crest Winery and ate at one of the picnic tables down by the pond. They have a nice patio, too, and we ate there last year, but the pond was closer to the car.

Since we had an hour or more in hand, we decided to detour to Prosser and drop in at Hogue Cellars. Then from there we ran up to Walla Walla to visit Ecole 41, Three Rivers and Cougar Crest. Then out to Abeja, where we are staying the night. Dingbat got confused because one of the intersections has been remodeled as a roundabout. Okay. Dingbat got lost, and I got confused. I need a GPS with up-to-the-minute information. I will pay money. Hello, Garmin, are you listening?

As we arrived in Walla Walla, it began to rain. 

Random complaint department. Dingbat has a long way to go on the pronunciation front. He called Albuquerque ‘Alberkirk’ He calls Oregon ‘Oh-regon’. He pronounces the J in Abeja, which should sound like abeyha. Oh, and he calls wineries, ‘winneries’. Plus he only attempts to pronounce the first twenty letters or so of any name, so if a place has a long name, like Crater Lake National Park Scenic Byway, he cuts it off. If he cuts it off at the capital S, he calls it Crater Lake National Park South, because that’s what S is usually short for, he’s been told. 

After we settled in at the Chicken Coop (not a joke, that’s what they call it) we wandered back down to the winery to ask about buying some Abeja. Mary, the innkeeper, called Ken, one of the winery partners, and he came down to do a tasting for us. He had answers to all of my wine questions. Did you know that you can have a ‘bottling truck’ come to your winery and: clean and sterilize the bottles, fill them with wine, cork them, encapsulate them and label them? 

It’s a pity about the rain, because the Chicken Coop has a little garden, complete with lavender and hummingbirds, and a little patio, too. After we had come back to our little cottage, Ken showed up with the heel of the bottle of Viognier we had been tasting. He wanted us to have it for after our dinner.

It’s quite a long drive from here to the nearest restaurant, and even further to the best one. I’m already tired, and wine with dinner would be a no go for driving back here. There is a full kitchen, and we toyed with the idea of making something like spaghetti, but neither of us felt much like cooking, so we just went out and picked up a pizza.


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