K’den, gangeez. Dis is it. Da last post of Da Mystery Road Trip Revealed. I feel kinda bittersweet about it, mostly because this advencha has been going on for a really long time, and our trip was so wonderful that I’ve been reliving it over and over as I’ve been writing. But there are other advenchas to follow, so that’s a good thing.
The railroad trestle over the Columbia River came into view as we traveled makai.
And now we’re less than a hundred miles from Portland, about an hour and a half away.
Here’s a close-up of the trestle. It woulda be fun to see that middle part go down to let a train cross.
And there it is! “Our” mountain! Wy’east. Mount Hood. The Cascade Mountain Range is right ahead of us.
Here’s a little history lesson about the lovely mountain.
The Multnomah name for Mount Hood is Wy’east. In one version of the legend the two sons of the Great Spirit Sahale fell in love with the beautiful maiden Loowit who could not decide which to choose. The two braves, Wy’east and Klickitat, burned forests and villages in their battle over her. Sahale became enraged and smote the three lovers. Seeing what he had done he erected three mountain peaks to mark where each fell. He made beautiful Mount St. Helens for Loowit, proud and erect Mount Hood for Wy’east, and the somber Mount Adams for the mourning Klickitat.
There are other versions of the legend. In another telling Wy’east (Hood) battles Pahto (Adams) for the fair La-wa-la-clough (St. Helens). Or again Wy’east, the chief of the Multnomah tribe, competed with the chief of the Klickitat tribe. Their great anger led to their transformation into volcanoes. Their battle is said to have destroyed the Bridge of the Gods and thus created the great Cascades Rapids of the Columbia River.
On sunny days here we say “the mountain is out”, days when its majestic shape towers over the landscape. Days like that I get to see it no matter where I’m driving. On da Mystery Road Trip, it felt like a welcoming sentinel to us road-weary travelers.
We passed The Dalles Dam, which only gives a tiny indication of the power of the Columbia River before it was dammed up.
Just a small amount of water was being let through.
There’s the bridge which crosses over the river from The Dalles to Highway 14 in Washington. Highway 14 is a neat drive if you want to take the scenic route. There are lots and lots of tunnels through the rocks.
This would be another neat advencha someday. The exhibits look absolutely fascinating. There’s an Ice Age exhibit, a Lewis and Clark cargo exhibit, and all kinds of interesting stuff there. Maybe we’ll go this summer.
Notice the still-brown hills. That’s about to change.
Last time we took photos of an overpass, it had horses galloping over. Now there’s salmon!
It really looks like they’re jumping up over rapids, doesn’t it! ‘Way cool.
We begin to trees in the formerly treeless hills.
Quick shot of a train that suddenly appeared. Nolemana was pretty good at it now.
The trees on the Washington side of the river have turned golden since we left.
Whoot! A sailboat! Just as good as a train. Really.
Why sailboats? Well, since small kid time, like when I was maybe two or three years old, my papa-san used to take my braddah and me down to the yacht club in Honolulu (when it wasn’t anything like it is today) when he worked on sailboats. I have photos of the three of us together. As we got older, Dad would take us sailing with him all around Diamond Head. Sometimes it was just Dad and me together, and those are some of the happiest days of my whole life.
Of course, the water was much warmer in Hawaiʻi. We just wore swimsuits, and sometimes Dad would let us jump into the warm Pacific Ocean and swim next to the boat.
So that’s why I love sailboats and sailing. I wish I could’ve had more time doing that with my dad. But that’s a story for another day.
This is one of my favorite photos of the whole trip. Unless you’ve seen it in person, it’s really hard to imagine how magnificent the Columbia River Gorge is.
Remember how I said the topography would change once we crossed to the makai side of the Cascades? Well, this is what I meant. Try look the difference!
Lush, forested hills were everywhere, and in the setting sun had an incredible glow about them.
I really miss kuʻu one hānau, the sands of my birth. There are times when the homesickness is a physical ache inside my body. Yet I love the Pacific Northwest, and the green forests are one of the reasons why I do.
The exit for Bonneville Dam is coming up, which means we’re coming into the town of Cascade Locks. Nolemana and his dad went there once to see all the fish ladders.
Try look! Is this nani or what?
The sun was beginning to go behind the hills, and we doubted that we’d be home by dark.
The exit for Multnomah Falls is just ahead. We have seen the falls in all seasons of the year, and no matter when we go, they’re always beautiful.
By now, we’re about thirty minutes from home. We didn’t even stop to eat dinner anywhere.
There’s Vista House! I worked as a volunteer there for many years, and plan on doing it again in a few years.
I loved working there. I got to meet people from all over the world and learned so much from them. I met my friend Renee from back home there for the first time…people thought we were nuts with all the hugs and excited talk that was going on.
Sunset in the Gorge. This was taken from the viewpoint alongside the river.
The sun has now set, and we’re leaving the Scenic Gorge area and are moving away from the river. We’re now coming into the Troutdale area.
This is a neat park next to the Sandy River.
Our exit. From here we’re about twenty minutes from home and heading south.
Just a half mile from our hale, our neighbors were baling hay in the dusk.
Gotta get the hay in before the rains come. It’s October, and there could be rain anytime. Farmers have to work really long days, and this was one of them. I waved as we drove by.
Lights on the tractor helped them see what they were doing.
And less than a minute later, we were home, turning onto our gravel road. I had wai maka yet again, and said a big mahalo nui to ke Akua for giving us a safe trip all the miles that we’d traveled.
And there was Ricky, yawning at us as we drove up our road.
And how many miles did we travel? This many! Kinda like 2001, A Montana Odyssey, yeah?
Pau. Da Mystery Road Trip is pau. It took eight days, but the memories will last a lifetime.
There were oh so many highlights of this trip. Crossing the Idaho State Line into Montana for the first time. Seeing the vastness of the Montana sky. Visiting with Patti at Sweet Grass Wool. Getting to experience a surprise snowstorm. And oh my gosh, Yellowstone National Park! Bison! Old Faithful! Getting to see B and G after so many years, and meeting Clare dem in person for the first time. Talk about really wonderful times!
But best of all was getting to see my ʻohana, my family, after too many years apart. The last time I’d seen my cousin, he was a boy of ten or so, and now he is a man grown, with a wonderful wife and talented daughter. And my auntie, I hadn’t talked to her in years and years. ʻOhana. It is one of the most beautiful words in the Hawaiian language.
Since my mom died, I had been longing for more ʻohana connections. I had been feeling a tremendous lack in my life even though I’m in regular contact with my siblings. I wanted more. I wanted to know more ʻohana stories from long ago, and that I got from Auntie, whose memory was still pretty sharp. I learned all kinds of family stories, and as I said in a much earlier post, if you can get drunk on ʻohana stories, then I was wasted. We all got along so great, and a big, lonely puka in my heart was getting filled up.
Awesome, yeah? And even more awesome than hearing the stories and getting reacquainted with Auntie and Cousins is that the connection is still there. I talk to Auntie by phone and write her letters, and Cousins and I email frequently. It is a heart connection unlike anything I’ve known before. Some deep place in me feels so much more at peace now, knowing that our connection will continue and that I now have someone with whom to try and figure out our sometimes wacky ʻohana.
And that was the pinnacle of the trip for me. ʻOhana. Even now, sitting here at my computer with the breeze blowing the firs outside, and the sun trying to decide whether or not to stay out, I have wai maka because I feel so blessed to have my long-lost ʻohana in my life.
And guess what? We went back to Montana again last year and enjoyed the incredible hospitality of my ʻohana. But that’s a story for another time, too.
Mahalo nui loa to all of you who have had the patience to be our sidekicks on one of the most amazing journeys of my life. Mahalo to Cousins and Auntie who welcomed us into your lives and homes, and mahalo ke Akua for blessing in ways that we never could have imagined. I left Damascus for Montana filled with excitement about a road trip, and came home with a calabash filled with the gift of ʻohana.
Da Mystery Road Trip Revealed. Pau.