It wasn’t that I was dreading the drive through Eastern Oregon, although I wasn’t eager to leave the scenic Columbia River Gorge for the unknown. With two days to drive what amounted to a 5 hr 30 minute drive following a direct route, I had time to follow my impulses as I began to work my way back east. I chose the narrow roads, the winding roads through sparsely populated valleys, and the steep roads up mountains, hills, and hummocks (my poor car). What looked like grassy plains from afar, turned into a maze of grass-covered mountains which exposed the scouring effects of water, wind, and time upon the landscape. With very little tree cover, I myself felt exposes, there was no way to ignore the fatal drop-off not far enough from the edge of the road. The weather treated me kindly, or else my drive alongside the Snake River would have been a harrowing experience.

Part of what made this leg of the journey so spectacular was that I had no idea what to expect. Thinking of Oregon one expects lush green forests, a rocky coastline, mountains, and rivers – not so much grasslands stretching into the horizon and river valleys where you can count the trees. Should you ever drive through this part of the United States, I apologize in advance for spoiling the surprise. Still, there is much more to be seen, and I hope to make a return trip to explore more of the Snake River and visit Hells Canyon, tempted by the name alone. 

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