Galley Wench Tales

Exploring the world through the people we meet
and the food they eat.

Columbia Gorge, New Year’s Eve day, taken with my phonecam
 from our car whizzing along I-84, just west of The Dalles.
Our plans were among the many foiled by the weather on Christmas weekend, 2022. In our neck of the woods, Interstate 84 closed for 60 miles that weekend, from Hood River to Troutdale. Even semi-truck drivers fled the freeway, dodging jackknifed rigs. Across the river on the Washington side, the twisty but nonetheless normally open highway 14 closed, too.

Home, a few days before Christmas (and more snow and ice).

What a difference a week makes!

The Granada Theater, The Dalles Oregon, pilfered from The Granada’s Facebook page.
The Granada gets bigger draws, too, like Billy Bob Thorton, who comes to jam there with his band.

We’d planned to join the family in the Portland, Oregon area, but we were stuck, ice-bound in town. With studded snow tires, we could get around town. Plan B was an old-timey Christmas movie at the old-timey little gem of a theater in town, The Granada.

Lesser-known 1947 Christmas classic, “The Bishop’s Wife.”

Instead of my usual degenerative “Bad Santa” we stuck to something sweeter. The next night we did movie night and munchies with friends in town and watched “Scrooged,” a more PG new holiday classic.

Downtown Tigard, just outside  Copper Mountain Ale Works 

New Year’s eve weekend dawned with a clear blue sky in The Dalles. Warm weather de-iced the freeways from our home to the Portland area, so we did a double with our family, celebrating Christmas and the New Year too with good cheer and a nice meal at the local pub, courtesy of Wayne’s folks.

Sweet VRBO spot on Lovejoy in Portland, Oregon.
While Portland is day-trippable from The Dalles, sometimes it’s nice to spend more time there than driving there and back. Fortunately, our friends were able to host us at their place, which made for a more relaxing trip. 
Ahhh. VRBO, Portland, Oregon.
Of course, no New Year’s is complete without cooking and sharing savory, smoky bowls of Hoppin’ John, a good luck tradition (recipe and history links in last year’s holiday post).
Hoppin’ John over rice, topped with scallions. Yum!

I brought some Hoppin’ John along for friends, family, and us and doled it out to neighbors and our house-sitter, too. Cranberry gingerbread, however, was the new and universal culinary fave this year, which disappeared before photos could be taken—all three times I’ve made them since Thanksgiving!

Oak leaves on the Eagle Creek Caves trail, The Dalles Oregon.
Less vibrant than fall, but still colorful.
Along the drive to Portland and back, Multnomah Falls and a series of seasonal waterfalls were going great guns. We weren’t the only ones interested in checking out the easily accessible Multnomah Falls when the Columbia Highway was open on a rare beauty of a weekend day in January. We took a bye over a long car queue.
Eagle Creek Caves trail, The Dales, Oregon.
Back in The Dalles, my newfound Charlottle was game for a New Year’s hike. The palette here is subtler most days from late fall until spring blossoms, but the beauty is there for an appreciative eye, focused more on line and texture than color.
Me, on Eagle Creek Caves trail, photo courtesy of Charlotte.
Come springtime, the area will nearly burst with colorful wildflowers. For winter, however, gloves, YakTrax in my pocket, just in case, and a hiking pole were useful precautionary gear. Mud was more of an issue than ice today. 

Location Location:
The Dalles, Oregon—now home—is a little over an hour’s drive east of Portland Oregon. We still don’t own a boat, though I anticipate acquiring (or at least renting or borrowing) another kayak when the weather warms.
Shiva, our bright-eyed furball. Best present ever, the gift that keeps giving.
While last year brought with it the stability of a place to call home near friends and family, with a couple of final family goodbyes, the year was bittersweet, too. We are grateful to friends and family, old and new.

In less than. a week I shift from an intensive full-time job to another intensive part-time job.  My goal is to use the extra time to return to writing and other creative and active endeavors. The job ends in June, and I’m looking forward to taking the summer off. Beyond that is a mystery.

Wishing you a most excellent 2023!

What are your plans?