Last week, I waddled into the Valley of Sloth. Oh, yes, there was Zumba and quilting and dance, but mostly I sat in the living room watching junk TV (Martha Stewart, Gilmore Girls, and even, god help me, an episode of The Waltons). I appliquéd kitties onto white squares. Then came Steve’s three-day weekend, and he roused me off my seat with promise of the drive to Stonehenge which has been at the top of my list of Things-To-Do-Near-Richland.
We drove a block down our street and turned onto Leslie. Another mile or so brought us to the entrance to Route 82 where we immediately entered the Land of No Development. Forty-five minutes later we turned onto Route 14 where we had dwindled to toys in a model train display. Occasionally, dots of black cattle populated the hillsides as did small vineyards. On our left, the Columbia River (NOT an insignificant river; oh, my, goodness!) flowed, three or four football fields wide, little whitecaps bobbing in the current. Across the river, an endless windmill farm showed tri-tentacled aliens waving to the sky for help in freeing them from the Earth. The set was completed when a train steamed along the ridge above us.
An hour and a half later, we turned off at the crossroad to Maryhill onto Stonehenge Drive. If you’re as hungry as we were, you pass the site and head into Maryhill proper. Oops, Maryhill was that cluster of RV homes. We continued down the lane and crossed the bridge into the little town of Biggs. Biggs, what a wonderful sight! It has two (2!) motels, an empty mini mart/deli with a “closed” sign on the door, a Subway shop and -- oh, joy! -- one of those gas station/store/McDonalds combinations.
If you travel as much as we do, you learn to love McDonalds where there are always clean restrooms and a reliable menu. A few chicken nuggets (and a mini-Little Pony for the Perfect Granddaughter) later, we drove back to the sign for an open air fruit market which marks the Stonehenge site.
This time we wandered through the stones which seem smaller than I imagine the real Stonehenge to be, but the information booth swears it is made to size. While there is nothing, and I mean NOTHING, here, a steady trickle of tourists arrives and leaves the site. Through a lintel to the west, Mount Hood rises from the clouds.
Perhaps at the original Stonehenge, there is a vibe, a magical aura, a shimmer in time. Here there is just a feeling of what in the Sam Hill?