Umatilla, OR

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From Portland we followed the Columbia River east to the town of Umatilla, OR.  Our near term objective is to get to Glacier National Park in Montana and this moved us 200 miles in that direction.  If you haven’t been into the eastern part of Oregon and Washington, it is completely different than the green, wet and mountainous western portion.  This part reminds me very much of California’s central valley, very dry with some gently rolling hills and lots of agriculture.

Umatilla, OR

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Bothell, WA

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We stayed in Bothell for a few days before and after our cruise to Alaska at Lake Pleasant RV Park.  We chose this park because it offers “cruise parking”.  This is a separate part of the park that has side by side spaces where we could park our motorhome and CR-V while on the cruise.  In addition, it offers an electric plug in so that we could leave the refrigerator running and not have to empty it out for the cruise.  On our cruise departure day we will move from the RV site space to cruise parking and then summon Uber for a ride to the cruise terminal.

Chateau Ste. Michelle winery

Also, Bothell is close to where Valerie’s cousin Morgan, his wife Mel and their kids live.  We enjoyed a nice visit with them during the weekend prior to our cruise.  We had a nice lunch then went to Woodinville where we stopped in at a local rum distillery for a taste as well as the beautiful Chateau Ste. Michelle winery.

Next stop:  Alaska Cruise, Holland America Line

Napa, CA

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It became known as the “Judgement of Paris”, perhaps the most famous wine tasting in recent history.  In 1976, a British wine enthusiast named Steve Spurrier set up a competition between the best of California’s Chardonnay and Cabernet wines against wines from France’s Bordeaux and Burgundy.  California wines won in both categories as determined by the panel of 9 French judges.  Needless to say this rocked the wine world and put California’s Napa Valley winemakers on the world stage.

For our visit to Napa Valley we parked at the Skyline Wilderness park located on the south side of the town of Napa.  We did some wine tasting but mostly we visited some of the more interesting wineries, notable for their architecture or art or the view.  Among those we visited:  Beringer, Hall, Inglenook, Chimney Rock, Monticello, Andretti, Del Dotto, Darioush and Artesa.  We also poked around the towns of St. Helena, Yountville and of course, Napa.

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Asheville, NC

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Continuing our visit to the Blue Ridge Mountains we stopped in Asheville, NC, for 5 nights at the Bear Creek RV Park.  This time we did not travel on the Blue Ridge Parkway since there is a very steep ascent and descent just before reaching Asheville so we didn’t want to put this stress on our vehicle.

Biltmore Estate

I suppose a visit to Asheville wouldn’t be complete without going to see the Biltmore Estate.  This very large estate with a massive house, extensive gardens, parklands and a winery, was built by George Vanderbilt.  The Biltmore House was opened in 1895 after six years of construction.  It was during this same time that Cornelius Vanderbilt completed the family’s beach house in Newport, RI, which is know as “The Breakers”.  We toured that house back in August.  We particularly enjoyed the Biltmore gardens and the Conservatory with its extensive selection of orchids.  After we visited the winery and tasted some of the Biltmore wines we encountered a special event where they were presenting a variety of artisan foods to sample. Continue reading