Day 10: Newberg, OR to Prosser, WA

This is not a long drive but you do have to go into Portland on Interstate 5 soon after you set out, then leave on Interstate 84. After that it settles down, and at the first opportunity, we got off the interstate and crossed the Columbia River to drive on the Old Columbia Highway. I love this highway; it rolls up and down the hills with fabulous views of the river and the barges. This time around, we were able to cross the river on a bridge (as opposed to a dam) and see more of the old highway than on other trips. Traffic is light and it’s very peaceful. I was glad of this today, as I had a grinding headache all morning. I must have slept wrong or chilled my neck last night. We stopped for a picnic lunch at Columbia Crest Winery at noon, and from there it’s just half an hour to Prosser. Prosser is a funny place, they’ve been growing grapes here for ages, without fanfare, but all of a sudden they’re trying to cash in on it, and wineries and tasting rooms are springing up in bunches – whole developments of them, with “Phase II” coming soon. The rest of the town looks like a giant truckstop: cardlock stations, fastfood franchises, chain hotels. My favourite thing about this place is that back before the wineries exploded, we were once asked ‘did you come here on purpose?’ There is one old restaurant that goes back to the days of five cent Coca-Colas. The Barn is still pretty humble, but it has a little wine list now that features local producers. We plan to eat there tonight.

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