Last week we drove from Missoula, Montana to Bandon, Oregon. We thought the smoke from forest fires was bad in Missoula, but it was claustrophobic in Idaho. We were engulfed in smoke, and drove through a town that was evacuated hours after we’d been there.
Washington wasn’t much better—and it was hotter! The temperature rose to 104F one day, but it didn’t stop us from checking out the Stonehenge WWI memorial (who knew!) along the way. We couldn’t pull ourselves away. Well worth a stop, if you are ever nearby.
We were overheated, though, and exhausted. We started to look for a place to camp, and in desperation pulled off the road where a sign pointed to a dreaded RV park. A rather long, curvy, dirt road took us into territory that was dry and desolate—not at all appealing for camping—and then suddenly we found ourselves in a lush peach orchard. An oasis! The peach trees were a sight for sore eyes. The temperature hadn’t fallen much, but the psychological relief of green foliage felt like a dip in a cool pool.
Just around the corner was the Peach Beach RV park, and it was lovely. Our spot was at the edge of the Columbia River. Just before we went to sleep we saw a double barge being pushed down river by a tug, all lit up. The setting sun, red from the fires, reflected it’s rosy glow on the water. Trains on the other side of the river rumbled by all night long, but it sounded like a lullaby to me.
The next morning we found the Gunkel Orchards fruit stand. I’m surprised we left there with only one flat of August Lady peaches. The peaches were huge, which sometimes is a sign that the fruit will be flavorless and mealy. Not the case here. Every peach was juicy, and bursting with flavor. Honestly, peaches are best eaten with your sleeves rolled way up, so that the juices cascade down your chin and then drip off your elbows. Second best, for pure peach flavor, is peach sorbet. Tastes just like a peach, but smooth, cold, and creamy. So creamy it tastes like ice cream–only better!