To the Columbia River… WA/OR

Thursday, August 2nd, 2007

I get apprehensive lately when I am settled in an area I have so well connected with, and then just plain and simple, leave. At the same time, it is pure adrenaline rush to set eyes on new territory. The Olympic Peninsula, well, I did connect with it and will be back… This time of the year the weather has been awesome… where else do you still need your electric riding jacket plugged in by sunset? The day before we left, as I hope you can see in the picture, part of the water turned a turquoise blue.

So I had to investigate… I had to know why… and no one knew! Even the locals had never seen this. Finally after a couple phone calls to more residents, the answer was… much rain a while back, the water from the flowing rivers, algae growth… so… I still don’t know, but worth the sight.

Packed it all up!… and hit the road to start south, which will eventually take us somewhere cozy and not too cold for the winter months. Enumclaw was a quick stop, all the mail had finally come in, including the motorcycle’s registration… legal and up to date again! Highway 5 all the way to the Columbia River.

Funny how things work… or are. We have been here a bit more than 24hrs, did put on a few miles up and down both sides of the river, it is a beautiful area but I just don’t find the serenity and peace of the Peninsula… and it is much more crowded! It reminds me of the Grand Canyon crowd with the rented RV’s, the families carrying the brand new cameras, the teenagers following and a bit bored since their batteries just died in their hand held X-Games.

And of course that is okay… I am glad that we are not missing all this, the waterfalls alone are worth the price of admission. From Portland one can be on the Washington side, Highway 14 or the Oregon side, Highway 84, which also splits for a short time, Highway 30 on which the waterfalls are and the Cascade Locks, Damn and Hatchery, almost forgot, all in one.

So the first stop was the Corps of Engineer complex. They have done a fine job with a 5 story building. Everything here is related, producing electricity, the juvenile fish coming up the stream and the locks for the naval traffic. The Damn was originally build in 1933 and only took 3000 men 3 years to finish it, much needed for the area following the depression era.

But the Damn right now is not producing anything, being under renovation. This is one of the new turbines, placed vertically, the water with a 90 feet drop makes them turn and eventually create the electricity send as far as Montana and Southern California. Down below is the drive shaft waiting to be assembled… for some reason it made me think of my motorcycle… I had just broke its shaft before we left… this one would have done fine!… nice unit as they say.

Yes… I took the tour! Can you tell al the knowledge that has sank in! Spirit was waiting outside, it was early, the sun not too hot yet… an empty parking lot. He is there in the chair, I assure you that he is sleeping.

The lower level had some windows where one can watch the fish, steelheads, sturgeons… try to swim back up stream through a system of ladders. This is the surface of the ladders, but the fish goes through some openings made for them underneath the water, avoiding the flying birds ready for their hunt. Clever…

Actually, near these waters where the fish will try to jump out of the water, a couple employees where shooting blanks to scare the birds off… That was their job.. Shooting blanks all day… just so you can have a nice piece of grilled salmon tomorrow! Amazing some of those job descriptions!


Done with that… on to the Hatchery… I wanted to see the 450lb Sturgeon. I did, looked like a very old fish to me… now the other one looked good! It was a real nice place, well taken care off with green grass and flowers blooming everywhere. Very nice that we went…

We saw the waterfalls… the wind surfers… 14 to Hood River… 84 back to the Locks where we are camping and, I am forgetting a lot today… this is Lewis and Clark country. They were here, and you will be reminded of it many times. What I am trying to understand is how did they make it on both sides of the river?

But, that is all for next time… Bandwidth… Bandwidth… and of course your own attention span! Right? Be well…

Ara & Spirit


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Ara Gureghian 853 Vanderbilt Beach Rd #245 Naples Fl 34108


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