Portland and the Columbia River Gorge: 7/22-7/25/18

This is it! The last sightseeing stop on the great west coast odyssey. Did you ever get to the end of a 10 day vacation where you’re out doing something everyday and think you need to take a break from vacationing? Try 122 days, about 4,000 miles driving a behemoth, and another 5,000 touristing. What? OK, I checked. More like 7,000 on the Jeep and, no, the odometer is disengaged when towing, all driving.

We’re now in Portland Fairview RV Park. The RV park is one of those Thousand Trails “Collection” parks with a $20 surcharge. The location is pretty good on the east side of Portland, just a few miles from the scenic byway through the Columbia River Gorge. Nice park, well maintained. Sites in the upper section, which is where they apparently put the transients like us, are not very big. We fit, just barely. All concrete pads with a separate pad for your toad – that would be towed (vehicle). Mowed, green grass between sites, each with its own small street lamp with your site number on it. The lower area – it is pretty steep going down to the trash dump, just as nice, seems to have more of the long-term campers. It is one of the best parks we’ve stayed at during the journey. We didn’t spend much time there. We’re tourists!

Monday morning and we were out on a waterfall tour along the river, following the Historic Columbia River Highway. First stop, Portland Women’s Forum State Scenic Viewpoint. Really? An overlook that needs six words? Come on, man, or women! This is looking east.

You see that house on the cliff to the right? That’s the next stop, Crown Point State Scenic Corridor. What? Only five words? Well, it had better views. In truth, those long names are what you find on Google maps. They are a little shorter in reality. This view is looking back to the west (the east view wasn’t much different than the first pic if you crop out the cliff).

Luna was just loving yet another tourist ride:

NOT!

How about a little history about the making of the gorge?

Millions of years in the making. Any lunes out there doubt that? More on that in the next post.

Then it was on to Latourell Falls, and Multnomah Falls, and Bridal Veil Falls, and this falls and that falls:

Actually, those are shots from Latourell Falls, the skinny waterfall, and the others from the bridge across Multnomah Falls. Here’s one more from Latourell.

Some people just like to get wet.

This is from Bridal Veil Falls. I thought it was cool enough for its own place here.

Unfortunately, the Historic Columbia River Highway is undergoing major restoration from Bridal Veil Falls east to its termination in Dodson. We missed a couple of falls. To get to Multnomah Falls, the big one, you have to get on the interstate going west for one exit and turn around eastbound.

So, onto Multnomah Falls. It is right on Interstate 84. It has its own exit! And restaurant, and gift shop, and parking lot big enough for busses! Arrgh! Another billion people! The shots in the collage are from a bridge across the lower part, so you’re not seeing it all. If you must see it, you’ll understand why I wanted to leave this photo out, even though it shows its enormous beauty. Wonder if I could clean it up using one of those apps to remove photobombers.

Don’t you just want to be Alec Guinness in ‘Bridge Over The River Kwai’ and hit the plunger (he fell on it, last breath, “What have I done”) on the detonator and blow those waving fuckers off? (Where does this rage come from?)

There are at least three falls you can see from I-84. Pretty cool but kind of a road hazard as well. Then we went out to the fish hatchery at Bonneville Dam. Kind of cool and they allow dogs. But, by this time, the falls had exhausted my phone’s battery. I also discovered that the two port USB car charger was only working in one port. Not only that, though my phone indicated it was working, in fact it was draining my battery with Andrea’s plugged in the other port. When you can look at the percentage remaining go down with it plugged in, you know something’s wrong. Switching ports proved the theory. Science at work. (I just got a notification from Amazon that the 40 watt, dual 3.0 port sucker was delivered). That problem has bugged me for months. But I tangenticize…

Anyway, the fish were cool to look at. It would have been cooler to drop in a line in the pond of giant rainbow trout. They also have a large, below pool level window where you can see Herman the Sturgeon, a ten foot monster. Great place for kids and dogs. And Big Foot:

Funny, as I was sitting outside the gift shop with Luna, this very attractive, young woman and her daughter sat down across from us. She kept looking over and I thought, “I still have it!”. Andrea came out of the shop with a bag full of kids booty and then the woman approached. She said, “May I take your husband for a night?” Wait! I’m told that’s not what she said. Oh hell, I can dream. She said her mother has a dog that looks just like Luna and could she take a few pictures? I suppose if she approached me alone, I would have thought that to be a great pickup line. You hear that, you young singles? If you don’t have a pet as part of your repertoire, your mother or grandmother might, and might want a picture of one like hers. But be prepared to buy one for her if the line works!

The next day we attempted to find a stream to go rockhounding. We ended up near Mt Hood.

We found a stream under a bridge:

Luna and I had the shit scared out of us every time a car passed overhead. Andrea had fun,

but didn’t find much of anything.

On the drive out, we had to stop to take a look at this and wonder what it was doing there, right in the middle of the deep forest, with no one around:

So I looked it up. Columbia Helicopters started out as one guy, Wes Lematta, in 1957, and one helicopter doing odd jobs. The fleet grew and in 1971, they were the first in “heli-logging”. Now they have dozens of copters here and in New Zealand. They advertise themselves as leaders in heavy lifting but do all kinds of things. The one you see above, N191CH, a Boeing 107-II, has been in the movies. Have you seen ‘King Kong Lives’? Yes, the helicopter hauling away Kong was the one above. Kind of fun to find out stuff like that when you dig. Some of their others have also starred in ‘Runaway Train’, ‘Under Siege’, ‘Demolition Man’, ‘The Lost World: Jurassic Park’, and ‘X2: X-Men United’. So how about that?

While I’m out on that tangent, let’s branch off again. You ever wonder what those numbers on the side of flying machines mean? Like N191CH? They are the radio call numbers/letters. And did you ever notice that the numbers on all US airlines, that is, all aircraft registered in the US, start with N? It was agreed upon in 1919 in an international meeting of aviation folks that the US would use N for aviation radio call signs. We also were awarded the arbitrary W and K for radio/broadcast stations. Why N? The Navy had adopted it as a standard on ships in 1909, so why not aircraft? At international airports you might see plane numbers starting with C-Canada, G-Great Britain, F-France, Germany – sorry, you lost the first war so you can go with D for Deutschland, or those late to the show, J2-Djibouti. The rest of the numbers are up to the airlines, or private plane manufacturers. Southwest has some numbers to honor people, mostly employees. One for a non-employee is N289CT, for Charles Taylor, mechanic for the Wright Brothers. And N191CH? Well, don’t know about the 191 but, CH is clearly for Columbia Helicopters.

Did we have fun out there? If you have interest in such aviation information, these links are interesting:

https://www.faa.gov/licenses_certificates/aircraft_certification/aircraft_registry/aircraft_nnumber_history/

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_aircraft_registration_prefixes

https://crankyflier.com/2014/10/16/everything-youve-ever-wanted-to-know-about-us-airline-tail-numbers-part-1/

Remember when you used to get stoned and go out on those tangents, and one story would lead to another and then…what was I talking about? Oh, you still do. Come on back.

We’re back leaving Mt Hood. As we left the forest road and got back on US 22 west to Portland, I was reminded of the good old days:

I preferred EZ-Wider (after blowing my monthly GI-bill educational check on a big brick), or perhaps an Esmeralda (remember the dragon on the package?) for a party (sometimes of two). But Zig-Zag would do in a moment of personal introspection with headphones on, examining passages from ‘I and Thou’ or ‘Us and Them’, or perhaps contemplating eternity, the weird scenes inside the goldmine of your mind, the shredding of ego – or was it the shredding of my eardrums during ‘Dazed and Confused’?

Returning to the present, and Portland, the great west coast odyssey comes to an end.

We saw a bunch of mountains along the way:

And met some new friends:

Now we have about twelve hundred miles to go to get back to Colorado to see the kids.

Some notes from above ground and pics from the road to follow.

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