Saturday, August 28, 2010

Blown through Oregon

Still a day behind, this post is about our Thursday drive through Oregon. We started out driving down the Pacific Coast of Oregon from Warrenton and talking about how far we could continue because we would love to see more of that coastline. Common sense prevailed by the time we got to Cannon Beach with the realization that it was time to turn eastward on Hwy 26, in the direction of home.
Part of that decision included delaying until our next Northwest trip the exploration of Portland. Often we stop at Wal-Mart knowing that the parking lot will be large enough to pull through. In Portland, we didn't even get out, just relaxed a while and enjoyed our lunch before moving on.

Leaving Portland we entered the Columbia River Gorge and were soon ogling incredible scenery along this massive river. Looking for a place to stop to clean windows for the "photographer", Rich turned off on the exit to the Bonneville Locks and Dam. The person at the entrance assured us that driving the RV to the Visitor Center would not be a problem...she was right...Rich was amazing. "We" drove over three narrow bridges, one is a swinging bridge, on railroad tracks that run along the front of the old power generating plant, and short spans of very narrow roadway! Here are some photos of that stop.


The power of the water coursing through that dam is overwhelming to contemplate. We were so glad that we stopped there. And, if Rich can drive the RV through there, he can drive it just about anywhere.

A mixed bag would best describe our impressions of the rest of our Thursday. Driving conditions all day along the 155 miles of Columbia River Gorge between Portland and Boardman were horrible: strong winds gusting up to 45 mph, dust clouding the views, hot temperatures, and driving one grade after the other. There were miles of absolutely nothing and miles of incredible beauty. We had planned to stay at the Wal-Mart in Pendleton but the winds were so strong that Rich decided to try to outdrive them, which is how we ended up parked between two semis in a gas station parking lot in Baker City, OR last night.

Here are a few of the many photos taken of the varied and often gorgeous terrain we viewed. Because of the dust, the colors and shapes are not as distinct as they would be on a better weather day. You can see the smoke of a forest fire in the second photo and a helicopter with water bucket that was fighting the fire in the third. No matter how far or where we drive, there are interesting and beautiful and unique sights to behold. As you scroll through this assortment, keep in mind that this enormous variety of terrain was all on I-84 from Bonneville Dam to Baker City in Oregon.

Mile after sleepy mile; they are great travelers!


We initially thought the winds were a weather pattern that we were just unlucky to experience. Today, however, reading a pamphlet I picked up at the Bonneville Dam, we learned that they are planting a virtual forest of wind turbines in the Gorge because "winds channeled through the Columbia River Gorge create one of the best wind resource areas in North America." Thus the title of this post because we truly were "blown" through Oregon!

Lovin' Life ~~ Even When It's Blowin'

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