Most of today was spent wrestling to keep Winnie on the road. The winds were blowing a gale from the time we got to the Columbia River, all the way up the Columbia River gorge on the Lewis and Clark Highway and then on I82. I posted a couple of pictures of flags along the way that give some idea of the velocity of the wind. I hope it slacks off tomorrow.
We were getting ready to leave this morning when Sue noticed a guy drive into the park ahd get waders and sampling gear out of his state owned car. He headed down to the fish weir that I posted a picture of yesterday. I decided to go down and get a few pictures of him working. Being an old fisheries biologist, my curiosity got the best of me and started to ask a few questions. They are doing a study to determine if hatchery reared salmon that are released into the creek interfere with native salmon and trout. I was surprised at how automated the profession has gotten. Each of the salmon juveniles are tagged with electronic tags and DNA samples are taken so they can determine where they came from and if they are wild or hatchery reared. They weigh and measure each fish using an electronic fish measuring board, electronic scale and tag reader all tied to a laptop. One person can now do the work of two people. The Oregon Dept. of Fisheries and Wildlife lost a grant that paid for an assistant so they automated to eliminate the need for the second person.
We wound up leaving about and hour and a half later than I had planned, but it was worth the delay to get to talk to the state fisheries biologist. We took US 197 north to The Dalles, OR. The ride through this part of the state is spectacular. I posted another collage of “windshield shots” of the scenery of this part of the trip. The Dalles is on the Columbia River and the name means rapids in voyageur French which was used by the French-Canadian employees of the North West Company. Before the river was damed, there was a rapids in the area of The Dalles that was treacherous enough that the voyageur’s traveling the river need to portage around the rapids. It was Cherry Blossom Festival this week end, but the town didn’t look that crowded. The area is surrounded by cherry orchards. Google apparently has a major data center in the city because of the abundant cooling water and relatively inexpensive electricity generated by hydro power.
One piece of trivia about The Dalles is that in 1924, Bobbie the Wonder Dog stopped there briefly while on his 2,600 mile journey home by foot from Indiana to Silverton, OR. Emaciated and tired, he was aided by members of the community before moving westward through the Columbia Gorge. For those of you who don’t know who Bobby the Wonder Dog was (I didn’t), he was a two-year old Scotch Collie/English Shepherd mix—who became separated from his owners and lost while on a family road trip to Indiana. After an exhaustive search the broken-hearted family returned to their home in Oregon never expecting to see their beloved dog again. Six months later, Bobbie appeared on their doorstep mangy and scrawny with feet worn to the bone; he showed all the signs of having walked the entire way back alone. After his return to Silverton, he rose to fame and was the subject of newspaper articles including Ripley's Believe It or Not!, books and a film, The Call of the West. He played himself in the movie. Now you know the story of Bobby the Wonder Dog.
I full of trivia although some may say I full of something else with how long some of these missives get, but one more about The Dalles. In 1984, the city was the scene of a bioterrorist incident launched by members of the Rajneesh Movement in an attempt to gain control of the local government of Wasco County by making the voters sick. Salmonella placed in ten restaurants resulted in 751 cases of Salmonellosis. It was the first known bioterrorism attack of the 20th century in the United States. The Rajneeshi’s should have waited a few years to try to take over the local government because most politicians these days make voters sick.
After taking a bunch of pictures around the bridge to Washington and The Dalles Lock and Dam, we crossed the Columbia River to enter Washington. Tonight we can add the state to our map of the US as the 46th state we’ve visited and slept in Winnie. Connecticut and Rhode Island are the only two we need to sleep in to complete the lower 48. Visiting the lower 48 by RV over the last 5 years pales in comparison to the trek of Steve Fugate. Since 1999 when his son committed suicide and a few years after his daughter, who suffered from MS, succumbed to an accidental drug overdose, he has walked over 34,000 miles. Fugate has successfully crossed the continental United States seven times to raise awareness about depression and suicide. He is today’s real life Forest Gump. The 67-year-old’s message is simple, and it’s scrawled across a sign he always carries with him: LOVE LIFE. We passed Steve today on the Lewis and Clark Highway about 50 miles west of where we are staying tonight. I wish I had know his story when we went by so we could have stopped and helped him out with some food or money. God bless you Steve and may your travels be safe. He has a web site LOVE LIFE Walk
and a Facebook page (www.facebook.com/LoveLifeWalk
) if you’d like to know more.
Instead of traveling I84 on the Oregon side of the river, we chose to use the Lewis and Clark Highway, WA 14, on the Washington side. It’s mostly two-lane and much more scenic. There was also a Roadside Attraction on this route, Sam Hill’s Stonehenge at Maryhill. It’s replica of Stonehenge. It was commissioned in the early 20th century by Sam Hill, a local businessman and dedicated on July 4, 1918 as a memorial to those that died in World War I. The memorial was completed in 1929. It’s made of concrete. The altar stone is placed to be aligned with sunrise on the Summer Solstice. We didn’t get much time at Stonehenge or the nearby monument to those residents of Klickitat County who have died in war after WWI because a huge rain squall came up the river valley just as I got out of Winnie. I got trapped in Stonehenge for about 10 minutes until the rain slacked enough to run back.
We pulled into the Pasco/Tri-Cities KOA for the night. Tomorrow it’s Spokane.