Monday, June 1, 2009

Feeling kinda like Meriweather and William

Sajacawea looking over the Columbia River, which is the border between Washington and Oregon, about 50 miles east of Portland. Just on the other side of that tree line is a road which is a possible bike route. The other route involves this side of river and being on Interstate 84 for awhile. Will make that decision in a few days.

Have been wanting to take a pic of Sassy smelling the roses along the way but have not seen a single rose since we left, so these super large rhodadendruns had to do. Initially I called them azaleas but was quickly corrected by the ever knowing naturalist I am traveling with. The original Sajacawea would be proud.

Here I am drawing inspiration at the long fish ladders at Bonneville dam. It is amazing how hard all those fish work to make it upstream--they swim their tails off(so to speak). I have had some concerns about some of the monster hills along bike route but now I am pumped thanks to what I have seen here.

Another type of sign that is rare in Ohio.

Well, we are feeling a little (very little) like Lewis and Clark when they finally got to present day Astoria which is where the Columbia River meets the Pacific Ocean. It has been a 3400 mile journey through a wide variety of wonderful country.
Astoria is a beautiful place but more importantly the setting for one of the greatest movies ever made--GOONIES!!!
Yes, this is where that exciting treasure hunt took place and I boy am I excited about being here and walking on the exact same ground all those wonderful characters walked--including my all time favorite "Sloth" played by NFL great John Matuzak. It just does not get any better for me , it is almost as neat as visiting Lawrence Welk's birthplace in N.Dakota. This has been an awesome trip already.
I recommend going to a library near you (like Versailles) and check out a copy of GOONIES!!! You will not be disapointed.

The only bummer in Astoria was that I could not find anyone who had a clue about GOONIES !!!. After stopping some folks walking on sidewalk and talking to the patrons at an outdoor bar it was evident that all these people must have just moved to Astoria from a far away foreign country. I still have hopes of catching a glimpse of a GOONIES!!! character walking the street--maybe on Tuesday.

Dropped the bike off in Astoria for repairs which should be done on Tuesday. In the mean time we are driving to Seattle to visit a Tigereye customer and see some sites. The Pacific rain forest and some lava beds are on the agenda. Monica flies back to Wed. morning. BTW-there are very cheap flights from Dayton to Portland--about $100 one way--if anyone has the urge.

Saw lots of stuff on the way to Astoria. We toured the Bonneville Dam (across the Columbia) and its huge fish ladder and fish hatchery. The place is spectacular and there were a lot of other folks checking it out. There is so much to see and about every 30 seconds you would hear some say "DAM!!" when they spotted something cool. Everyone within earshot would kinda chuckle--Miss Sassy was a real leader in this department--a laugh a minute.

One of the most different jobs I have ever heard of is that of "fish counter". For an 8 hour shift (24/7) a person sits in front of a below ground window where all the fish swim by that have just made it up the fish ladder. There is a computer type key pad that the counter taps on constantly recording the number and type of fish swimming by. Although over 40 varieties might swim by they only count the big 5 (salmon-steelhead etc ). During a rush there may be 2-3000 fish swim by an hour. The counters really have to know their fish and have quick fingers. They must really like their job because it is like sitting in front of a very large black/white TV screen which keeps showing the same rather blurry commercial over and over.

There were some awesome pictures of giant fish that have been caught at the dam. One was a 10' 6" long sturgeon 50 years old and weighing 860 pounds. Another was a 450 pounder at 35 years of age. Apparently these fish get bigger as they age which made me think that if I were a sturgeon at my age I would be close to 1000 pounds and quite the catch.
When Russ and I biked the Mississippi we always heard stories about 1000 pound catfish but could never see a picture--now I am thinking those story tellers may have actually been telling the truth.

The fish hatchery part of complex is also huge. Millions of fish are spawned here and eventually released into the wild. Lots to see here as well. They have a cool cartoon type character on all the signs around the hatchery they call "Herman the Sturgeon", my first thought was that he lookes like he is from Berlin (which would also make him a ..........German)
As we drove away I have never wanted a Burger King Whaler sandwich with extra tarter sauce and a drop of lemon juice so much in my life.

We also stopped in Beaverton (a large suburb of Portland) to see Josh Keihl, a former Darke Countian who along with his lovely wife Kirsten will be driving our van back to Ohio later this summer. It was great to see the lad again.
We did have a sort of hassle during this side trip involving Miss Sassy and the girl that gives instructions on the GPS. So far Sassy has directed my driving using points and grunts --this has worked well because we were always in the middle of no where. When I decided to listen to the pleasant but firm voice of the GPS lady to drive thru Portland she and Sassy got into it. I learned a big lesson and GPS girl is off duty until bike trip when we will be alone.

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