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Old 08-30-2015, 08:36 PM   #1
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A nice afternoon on the water...

Last Thursday GW and I decided to take the boat for a ride. It had been awhile since we’d been anywhere and even though it was a day when the skies were filled with smoke from the forest fires it was a nice day. We pulled out of the slip around 2:30 headed downstream to McNary Dam.

It’s about 36 miles each way so we slow cruised down there, running about 10.2 kts. I took several pics and will add them in here because I know the rule: If there ain’t photos it didn’t happen! The quality of a couple of these isn't up to par because I took them with my phone. Sorry, next time I'll take the camera.

Here’s what it looked like as we entered what’s known locally as the Wallula Gap area of the river. You can see some of the smoke in the air but it’s not too bad here.


This is an area on the Oregon side of the river, right at the bend near Wallula. The two peaks sticking up are known as the “Two Sisters”.



Most of the rock formations along this stretch of the river are 600-700 feet high and much of the land on top is agricultural. Lots of irrigation circles to water the crops with the water taken right out of the Columbia.


As we got further downriver the smoke started to get heavier as we ran into the smoke from fires in Oregon.


We hadn’t been down that stretch of the river in a couple of years and we were surprised to see how many vineyards had been planted. It seemed every spot where the land got even close to flat, they put in some fines.



Since no trip report is complete without at least one wake shot, here’s one at 10 kts…


And one on the way home when we were running on plane, about 22kts.


It took us about 3.5 hours to get down there at hull speed and about 1.5 hours to get home running on plane. I won’t talk about the fuel consumption difference!
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Old 08-30-2015, 08:49 PM   #2
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Very nice. Cool to be able to boat without a crowd (though sometimes people watching can also be fun!).
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Old 08-30-2015, 09:54 PM   #3
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Thanks for putting that up Mike.
I love the Columbia and how it changes so dramatically throughout it's travels. Parts of it remind me of Lake Powell on the Colorado, another gem.

I've ridden up or down most of the Columbia but only had minimal boat time around Portland.

I just assumed you kept the Sea Ray in Puget Sound, so that's a long haul to the coast and something that must take some planning. Wow!
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Old 08-30-2015, 09:56 PM   #4
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Lake Powell you say? Hang on for a thread!
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Old 08-30-2015, 11:55 PM   #5
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Thanks for putting that up Mike.
I love the Columbia and how it changes so dramatically throughout it's travels. Parts of it remind me of Lake Powell on the Colorado, another gem.

I've ridden up or down most of the Columbia but only had minimal boat time around Portland.

I just assumed you kept the Sea Ray in Puget Sound, so that's a long haul to the coast and something that must take some planning. Wow!
Nope, we're river boaters, at least for now. I don't know yet when our trip up to your waters will take place. It depends on my MIL. She's going to be 100 in December and as long as she's around we won't make that trip because we don't want to be gone or out of touch for long periods.

I'm already working on the planning for that trip. At this time it looks like it'll be about 100-110 days long and encompass about 2500 miles. The logistics of planning food and supplies for that trip is quite a job but it's one I'm having fun with.

Lake Powell? I'd love to see a thread on that! Bring it on!!
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Old 08-31-2015, 12:17 AM   #6
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Hmmm. While Lake Powell appears full, down river Lake Mead is at its lowest level.
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Old 08-31-2015, 08:03 AM   #7
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Man, you WC guys and gals sure have some stunning scenery to take in while cruising compared to our tidal flats.

Heck I was all excited about the view from my new slip! 😄

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One day I would like to charter a boat on the WC to see what I'm missing. Where should I charter?
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Old 08-31-2015, 09:57 AM   #8
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One day I would like to charter a boat on the WC to see what I'm missing. Where should I charter?
Sigh, I'd like to see Texas where should I rent a car?
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Old 08-31-2015, 10:18 AM   #9
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A nice afternoon on the water...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Hawgwash View Post
Sigh, I'd like to see Texas where should I rent a car?

Texas is nice in the Fall. Football weather!

Fly into Austin (centrally located, great city), rent a car at the airport, and drive for days/weeks (it's big).
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Old 08-31-2015, 12:37 PM   #10
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The only places I've seen up here to charter boats are located in Puget Sound. That is some VERY pretty cruising grounds over there and you would not be disappointed by the scenery.


Our area is a desert and is totally different from what you see on the west side of the state and totally different from what you see another 100 miles down the Columbia. Down in that stretch of river it's forests, big trees, everything is green....more like what people think of when they think of the PNW.


Here, we get 300 days of sunshine a year and about 8" of rain. It's a true desert in every sense of the word and makes for some great boating adventures.
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Old 08-31-2015, 01:56 PM   #12
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Beautiful! Thanks for sharing. What is the current like on that part of the river?
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Old 09-03-2015, 09:26 PM   #13
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Carolena, in the spring the current can run ~4kts or a bit higher. This time of year it's about 2kts. The river flow and height is completely controlled on this end of the river (and on the Snake River) by the Corps of Engineers dams. There are 4
navigable dams on each of the two rivers.


Today was a nice day so we thought we’d take a ride back down to the stretch of Columbia we photographed above, only this time we went by car and shot the photos from the top of those mesas.


As it turned out, we were both surprised by the amount of land that has been turned into vineyards. The whole area is owned (to my surprise) by a company called Easterday Farms. They’re based right here in Pasco and is a family owned farm that appears to be doing VERY well. Here’s a link to their website: Easterdayfarms.com.


As I said, it was a nice day with temps in the mid 70’s, light winds, just a very few high, thin clouds. A perfect day for a road trip.


I didn’t take any pics on the way down to where we were overlooking the river because there’s not much to see there. But once we got to the river I snapped a few. Neither of us had ever been to this area before and all it is for roads are single lane gravel roads once you get off the main drags.


So here’s what we saw from up top.













All of the vines where we stopped were Merlot variety, but there were several others that we saw. Here’s GW as she sampled a few grapes.






And here’s what the Merlot grapes look like before they are picked. These vines are really ready to be picked and I would guess that in the next few days these vineyards will be swarming with pickers.













When we were on the boat and taking pics it looked as though they planted vines on just about every flat area. From the top you can see that they don’t limit themselves to the flat areas, they plant on the sides of the hills also.






All totaled, the trip today was only 56 miles and took us about 4 hours. Needless to say, a great time was had by both of us.
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Old 09-04-2015, 12:30 PM   #14
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Great photos!
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Old 09-04-2015, 12:34 PM   #15
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Great photos looks so peaceful
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Old 09-05-2015, 01:17 PM   #16
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Alan, peaceful would be a good term to describe that area. No boats, very few other people around (a few employees working in the vineyards), no wind, no sounds at all except GW munching on grapes!
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Old 09-05-2015, 03:54 PM   #17
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I've always been impressed by the hillside farming that is common in central and eastern WA. It must be extra challenging to operate big equipment onto those terraced slopes.

Great shots!
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Old 09-05-2015, 06:58 PM   #18
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Al, I suspect most of those vines on the terraced vineyards are picked and maintained by hand. If you look at that last photo you can see the tracks of a quad runner between the rows of vines. There were quite a few of those running around when we were down there.


If you want to see the specific area of the river we were above, go to Google Earth and type in McNary Dam, Or. Look just upriver from there and you'll see Van Skinner Island. That was right below where we were.

Beautiful country. Barren and stark in many areas with its own kind of beauty.
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Old 09-06-2015, 01:00 PM   #19
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GFC, not far from where you were, around Walla Walla, there are hundreds of acres of onions grown on hillsides. They obviously like it...Walla Walla sweet onions are one my favorites!
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Old 09-06-2015, 01:13 PM   #20
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Al, we ALL love WW Sweets! They're getting real close to harvesting those and it's a great drive to run down through those onion growing areas. The sweet smell coming off those onions is a delight to the senses.


It's sad, but they drop more WW Sweets off the trucks as they travel the roads than we could ever eat in a year. Maybe we should go on an Onion Treasure Hunt down there.
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