Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Pulling wires in prep of relocating the batteries. Or -- doing things twice . . .

This photo shows the pile of wire we are about to pull in preparation for relocating the battery bank aft.  Someone once told me:  You get to do things twice on a boat;  and darn if they have not been right.  But as the boat is 1) More complete than it was a year ago, and 2) now our HOME - it is just much much more difficult to do things again.  To prep for pulling the wires we:

  1. Removed the Washer / Dryer
  2. Moved out the Freezer
  3. Moved out the Laundry Basket (ok, that was not that tuff)
  4. Cleaned out under Kristi’s shelf.

Then we will pull wires:

  • Two sets of 10/4 cables for the two inverters
  • Two 4 gauge wires for the dedicated bilge pump feed
  • Two sets of remote panel control wire (telephone cable!) for inverters
  • Two heavy Green Chassis bonding wires for the inverters
  • Wire set to serve as voltage sense point for main engine house alternator
  • Control wire for remote enable / disable of inverters (for when we have to manually ‘reset’ the Prosine 2KW inverter ….)
  • Sensor wires for Link10 battery monitor

In all, about 500+ feet of wire.  And this does not even count the heavy 373mcm I need to adjust for the 12v feeds to/from the inverters (once I physically relocate them )

And then after pulling all this wire I get to secure  them every 18”, that will involve all of the above prep work  PLUS pulling all the drawers out on the Starboard cabinets.

Boy it sure would have been easier to do this 2nd time around when I did it the 1st time.  But in the end it will give a better balanced boat, and I will be changing the wiring approach  to better match the needs to a full-time live aboard cruising boat vs. the times we were at the dock.  So, in the end will be worth it.

Kinda Sucky

Thump, THUMP!

What the....? Is there someone on the boat?  Oh, that's just a pillow next to must be Al out there.  What time is it? 4:53 AM.

CLANG!  Checking the stove?  Again?

And then the sound of the vacuum, and all the unkind questions are answered.  Yes, it IS rather cold in here.  And there are snow showers predicted for the next 24 hours.

The vacuum means he is cleaning out the stove in preparation for re-lighting, which is quite a process with our old diesel stove.  I also hear the day tank being pumped up.  We have been struggling a bit with the stove this year it seems.  It has gone out several times.  Is the screen plugged again?  Is there something wrong with the pump?  Is it not filling the tank?

Al says 'No'.  He simply thinks we did NOT pump the tank full when we THOUGHT we did.  Maybe we should just adopt the policy of filling the tank every day?

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Fun to Suck ratio..

We often get asked ‘So, how is it living on a Boat?’, and there is inevitably a pause on my part.  Some of this is waiting for Kristi to share first – in an attempt to get her true feelings on the topic, but part is also:  How does one really answer this question?

Do we share the ‘Great Sunset, Closer to Nature, closer to Each Other’ moments, or the ‘Rain, Rain, MORE RAIN, Fixing Toilets on Father’s Day, and of course those Being Closer To Each Other – CLOSER’ moments. (well, that last one is actually not that bad. )

Truth is, Living on a Boat is like almost everything else about a Boat:  It has compromises.  We can move around easily, and when not tied to a slip need to move around often.  We do get memorable views of nature, and am sooo much closer to this great world of ours.  We also get chills from the less then even heating in the boat.

I guess the bottom line is:  Life on a Boat has wonderful moments, ones that we could not imagine land based.   It also comes with more demands and compromise:  Things, Energy, etc..

And hence the Fun to Suck Ratio.  (btw:  I first noted this F2S ratio in a comment on Third Day’s Blog:   Idea in Life is to always keep the Fun to Suck ratio in the Positive Territory.  Guess this is true no matter where you live, but it does open a good way to approach the question ‘How do you like Living on a Boat’ :  the F2S ends are more extreme.  Yes, there are down sides; and do not make light of that when life on a Boat Sucks, it can really suck.  But in return, the upsides are even greater.

Honest answer:  Loving it.  Even if the Head Pump needs to be rebuilt again….

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Ahh, Sunshine!

Bookmark this page so you can come back to remind yourself  when the dreary days return  that we DO occasionally have BEAUTIFUL days in winter in the Portland Metro area!

Sunrise at OMSI, downtown Portland

The service docks at Swan Island

A Navy 'Oiler' in the dry dock

Saint Johns, the prettiest bridge in Portland, IMHO

Mt St Helens with her cloud cap 

The Vancouver railroad bridge swing span and bridge tender's house flanked by Mt. Hood

My view approaching the railroad bridge, notice the Christmas Ships burgee

We left downtown Portland early this morning so that Al could get us through the Steel Bridge lift we need, and then begin his work call.  I took the helm at the Fremont Bridge and brought us back to the marina, where Al's call completed just in time for him to bring us into dock!  (Of course, I adjusted speed to insure that happened.  I have not brought Viking Star into close quarters yet--I have only practiced touch-and-go's, once.)

Now I am busy hauling laundry back and forth on the dock, and made a trip to acquire more quarters to run said laundry.  Also gassed the car and did some light provisioning.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Christmas Bluebell

We knew she was coming SOME time this week, so we weren't totally surprised, but we were very excited to see the Bluebell join is for Christmas Ships on the Willamette River last night.  Our crew cheered and waved as we passed, and theirs cheered and waved back.  This picture doesn't do justice.

We had the honor of sharing a dock with the Bluebell on our downriver trip on the Snake.  Check our previous post to see daytime and sunset pictures :
(Bluebell is the USCG ship that tends the buoys and markers on the Columbia, Willamette and Snake River. In this way, she has left her mark all up and down the rivers.)

The Christmas Magic is still at work.  There was a tornado in Aumsville OR yesterday as a cold front passed through.  Portland had black clouds and heavy rain.  But there were only perhaps occasional sprinkles as we paraded.  Here we are on a march downriver, where due to the Bluebell and Portland Spirit accompanying us, all bridges from the Hawthorne to the Steel were opened.  We stopped traffic all over town!  Here we are as we pass through the Burnside Bridge with the Convention Center towers in the background.

Timing was almost perfect----the rain began again as we docked for the evening.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Christmas Magic!

What a deluge!  In the hours before the first night of the regular season of Christmas Ships, on several occasions thinking 'Could it rain ANY harder?'  and the answer was proven 'YES!!!'  The weatherman on the 5 o'clock news told me that we had over 1.4 inches already for the day, and parts east were over 1.7 and he was waiting to see who would be the first to go over 2 inches.

It has been said that in an Oregon rain, it can rain all day and you don't get wet.  Which on many days can be true!  The fine mist that often falls here can run all day, and then the weatherman says something like 'Precipitation in Portland was 4 one-hundredths today'.

We must have warped to another universe lately.

But anyway, the Christmas Magic worked once more last night.  Just before parade time, the rain ceased, or at the least became very light.  We only had to run the wipers for a few swipes!

And for once, I got some tolerable shots of a few Christmas Ships.

Starting Point

Rock Steady

Silver Knot

Southern Belle

Tide Change

Tom and Jerry

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Good Morning!

A good night's rest, bit of snuggling this morning.  Coffee, Train on the Radio.  And this view!  What is great about it?

  1. Sun
  2. Door to aft cabin awaiting to be mounted!
  3. AND a mock up of the Hurricane Heater to begin placing it (Box on floor in lower left corner)

Monday, December 6, 2010

Christmas Ships 2010 Begins

Last Saturday we began the 2010 season of Christmas Ships.  Camas/Washougal is notorious for foul weather, and Viking Star can handle it pretty well, so we always make a point of being there for the kickoff.  The Dolphin Yacht Club feeds us well, and local businesses spoil us a bit with small gifts, but that is not why we do this. We love boating, and we love Christmas, and we love to share both with as many people as we can!

Here are a few pictures from the dock.  It was a beautiful clear day!  But WINDY (sustained 20+ mph, gusts to 39 mph), which added to the COLD!  Mt. Hood was beautiful above all the white caps.

We thought the dock was filling up well, but more and more and more boats came.  We had 18 begin the parade, which I think is a recent record for Camas!  Two had difficulties with displays and pulled out early, but otherwise, the weather did not seem as bad as feared out on the water.

The boat in front of us, Last Call, has a new display this year.  They have Christmas musicians playing on the sides, and a sign on back that says 'Christmas Rocks!'  but I took this photo for the cute 'window' display on their upper deck!

This is just a warm-up. The regular season begins this Thursday.  We are looking forward to another good run with the Christmas Ships.

Monday, November 29, 2010

The Wise Guys are Back!

We three kings of Orient are
Bearing gifts we traverse afar
Field and fountain, moor and mountain
Following yonder star

O Star of wonder, star of night
Star with royal beauty bright
Westward leading, still proceeding
Guide us to thy Perfect Light

Today we finished hanging the rest of the decorations for our 8th year of Christmas Ships Parade participation.  We still need to do some fine tuning--raise the star a foot or so, and replace some twinkle light bulbs on half the star, but we are good to go otherwise.

(Mike Shappert of Tide Change gave us the nickname 'The Wise Guys' in past years.  He has a nativity display, and we always try to run together in the parades.)

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Its nice not to get Blown Up!

At times you will hear about how dangerous it is out there cruising, Pirates, Murders, Robberies, etc.  Well last night we were here:

"A Somali-born teenager attempting to detonate what he believed was a car bomb at a packed Christmas tree-lighting ceremony in downtown Portland, Ore., was arrested by the authorities on Friday night. They had spent nearly six months tracking him and setting up a sting operation, officials in Oregon said."

Yup, nice to not get Blown Up last night.  Thank you to all those who help assure a less dramatic outcome.   And yes, this does go to show that there is Danger everywhere, not just in Cruising Land.  Maybe it would be safer to move on to Mexico??? 

Friday, November 26, 2010

Feeling Christmas-y

Last weekend, we bought a new battery for daughter Christine's pick-up, then Al borrowed the truck to borrow back the Christmas Ship display we gave away after last season's end.  Remember, we had planned to be 'up North' by now...

Ready for assembly

The star is taking shape

Hoist it up, and lash it to the mast!

We got cooled off, good and plenty, since the stove went out just after Al said 'We have to pump more fuel for the stove.'  The star was enough work for today, so we layered up and rode MAX downtown for the tree lighting ceremony.  The line at Starbucks was unbelievable, so we found the best viewing spot we could.  All the 'seats' were taken even 45 minutes before it was due to begin.  

Our view, early on

Pioneer Courthouse, a little later

The sponsors for the evening

Pink Martini, Pacific Youth Chorus, Oregon Symphony,  KGW, KINK, Mayor Sam Adams, and SANTA made appearances.

Ta Da!  We were all told to go to to find more events at Pioneer Square and downtown this holiday season.  I just checked!  Christmas Ships are mentioned on Page 5!

Friday, November 19, 2010

Coffee Shop Review

Al and I love our coffee!  We have a really good grinder, and really enjoy the scent of freshly ground beans.  We have a drip brewer, a French press, an old-fashioned percolator, and a 'mocha pot' to make espresso on the stovetop 'the way an Italian nonna would'.  Al often laments my decision that we didn't have enough room to keep the espresso maching on the boat, or to carry the amount of milk we would go through to have a daily latte.  Michael appreciated that decision though.

Coffee has long been a part of our relationship, from our 'first date, that wasn't a date' at Starbucks.  And now that we are 'retired', one of our favorite things to do is go to a coffee shop, sip our favorite drink, read the paper or a book, surf the web.  

It's not the jolt of caffeine that we are neccesarily after, in fact, we notice more and more that our bodies really don't appreciate caffeine.  It's more the atmosphere of relaxation.  Hopefully a comfy chair, and an hour to be together, but separate in our quiet pursuits.

We have tried lots of coffee shops in the Portland/Vancouver metropolitan area, and here are MY views of many of them.

Starbucks.  Okay, let's just get the giant out of the way.  What I appreciate most about Starbucks is the consistancy of their product.  You can visit any Starbucks in the WORLD and your mocha will taste the same from location to location.  They produce a huge volume, so they have got the system down, which generally results in speedy service.  When I was working at Pacific University in Forest Grove, I became an almost daily customer at the Cornelius OR location.  Most of the staff knew my name, and knew my usual drink.  In fact, if I planned to have something different, I would have to announce it quickly and loudly, or my usual would be prepared before I got up to the register!  Michele was a shift supervisor there, moved to the Streets of Tanasbourne, then to the 185th connected to Barnes and Noble, where she is the manager--Yay Michele!  Step-son Michael works at the Washington Square location in the new addition.  We also frequent the Janzen Beach, 8th St Vancouver, and 25th & Main in Vancouver locations.

But our favorites are the 'little guys', the small independent shops, many with funky decor and mis-match chairs.  

Maggie's Buns, Forest Grove OR.  Named for the famous cinnamon rolls baked on site, I think this shop's emphasis is the food, but they do make a good mocha.  Very eclectic, and quite busy due to Pacific University being across the street.

Insomnia now with TWO locations in Hillsboro OR.  I like the original store on Baseline with it's funky decor and variety of seating options.  There is live music on the weekend evenings.  I have visited the new location once at the Streets of Tanasbourne, off Cornell.  It seems smaller, with a more 'orderly' feel, but some great artwork on the walls.  They craft fabulous drinks from  Sleepy Monk coffees roasted in Cannon Beach.  Try the coconut latte or mocha, or Pumpkin Spice Chai.

Longbottom Coffeehouse and Roasting Factory off Shute Rd on NW 235th Ave in Hillsboro serves breakfast and lunch (try Ginger's Farmers Strata!) and makes a great caramel macchiato.  There is a large window from the cafe to the warehouse where you can observe the roasting operation.

Bean and Tree at Riverplace in Portland.  Owner Tracey makes the best lattes, steaming her milk with a fabulous thick mouth feel and using Stumptown coffee.  They have vegan pastry options

Seize the Bagel on Mill Plain Blvd in Vancouver WA.  The site of choice for Tea with the ladies on Sunday mornings.  Certainly more of a bagel shop (could you guess?) but they do an okay mocha, and have a bottomless cup of brewed coffee (in addition to Tea, if you wish).

River Maiden Coffee House on Devine in Vancouver WA.  Specialty is any of about 8-10 varieties of Stumptown coffees done on the Clover Vacuum Press.  If you love french press coffee, this is the ultimate!  They call it 'coffee in HD'.  We had 'the best coffee in the world' at this location.  There is a River Maiden Coffee Bar on Main in Vancouver, very small location, more for to-go orders.

Paper Tiger on Grand in Vancouver WA.  Makes a VERY yummy latte.  This makes up for the rather poor selection and quality of the pastries we have tried.  They micro-roast their own beans.

Mon Ami on Main in Vancouver.  Also uses Stumptown coffee.  They serve great crepes with varieties good for both breakfast and lunch.  

Compass Coffee on Main in Vancouver.  Just had our first visit here today.  Even though we have used the credit union across the street, we really had no idea it was there.  We tried it today, on recommendation of neighbor Bob in the marina.  We were looking for lunch too, and had bowls of scratch-made Navy bean soup.  Tomorrow's is a Potato Lentil with Curry.  There were sandwiches, and shop-made pastries.  The coffee was fabulous!  Al had a pour-over brew in a Kenya variety, and I had a hazelnut latte.  They roast their own. We shall return!

Monday, November 15, 2010

Alone Again....


Has it really been two weeks since we have made it back into a slip for the winter?  Guess so - and have we been BUSY.   Well, busy in a relative kind of way.

Today I am alone on the boat - again.  Kristi has been out and about doing the Social Thing almost every day (between taking stuff we do not use off the boat, Laundry, etc).  And as we have only one car now, that leaves me stranded somewhere.   Today it is the Boat with her parting words (in effect) WORK ON SOMETHING!

 So today I mixed up a batch of Sour Dough starter to share with Michael (my Son) tomorrow, and am getting ready to work on the aft hatches some - they need to have new caulking placed between the deck boards.  Today need to reef out the old caulking, then tape and re-caulk.   Instructions say caulk is good to 40 degrees, weather says will be around 50 for a few more days.  So - best get on it.

OK, For those who do not know about teak decking, picture this:  At some time in the past someone said "Hey, I have an idea on how to make a roof on a boat!  Let's take some strips of wood, and then put caulking in between them to make it 'water proof'.  That should work!"  Ya, works great.  Just great.  (read:  sarcasm)  But it's traditional, and is how Viking Star was built - so will keep working at it. . . .

Well, guess I had better get on it.  Hatch covers, move alternators around, prop up the steering tubes some more.  Hmm . .  Can not get to the garage, so door and making of a crow-foot for the rudder post will have to wait - guess I could cut some Bung Plugs.

Wow, am tired already.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Another Home

Vancouver.  We love Vancouver, and it has been easy to make ourselves at home here.  It has a small-town feel, and we find it easy to get around.

We were here one sunny day last week to do a quick run through some 'stuff' in the garage, pick up things needed for projects on the boat, and fill a box to drop off at the local Goodwill.

We stopped at one of the many 'favorite' coffee shops, Mon Ami, for crepes and lattes, then walked to the credit union to deposit the TWO paychecks that arrived while we were gone on our trip (Al is a 'business' and cannot have direct deposit into an individual account).

We noticed several changes in the few months we have been travelling.  A couple of stores are gone, a couple are temporarily closed due to fire damage, and there were a couple of new stores.  We are excited about the new one we checked out, Neighbors Market.  It is on Main at McLoughlin in downtown Vancouver.  It is following the 'Buy Local' movement, and sells produce and products grown or made in the Pacific Northwest.  On that trip we bought soup from a Tualatin OR company, bread from the Je' Taime bakery (also on Main St. in Vancouver) and a chocolate bar from Seattle WA.

At today's visit  I see some new products on the shelves.  Personal care items, pet food and cat litter, 'green' cleaning products.  I bought another loaf of bread and told her I was looking for leek soup, so she made a note and said she would see if the company made that kind.  She expects another big shipment on Wednesday, so their product list is growing!

Today, I dropped Al off at the garage.  He put another coat of paint on projects at the boat, which makes the boat a not-very-pleasant place to be for awhile.  So he is at the garage beginning 'The Door'.  Presently 'The Door' is his bathrobe, hung every evening between the main and aft cabins.  I am visiting Starbucks, sipping a chai tea latte, working on this blog post, and checking the news and Facebook.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Coming Home

I have spent the past week visiting the grandkids, having coffee with my daughters, and wondering when I will see my college student son.  Three of our five kids had birthdays while we were gone, so we have celebrated a couple of those.  (Still waiting for Micah...)

Home is where the heart is.

But I could never truly be HOME until I visited my church family.  Today was our first time to Forest Grove United Methodist Church since April, when we moved full-time onto the boat.

And 'My People' didn't fail me.  The 'Welcome Back!'s started in the parking lot.  Hugs were given and received.  Two of my 'moms' from my trip to the Holy Land in 1996 were in attendance.  During 'joys and concerns' Al and I were going to stand and say we were glad to be back, but Maryjane beat us to it!

The congregation spent last Sunday in service in the community, so this Sunday was the All Saints celebration, where we remember those who have died in the past year.  One of the eldest members, Vic Albro, died while we were away.  Vic had seen me grown from a newlywed to new mother, go through divorce, fall in love again and remarry, and become a grandmother.  Vic and I shared a pew often, and I will miss greeting him on Sundays.

It was also Communion Sunday.  Sometimes communion events can make me cry, and it happened again today.  Sam is a World War II veteran.  And with age he has come to rely on a walker to help him get around.  But today he received the communion elements, and then left his walker to kneel at the rail.  Sam's wife is a member of the choir, so two other women waited with Sam while he prayed, and then made sure he got back to his seat.

And all I could think of were the song lyrics based on 2 Chronicles 7:14.  If My People, who are called by My name, will humble themselves and pray....

It sure humbled ME.

Kristi's Trip Summary

Just the Facts, Ma'am:
We began our adventure on Thursday Sept 16, in the rain, and ended on Monday Nov 1, in the rain.  Six and a half weeks. In between, we had great weather, one day of RAIN in Hood River, and a few sprinkles a few other days. 
We travelled approximately 750 river miles, were locked up to 736 feet in elevation and back down to sea level.
We went 'as far as we can go' on FOUR rivers, the Columbia, the Snake, the Clearwater, and the Palouse.  We were limited by any of the following:  depth, bridges, or charts.
We took 1234 photos.  That is not a made-up number.  That is the last image number in Picasa, less the first image number from Sept 16, PLUS the 10 more shots left in the camera after the 'log boom' post.  There was lots of great scenery, so it was easy to get great photos. 
Those facts covered, it's now time for my somewhat random thoughts on the trip.  Warning:  the views expressed may or may not be shared by my travelling companion.
Al wanted to take 5-6 weeks for this trip, and we didn't go much over that, even with a week longer than expected in the Tri-Cities area.  It is important to remain flexible in the schedule to allow for weather delays and for personal inclemence.  However, I believe for this trip to be MORE ideal, it should be begun the day after Labor Day.  That would be nearly two weeks earlier than we travelled.  And six weeks would get you back around October 15, which is when many of the parks and marinas begin closing down for the season, or at least turning off the water and pumpouts.
I really LOVE taking my bed with me!  It is so comfy and cozy, and it's OURS. 
On the trip upriver, it seemed easy and natural to call the boat 'home'.  But I think once we turned and began the return downriver, the closer we got to Portland/Vancouver the more I slipped into calling IT home.  Al called me on it once.  He asked 'What are you going to do next Spring?' referring to our plans to head north, with no return (with the boat) scheduled for 3-5 years.  I said 'I think you will be buying a few train tickets.' 
I really missed my kids and grandkids. Cell phones and Facebook just don't take the place of hugs and kisses.  I look at the relationship my kids have with their grandparents, which just isn't as close as the one I had with my own granparents.  We lived half way across the country, and even though we made a point to visit once a year as the kids grew up, and Mom and Dad came out once a year,  that really isn't enough.
I think Al and I got along quite well.  Our biggest days of aggravation are due to PMS, which seems, anyway, to be exacerbated by the close quarters of the boat.  We are both learning to watch the calendar carefully.
Al has jokingly called me his memory.  At introductions he says openly 'I won't remember your name unless my wife is here!'  This is VERY true.  Often the words coming from his mouth do NOT match what I KNOW he means to say.  This does concern me more than a little.  I don't know if this has truly increased, or if I just notice it more because we are spending so much more time together.  He does not appear to have any trouble work-wise at all.
The actual adapting to living on the boat has gone very well, I think.  There are plusses and minuses, of course.  I am really sick of the same old clothes, but we are in a change of season, so that may feel better for awhile.  There is no room to be making any additions to the wardrobe. 
We still have a garage full of 'stuff for the boat'.  So I am presently trying to go through some nooks and crannies to remove things that have not been used in the last six months.  

Monday, November 1, 2010

A Rare Sight!

Wow, are we excited!  Not only did we begin the last leg of our trip just about an hour ago, but in over 10 years of boating on the Columbia we have never before seen a log boom in tow!  And in such a beautiful surrounding--the fall colors and the mist around the gorge cliffs...


front of the boom

Klickitat at work.  See the tow line?

Captain Al says to note the three vertical lights, signifying a tow astern with a total length of over 200 meters.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Our Last Night?

When we came into Hood River last night, we intended to be spending today there, withstanding some higher winds.  But this morning when we checked, the forecast had changed.  The winds were now expected MONDAY afternoon. So, we got up and went to Starbucks--can't skip THAT, and were on the way by 10:30.

The roughest water was right there at Hood River, which IS known for it's good sailboarding conditions.  The waves seemed to be building as we went west, but as the river narrowed it calmed.

Al kept me busy being the lookout while he checked more ranges.  (Al promises a blog expounding on this subject soon, so look for it!)  But I took time to shoot a bit of the scenery.

I saw this and said 'THAT'S a cool rock formation!'  And Al said  'It looks like a dog.'  So I took a picture.  We flipped the chart, and saw it IS Dog Mountain.

Things went very well, and we made it through Bonneville dam (our LAST, hurray!) and we are at Beacon Rock.  We can make it home from here.  Our old slip is ready and waiting for us.  We will check the wind forecast again in the morning, but we could very well be home tomorrow.  Which would make this the last night of our cruise.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

A Day of Delays

The plan for today was very similar to yesterday's--35 miles and a dam.  But the day broke foggy, misty and cool, making the bed seem extra snuggly this morning.

After Al turned on the radio, and just before we were ready to go, we heard two tugs speaking with John Day dam.  The Willamette was just exiting the locks, another vessel was approaching from below, and the Chief was waiting behind the Willamette.

We saw the Willamette pass and started out.  Al has been verifying ranges on our trip and wanted to go around Miller Island by the south channel to pick up three ranges we missed on the way upriver by taking the more scenic north channel (Hell's Gate).

Then just as we were rounding the bend, we heard the Celilo railroad bridge controller on the radio saying the bridge was preparing to close, did any vessels need passage.  The Willamette called and said he did, and the controller said he would hold the train. We called and said that we were 45 minutes behind the Willamette and we would slow down to allow the train to cross before us.  We knew from radio reports that the Chief was about 45 minutes behind us--a BUSY day on the river!  Especially so, since when we arrived at the bridge, it had not even BEGUN to be lowered.  We ended up losing about an hour.

I told Al 'We might get stuck at the dam!  The Chief is going to catch up to us!'  He agreed.  And sure enough, it had taken quite awhile for the Willamette to lock through, and the Chief was rounding the bend.  (Commercial traffic takes precedence over pleasure craft.)  However, the Chief said that as long as we weren't over 110 feet, we could fit along side his starboard side.  Just hold tight while he eased out of the locks because his wash could toss us around a bit.

The Chief eases in

It took quite awhile for him to work his way in, and we felt like we had 'just enough' room, though the picture shows quite a bit of water between us.

Five stories of power!  Six if you count the engine room below water.

The lock is 86 feet wide, and the load is 84....

This whole process took well over an hour, when our 6 previous down locks took maybe half an hour each.  We did note that the lock seemed to empty a whole lot slower than the other trips.  Al wonders if the lockmasters take it easy on the tug-and-barges....

The Chief got the green light to leave the lock and sure enough, the wash started a bit of a whirlpool effect, pulling the stern of the boat out (when our lines slipped a bit) and set the bow on the wall.  (More Cetol work for Al.)

As we were approaching the lock, we had heard the Kathryn B call the dam looking for a lock up.  She was waiting as we followed the Chief around, oh wait, she's moving up already!  Guess we'll pass her port-to-port as we round the green can! (Quickly confirmed on the VHF radio)

It is nearly 4:00, and we still have 20 miles to reach Hood River.  We should make it fine, but darkness may be falling as we arrive.  We plan to layover here tomorrow, as the weather report says winds will gust to 22 mph.  

It's more than mist now.  And one wiper needs it's blade replaced.  Luckily, the one at the helm is good.

We made it!  See that little pink circle?  That's us.  And the line away from it shows the orientation of the  boat.