Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Just a 'Wishing and hoping and thinking and praying'

We are anchored out just above that green point
at the top left of the photo
Yesterday we reached our 72 hour limit on the West Linn public dock. Normally this is not too much of an issue (after all, about 10 boats have been downtown for 5+ months on the Portland public docks). But as this dock gets LOTS of use, some of which actually involves boating during these nice sunny days, the local Sheriff keeps a sharp eye on things. So yesterday we moved off the dock and anchored out. This was the 3rd time we anchored overnight using the new Spade.

The Locks at Willamette Falls were closed yesterday and today, so this means we anchored out above the falls. As in about 1/2 mile ABOVE the falls!!! They say Experience builds confidence, and though Viking Star's ground tackle is way overkill for our boat, we have not gotten to a high level of experience- induced confidence.

As a result, I did not get to sleep till about 3am, and was constantly on the lookout for an unexpected Bump or Jerk. Am happy to say Viking Star did not make the trip over the falls, the hard way. Instead she stayed at anchor just as she always does - making a small circle around a point in the water where the anchor chain drops straight down to the bottom. (note: This is normal, and is because of the weight of the anchor chain. We put out about a 5:1 scope and set the anchor well. But when we take the power off the boat, all the chain in the water will just drop down to the bottom of the river, pulling Viking Star forward a bit until the chain remaining just goes straight down. Only if a STRONG wind or current pulls on the boat will we begin to lift the chain off the bottom of the river and start to see a slope back in the anchor chain.)

They say one never loses sleep over having too large an anchor. Our 66lb Spade combined with 400' of 3/8"HT chain sure is stable, and I am sure I will sleep better as time goes on. But for last night, it was 'Wishing and Hoping and thinking and praying...'

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

A word from the Editor: Pseudo commercial posts....

Just to put those on notice, we have now received two semi-commercial posts, both via Comments. Where either blatantly the responder refers to a site, or strongly references it either via name and/or a link.

As much as Kristi and I like to receive comments, a matter of policy we will begin to delete those overtly commercial comments . . . .

Thursday, July 22, 2010

A Pictorial Tour of Oregon City

We started at John Storm Landing
The FREE Trolley takes us through town
The Oregon City Elevator
A picture of the original elevator

The view from the elevator, and if you zoom in....

You can see Viking Star at the dock

Willamette Falls

Remember, you can double click on any picture to view it full-size!

Still in the Real World!

Know it has been a while since I posted, Kristi reminded me.  Have a couple of ideas:  WiFi repeater, and the Generator are two.  But thought would talk a bit about the last few days instead.

See, I am still sort of in the Real World, meaning I have this contracting job.  Now, the last Monday and Tuesday I needed to be in San Jose for individual meetings as well as an overall stakeholders session the EPA conducted.  My new 'life style' came up a few times (and I promise, not always at my prompting!), and that got me to thinking about some to the differences with this new lifestyle when it came to travel.

Old Way:  (meaning, house, car, 8-5 job.)

  • As Sunday ramped down, would begin to get into 'job mode'.  Normal Sunday activity as the long waited for weekend had arrived, and then quickly gone.
  • Sunday evening, go to 'office' in the house and check Email, print boarding pass, and surf about 1hrs worth of unrelated web sites.
  • Pack bag and laptop.  Place in front of door so I would not forget them Monday morning.
  • Place keys and wallet on kitchen counter, next to coffee pot.

Oh, and of course I had filled the car gas tank over the weekend.  In fact, most of the weekend was spent doing chores that were not done while at work the prior week.

  • Set alarm clock for 4:15am (7am flight).

Monday morning:  Wake, shower, coffee, goodbye to wife.  Easy drive to Airport parking, wait for bus, and off!

New Way: OK, here is how it went this time around:

  • Sunday:  We realized we needed to move the boat to be near a MAX (light rail) line so I could take it to the airport Monday morning.  6 hour trip up river, but it did charge the batteries well!
  • Had to keep track when Sunday was.  As Sunday is, well, like Saturday, and Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday... In fact, if it was not for some event we would not really (and at times do not) know what day of the week it is.

Did spend Saturday not at Chores, but at the annual Pirates Cruise for the kids!  GREAT FUN, and Kristi could join this time around.

  • Sunday night, unpacked and booted computer.  Moved printer into place and got some paper from its storage place.  Checked Email, printed boarding pass, closed all down and put it away.
  • Made sure we had hot water for a shower next morning (we did, from our long motoring trip).  Packed bags, placed them in front of the door so I would not forget them.  Ground coffee and prepped the old Italian maker.  
  • Set alarm for 2:50am.

Monday morning:  Wake, shower, Coffee, GoodBye to Wife.  15 minute walk to MAX station, train stops at terminal so just walk through short line at security and off!

OK, so - lots seems the same.  The biggest change, to be honest, is we needed to plan a bit better.  When I booked my tickets, I needed to check the MAX schedule to make sure when the 1st train ran.  We needed to move the boat downtown in prep.  And I needed to finish installing all the locks on the doors before I left Kristi.  We were lucky in that we know most the folks on the docks already - even though some of them are a bit on the edge of society - we know them and had made friendly acquaintances with them over the Blues Fest.

And time:  It takes more time to do almost anything in this new way of life.  We can not just 'hop' into the car and be off. In this case, 6hrs in Sunday moving the boat, and getting up an hour eailer was the extra time investment.

Overall, this was the 1st time I had to travel when being 'free'.  We will continue to use the downtown Max location for shorter trips.  Longer ones we will rent a slip at our old marina for a week and get the car.  Perhaps biggest change was, as always, planning for hot water for the morning shower.  But other then that, it all seemed to work out well.

Monday, July 19, 2010


After the recent posts about boardings in the night, you perhaps thought this post would continue along that line.  But no, it is just the annual Pirates Cruise the United States Power Squadron puts on at Sand Island on the Columbia River at St. Helens.

This is the FIRST time I have been able to fully participate and enjoy.  It will most likely be the last one we will attend, as we hope next year at this time to be 'up north'.

Captain Al regaled us with pirate tales on Friday night, after which followed marshmallow roasting and S'more building.

On Saturday, we were overrun by pirates, who have grown much  in the past year.

There was a near mutiny, when the girls attempted to get control of the boat.

There was much swash buckling,

There was a treasure hunt, with a map to follow.

Bad Pirates were quickly dispatched.

And Salty Toe's treasure chest full of booty was eventually pulled from the sand!

Thursday, July 15, 2010

So, How many cigarette butts do YOU see?

To be honest, I haven't counted, but I can tell you IT'S TOO MANY!

This illustrates what may be my biggest pet peeve.....smokers who don't dispose of their butts properly.

I have been known to honk at drivers who toss their smokes out the window as they drive, leaving it to bounce and throw sparks.  Countless grass and forest fires are begun this way each year.  Not to mention it is littering, and against the law.

This photo is taken right alongside Viking Star, on the dock in downtown Portland.  The Willamette River is not known for it's cleanliness, but it is usually sewage spills they are talking about.  And yes, as I hung fenders in preparation for docking last night, I got a whiff of Eau d' Willamette.

The city is working on that issue.

It would be nice if we ALL would use trash receptacles properly.

(I didn't post a photo of the syringe.)

Wednesday, July 14, 2010


Really!  It was kind of to be expected at the downtown Portland docks, with a festival atmosphere, a nice evening, and romance in the air.  
But Vancouver is a bit more 'sleepy'.....and that's what Al and I were too, sleeping away, when I heard a voice, and Al roused from bed.  He opened the door and said 'Can I help you?'  And again I hear a voice, a young female voice, and she says 'I'm sorry, I thought this was someone else's boat.  I'm so sorry.'
Yeah, right.
Someone ELSE'S boat, at 1:30 AM?  
At least this time I was able to roll over and get back to sleep, almost before Al returned to bed.  But this morning, discussing the happenings, Al said she had come all the way across the boat and was nearing the far door.  He hadn't heard her try the dockside door, but still.  
What is it with people?!  I hate to make the generalization, but what is it with young people these days?  And both times now it was girls, though the first time it was a couple.  Though THIS girl ventured onto the boat alone, we heard more voices and laughter when she reached the top of the deck.  Was she acting on a dare?
Having TWO nightime boardings in less than a month at the beginning of our cruising life has us second thinking some options Al had mentioned previously, perhaps jokingly.  Today I commented 'Perhaps we SHOULD electrify the rail!'  He said maybe he should run switches to near the bed to operate the deck lights and the horn.  Those who have heard our horn know what a jolt THAT would be to hear in the night when you are trying to sneak around!
Again, I shouldn't make the generalization, but I told Al that I would have been MORE afraid if it hadn't been girls present.  I am just greatly disturbed that ANYONE would trespass like that.  I remember going for walks with my young children and teaching them to respect other's property.  I would correct them if they just stepped off from the sidewalk onto a lawn or driveway.  The lesson sank into  my children,  and I can see my girls teaching THEIR children, too. 
I guess each incident is a teaching experience for us.  We have discussed at more length some things we should do, and what I should do if Al is not around.  That happens rarely, but as long as he holds his consulting job, there will be some travel requirements.  If I DO fear for my personal safety, maybe I should stay with one of the girls when Al travels.
I just don't like the feeling of being threatened or invaded in my home! 

Thursday, July 8, 2010

It's HOT!

We spent the hottest day of the year, so far, at Beacon Rock State Park, on the Washington side of the Columbia.  Portland temperatures today reached 97 degrees, missing the record of 98.

It was laundry day on Viking Star.  We had refilled the water tank and began motoring up river yesterday.  Three weeks of water and power restrictions had filled the laundry basket to overflowing.  Four loads down (or up, I guess, since they are hanging to dry) and one to go.

We had our hot meal at lunch today, then took books, blanket, chairs, snacks and sodas to the shade on the shore.  Traipsing back and forth to check the laundry convinced me that I did not want to spend significant time on the boat today until the shade reached it this evening.  There was lots of day use of the park today.  There was a bunch of young boys jumping from the dock and floating to a lower dock .  There were jet skis running.  There were three girls sunning themselves--they had to move to the dock as the shade encroached.

Once the shade reached the boat, we returned.  We had sandwiches and cold pasta salad, and now are enjoying iced drinks on the back deck.  Unfortunately, the mosquitoes are looking for dessert.

Tomorrow we head further upriver, passing through the locks at Bonneville Dam and stopping to pick up friends Rick and Christy in Cascade Locks.  We will be participating in a Power Squadron cruise for the weekend.

Here is Viking Star at Beacon Rock.  We are at the end of the dock, so I had to tilt the camera to fit it all in without stepping off into the water!   Beacon Rock is the second largest rock in the world, second to the Rock of Gibralter.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010


We spent the night last night at our favorite anchorage, which we have named Sunset Cove.  Though near the Portland Airport and the 205 Bridge, neither are close enough to bother us overmuch noise-wise.  Same with the  trains that pass by on the Washington side.

There were a few other boats around when we arrived late yesterday afternoon, and a few parties on the beach.

This morning when we finally emerged from the cabin, we were the only boat and people around.

But soon, I heard Al say 'I think there's an unattended fire over there!'  Sure enough, a big log was smoldering on the beach.

Al called the Coast Guard using our marine radio, and soon 911 called us to say a fireboat was on the way.

They readied their water cannon, and fired away!  After a  few moments three firemen disembarked to check it more closely.  We saw a shovel moving sand and they began to wrap up the hose and pull anchor.  As they left, they passed Viking Star, said thanks, which we returned, and they told us to call again if we saw it start smoldering once more.  Nice job, guys!

Monday, July 5, 2010

Artist Renderings

A group of artists we observed on the dock yesterday have returned today.  And we noticed that Viking Star was featured in their works!  I asked permission to photograph, and here they are!  A wonderful way to remember Blues Fest 2010.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

The View From Our Back Deck...

So here is my Social Butterfly, returning from his first dinghy ride through the maze that has become the Blues Fest anchorage.  Al loves to get out and talk to the people and see the boats.  Me.....I would rather sit on the back dock with a good book, listen to the music, and watch the people go by.  The dock is certainly a busy place these days!  And we expect the activity to peak today and tonight, with the Fourth of July fireworks after today's music.

Life on the dock has been very interesting, with lots of sights to see, smells to sniff, and sounds to hear.  In three weeks, we have seen 'teenage' geese lose the last of their fuzz and become indistinguishable from the adults.  There has been a late-comer appear--a single gosling with it's grey fluff, floating with  it's parents.  There has been the distress of watching and listening to two young ducklings be separated from their mother and siblings, the volume of the music and the confusion of the dinghy traffic keeping the mother from hearing her young's cries.  We were glad to see the next day that all were reunited!

And the people!  Boisterous young people.  Friendly sheriffs.  Sun-bathing bikini babes.  Grizzled men.  Lots of dinghy's like to pull up behind Viking Star and pick up/drop off passengers.  So far, all have been very polite, asking permission to do so if we are present.  The crowd disperses from the lawn soon after the musics ends, and many more people visited the dock last night than the night before.  People stay loud until 11 or midnight.  Tonight will probably be much later.

Al is excited to watch Monday night/Tuesday morning as all the boats anchored begin to de-tangle and depart.  He hears that is the best part of the show!

I will end now with The View From Our Back Deck:

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Setting Up for Blues Fest

Here is a shot of 'the bowl' last evening as we walked the waterfront.  It's hard to tell you where Viking Star is--find the Safeway banner on the fence, view up until you see a HUGE boat at the dock, and we are behind that.  Al thinks that more boats arrived yesterday than any other day so far.

I had a heavenly experience this morning!  Al got me a guest pass into the gym, and I had a LONG, HOT shower!  Washed my hair AND shaved my legs.  Conditioned my hair and sat in the steam room.  Then ANOTHER long, hot shower!

When we returned to the boat, Al put another coat of Cetol on the spots he's been doctoring, and then dropped the dinghy into the water.  He hopes to go visiting some of those boats that are anchoring.  But first, lunch and a trip to the store.