Friday, July 6, 2012

Well, one holiday is over....we spent a very quiet Fourth of July at our campsite, making s'mores and watching the fireworks over the Columbia River. We did some exploring though as Debi and Josh had not taken the walk that Jasmine and I did the other day. Josh wanted to see the railroad tunnel. An interesting side trip to McNary lock and dam rewarded us with a ship going up stream. So, we got to watch the navigational lock in action. After loading the ship in the lock, it filled with water raising the ship 85' from the Columbia River to Lake Wallula. Pretty amazing. Tomorrow is a travel day as we will be heading into Oregon and Memaloose State Park. Since we don't like Interstates, we will be staying on the Washington side of the Columbia, through the Gorge and crossing over on the Hwy 97 bridge, just west of the John Day Lock and Dam.

A  quick trip to the local Home Depot, some PVC pipe, some fittings and a little glue and viola, a home stand to display Old Glory for the Fourth of July.

Here is the ship headed toward McNary dam. Actually it's a barge and a tugboat. They don't sail large vessels commercially very often. These barges are used instead. They bring goods up stream from Portland to Lewiston, Idaho, and return with potatoes and grain.

Arrived at the dam and headed into the navigational lock. The passageway is between the two concrete barriers. Once inside the lock the gates are closed and the lock flooded, raising the vessel 85' upward. It is all done by gravity fill and takes about 15 minutes.

Here's another shot of the vessel proceeding into the lock. You can see the huge gates that are now open waiting for the ship to enter.

Fifteen minutes later the vessel pulls away from the lock on Lake Wallula, 85' higher than when it entered. It will then proceed up stream to the Snake River where it encounters several more locks until reaching it's final destination.

Here is Mama Osprey keeping a very close eye on us below. She has two babies in the nest on top of the pole.  This nesting platform was put on top of an abandoned telephone pole left over from when they moved the railroad tracks. They have a camera mounted nearby that allows viewing of these beautiful birds in the Visitor's Center at the dam.

My treasure hunters looking for valuable loot. Actually all they found was some neat driftwood and two unburned sparklers from a bag of discarded fireworks. I wish people would adhere to the adage, "Pack it in, Pack it out, leave nothing but footprints"....instead we found their bag of trash and some spent 40 caliber shell casings....Happy Fourth of July....D

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