Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Barging on the River

The Columbia river, that is.

We had stopped near the Bonneville dam not too far upstream from Portland, then moved on to the John Day dam further upstream. 


On the trip down in November, I had stopped on the lookout high above this dam and thought it looked inviting as a possible boondocking spot, but did not have the chance to check it out further.  I stopped again at the same spot, and then went down to check it out further.  On the way down the hill, we almost caught up to this paraglider.


As we got further down the hill a number of RV’s parked on the river bank came in to view – always a good sign! Turns out it is actually a COE park; free camping, 14 day limit! 


We were soon set up and out went the slides and up went the dish, for the first time in almost 2 weeks!


Most of the other RV’s appeared to be fishers, and both banks of the river were lined with platforms, used by native fishers when the fish are running.  None were in use now.

And for barge watching, this was a front row seat, literally a stone’s throw from where they came by to enter or exit the locks.


I caught a glimpse of the elusive Columbia river cougar, hunting for a snake in the grass.


She really wanted to climb that tower!CIMG5378

The next day was looking pretty good, so it was an opportunity to check out the camping options and scenery on the other side of the river.  We had to backtrack about 6 miles to the bridge to get to the other side of the dam.

There we are – camped just to the left of the tower in the photo.


There were a few informational plaques on this side, but no visitor center.  There was free camping on this side as well, much of it in paved parking lots, but I preferred the far side where we were.  Plus this side was right by the interstate, which might be audible above the river noise?  Either way, there are railroad tracks on both sides of the river and the barges are fairly frequent, so there is always something to watch.  It was starting to get a bit breezy, so out came the guy-lines for the tripod!


And finally, from the archives (well, a photo from a few weeks ago anyway), this unknown bug perched on the outside of the window, and I took this photo from the inside.  I was surprised what detail my point and shoot camera produced.


to be continued  …


  1. looks like you found yourselves a great spot to sit for a while!!!..enjoy the view of the barges!!

  2. Well have to walk down there in the next day or so and say hello to you... I'd love to meet your furry beauties...


  3. Well have to walk down there in the next day or so and say hello to you... I'd love to meet your furry beauties...