Sunday, June 27, 2010

Sacajawea State Park to Umatilla, Oregon

20 June 2010, Sunday: Columbia River is sm 325 miles from the ocean. Our mileage markers will decrease as we go down river.

We begin our Columbia river morning(Sm 325) 0630 hrs with cloudy skies and flat seas. We go under a railroad bridge and the long rollers begin. I look way down river and see wall to wall white caps. I tell Ann, Wallula lake is stirred up and to get ready. We are at sm 320 in Homly channel. the winds hit us and the waves toss us around like a rag doll, but we continue to make progress at about 6 knots over the bottom.

If you have ever read the River Horse by William Least Heat Moon, this is the exact location where he gets hit by overwhelming wind and seas and tries to seek shelter for his life, the life of his co-pilot and his Nikawa, a C-Dory 22. He tries to find a location on the chart, but throws the chart on the floor and says,"I might as well tried to look up a phone number from the back of a Brahma bull." Well said, well said; Hira says. Nikawa is steered into a hole in the wall named Hover where they run aground on a gravel bar.
page 468.

I look at my temperature gauge and see I am running near the high end. I slow down and the temp drops. This engine has never run hot. Just then, The VHF belts out, Shatoosh, this is Skol. I'm getting beaten up back here. Is there any place to duck into. I answer back nothing but Hover, but that ate Nikawa. He says, What?  Ok-Ok I'll explain later. We have Wallula Yacht Club ahead. Too Tall sees another place on his old chart, the Walla Walla River, but my chart doesn't show any depths or tressel heights. I tell him we will just have to make the yacht club and see if we can wait this wind out some. In slowing down and trying to find this river on my chart I look up and I am headed straight for the shoreline. I quickly pull to port, feeling a bit like Moon and Nikawa as we all ride the Brahma bull to Wallula Gap. I tell Too Tall about my temp reading and could use some time to check out the impeller on the water pump.

We alter course for the yacht club and the wind seems to die some, making this decision easier to digest.
We pass the Twin Sisters with Skol running pretty in from of them. Skol is like a horse going to the barn, he is high-tailing it out of Hover. We slip into the Walla Walla Yacht Club at 0900 and tie up to the dock. There are several members working on the dock and they welcome us with open arms. The coffee is on, come in and help yourself. they gave us a tour of the place.

The hot coffee is wonderful, we talk story, look at all the sailboats and then I meander back to check out the engine.

The impeller blades/spokes are fine, so I replace the cover plate, and remove some slight debris from the water intake filter. the engine never got hot again. I believe that as we were rolling in the beam seas the through hull fitting was not being exposed enough to suck in the water it needed. It was a necessary thing to check out though.

We take a walk through the ground area to the water's edge with Ruger the Club Mascot to check out the waves. I believe they are lessening, but still with white caps.One of the boaters give us their last rolls as we are out of bread. We finish making our sandwiches, have lunch and then everyone takes a nap. I wake up and find Ann and Too Tall on the clubs couches sound asleep.

a nice shot of white pelicans with twin sister in the back ground.

At 1300 hrs we depart  and Skol leaves Wallula Gap to her stern.

We cross the Oregon line at sm 310 at 1330hrs.. Washington is now to starboard and Oregon to port. We come up on sm 300 at 1448 making 7.2 knots. I speak earlier with my friend Linda who will be meeting us at Umatilla with her Rving friends that with this wind delay I'm not certain we will make the 1530 McNary lockage time. I take the helm and find the faster part of the river, edge up on the rpms and make a call to the lock master. We are 4 miles out, I'd like to make the 1530 lockage. He agrees and gets the lock ready. AT 1540 we enter the locks and are out at 1604 hrs, again hitting the spillway gush at  10.3 k.

Linda and Jan are on their motorbikes and see us as we come out of the lock. Pam, her other friend meets us at the fuel dock. There is no one there so we select slips in the rear of the marina. I have a new grocery list made up, so off we go in Linda's rv and buy enough groceries for the rest of the trip. We get to see all the rigs and all the bikes. Both couples, Pam and Dale; Jim and Jan and Linda fix us a wonderful meal of chicken, asparagus and rice. It is absolutely divine and we are really exhausted.
Dale shows us his compartment in their rv for their bikes. Pretty fancy.

Linda and her gang of friends continued on rv'ing and motorcycling in Oregon and Washington along the Columbia river. She sends me this picture: Now, would you trust these people to fix you dinner? We did and boy, was it great!!

Days run 32nm
Total miles: 176nm