Day 128. Wednesday 4th September. 2019. Hat Rock State Park Oregon to Horse Thief Lake State Park. Washington.

What a glorious camp site we have tonight. No other campers except the Camp Host and his wife who are in their large RV (Recreational Vehicle). They have been living in it for the past 14years. It has an 8L V8 Chev petrol engine that does 7mpg!!!!

Leaving the camp site this morning we were only 20min from the next town of Umitilla. After filling up with diesel it took us three attempts to find the right road to head west. It was Hway 14 across the river in Washington State. We chose that instead of the Oregon side as it was a secondary road and much quieter. 

Crossing into Oregon last night I noticed immediate changes. Lower and more sensible speed limits, for us anyway. Motorcyclists required to wear crash helmets. The latter must upset the biking fraternity as through the rest of America they wear their rebellious nature with long grey hair and beards steaming behind them, some of them anyway, and sleeveless leather jackets with various insignia. 

This is a beautiful drive beside the Columbia River. Sun bleached grasses on the hills on our right  Interspersed with plantings of grapes and other fruit. Apples and peaches mainly. And the glistening wide river on our left.

We stopped at Roosevelt, a tiny settlement that had a Mini market Store. Only it had no real food to buy. Chippies or crisps and other junk food. What the town had though, was a 1936/7 Plymouth rusting away on a trailer, waiting for someone to take it home and restore it.  My guess is the person that bought it had the same idea, but it never made it off the trailer and now both are rotting away.  

There is much sadness following the building of a couple of Hydo Electric dams across this magnificent river. Native American Indians have lost their ability to catch Salmon migrating up it, at the falls which are now submerged under the waters, behind the dams. The traditional method of catching the Salmon was to build platforms over the edge of the falls and using long poles and Elk hide sinews, snare the fish as they leapt up the falls. They were paid $26,000,000 for the loss of customary fishing, but can it compensate?  We noted many set-nets in the water and signs advertising the sale of Salmon, so the tradition continues?   

At a point overlooking the traditional meeting places with a number of informative illustrated panels, we noticed an elderly couple taking in the view. An animated chat continued with Fed and Louise. It’s Fred’s 93rd birthday today and they were out enjoying a scenic drive. Louise, a youngster at 90, told us she remembers the scene before the dams were built in 1957. Remembers the native people congregating on the river banks watching the pole fishing going on.

Talking of birthdays, Jen has one coming up tomorrow. We are going to celebrate it in some style, when we are back in the UK. 

The scenery is special. Mount Hood dominates the scene in the direction we are travelling. Rising to 11,239ft. It’s partially obscured by UV and no doubt a mist of pollution, but set at the end of the road and river in front of us, it’s lovely.

It was only 3pm when we pulled into the camp site but not before driving a little closer to the river to see the petroglyphs that had been rescued from the river banks before they were flooded by the rising river. They are only a few of the thousands that are now under water. 

It’s only 90 miles to Portland and we will complete that by 2pm when we have an appointment with a tire fitter to have four new tires installed. The ones on the Landy have done over 40,000 miles and thought they still have a couple of thousand miles left, for safety reasons, we’ll change them now. This new set should get us back to the UK. 

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