Monday, October 22, 2007

Columbia Gorge... part 2

Yesterday was a GREAT day, and today is looking even better.

Oregon's Historic Highway

I got out on the bike and toured a few miles of the 1930s stretch of the Oregon Historic Highway, across from Bonneville Dam. It's an easy ride -- paved, with gentle hills -- and the views are spectacular, as is the old bridge and tunnel work along the way. Everything was still wet from yesterday's rains, so the every tree, every fern, every tuft of moss was glistening in a verdant green you'd usually only see in a tropical rain forest. It was beautiful. Mere words can't describe it (well, at least my mere words). Hopefully, these images will help convey the splendor of God's country. (Click on each pic for a larger view.)

Today, with nary a cloud in the sky and the sun bathing the Gorge in its warm glow, I'm going to do a little more exploring along the western stretch of the Highway and then head east to Cascade Locks and the Bridge of the Gods, and if I have time, I'll continue on to Mosier and Hood River. Heck, I'm feeling adventurous... I might even try to climb down to the base of one of the bridges that overlook a waterfall. Someone get me a rope...

I almost forgot! I do have a neat little side story...

As I was re-shooting some of the images at the Dam, I noticed some fishermen by the banks of the Columbia using a very unique method to get their line out into the water. Usually, with your typical rod and reel combination, and a heavy sinker, you can cast a line out fairly far. And, the longer the pole, the farther you can cast. But, there are limits. Even the best can only get their bait about 1/3 of the way across the river.

But Gene and Chuck, with the engineering genius of Gene's Uncle Howard, have managed to cast their bait over 2/3 of the way across the river, putting them in touch with the deeper water fish that a hand-held shore cast just can't reach. The Slingshot, as the guys call it, is essentially that, a giant slingshot made from steel tubing and rubber hose that launches their bait (with line attached, of course) off into the heavens. A special spool off to the side keeps the line from getting tangled and from yanking the rod off into the water with the bait. Oh, it's fun to watch, and every time they go out, tourists and fishermen alike stop to watch the launch. I was lucky enough to capture a sequence of images showing the launch of the bait (and the 16oz lead weight), and to sit and talk with some genuinely friendly folk.

(sorry about the image alignment. Blogger has its limitations, too.)

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