Cape Horn overlook


Today I drove from where I had been staying in Portland, Oregon east to the little town of La Grande in the northeast corner of the state.  To do that, I actually spent most of the day in Washington!

The Columbia River separates the two states most of the way from west to east.  The road which runs parallel to the river on the Oregon side is an interstate highway (although I did find a small area on the old highway last week where I took some waterfall photos).  In this case, an interstate highway does not lend itself to good photo opportunities of the river.  The Washington side, however, had the perfect road for my needs.

I spent much of the day on Route 14, traveling west to east from Vancouver, Washington (it was only about 8 miles from my Airbnb in Portland to get over the river to Vancouver) to Interstate 82, which then took me south and back into Oregon.  The portion of Route 14 I was on today was just shy of 200 miles.  I had already done a 57 mile section of it a week and a half ago (from east to west) when traveling down to Bend OR from Wenatchee WA.  That was on a Saturday and the roadside was lined with cars in many places as there were lots and lots of people out on the river engaging in a variety of water sports.

Route 14 changes elevation quite a bit so it provides many opportunities for some dramatic views.  I took 402 pictures today, most of them while on Route 14.  There were very few cars lining the roadside today and VERY few people out on the river (it was a workday after all).

What you see above was the first picture I took today.  It was early in the morning and there was a combination of fog over the water and smoke from wildfires.  As the morning progressed, the lower level fog did burn off, but visibility at a distance remained hazy all day as a result of the fires.

I will be posting more pictures in the coming days after I have had a chance to review them.

I hope it’s not sneaking up behind me


For those of you who might be concerned for my safety as I risk my life to take some of these pictures (and I would like to hope that at least my immediate family members are concerned) let me assure you I take safety very seriously.

First, I always wear my “Safety Sam” vest on days when I am in and out of the car alot taking pictures.  It is one of the bright, fluorescent yellow (some call it green) vests that highway workers wear.  I don’t want to become roadkill, or in this case trackkill.

Second, when walking up and down the roadway to position myself for the perfect shot I try to walk behind the guardrail if it safe to do so (fear of snakes notwithstanding).  When in position and focusing (pun intended) my full attention on the shot itself I definitely stand behind the guardrail.

Third, I always walk towards oncoming traffic, and will usually stop in my tracks (pun intended again) until vehicles pass so as not to present a moving target (easier for them to hit a stationary target, though.  Maybe I need to start staggering….).

If you see a picture which was taken from inside the car through the windshield while still on the road, it was most likely taken while the car was stopped in the road.  If I am on a back road, or even a highway when there isn’t much traffic, I often just stop in the road to save time.  Sometimes the dropoff to get on the shoulder is steep and I have bottomed out the car on more than one occasion getting to and from the shoulder.

Finally, if I pull off a road where there is no overlook or guardrail I am careful NOT to park on the tall, dry grass which is often right next to the road.  These folks have enough problems with wildfires which are started by lightning (or arsonists) and I don’t want to be responsible for causing the JohnBoy Fire which consumes 60,000+ acres.


Full disclosure:  Yes, I admit that on a rare occasion I will take a picture from inside the car while it is still moving (sorry Shawn, I know you’re going to yell at me!).  If I do that it is because there is no traffic in my immediate vicinity.  I know I shouldn’t do it, but I try to be very, very careful when I do.

There have been many times when I have seen what would be a great picture but if there is no safe place to park and get the shot, I just let it go.  It’s not like I don’t have plenty of great photo ops out here….

Don’t even bother buying a ticket


You are looking at what will be the winning ticket for Wednesday’s Powerball drawing.  I have cleverly obscured my numbers so I don’t have to share the jackpot with all y’all.

So here’s how this all went down…

Saturday on the way home from my first big day in Portland I stopped by a convenience store to buy a ticket.  As I was pulling in the parking lot I thought, hmmmm… they draw the numbers at 11 pm Eastern time and I think they stop ticket sales at 10.  It was after 7 local time so I asked the clerk if it was too late to buy a ticket for Saturday’s drawing.  He said “Let me check,” and then told me yes, it was too late.  Well he had printed a $ 2 ticket so I went ahead and bought it anyway.

Point 1 – It was Sunday, not Saturday (duh).  For me nowadays, every day is Saturday.  I can’t always keep track of what day it is.

Point 2 – He had printed the ticket without the PowerPlay option, which can multiply your payout if you don’t win the whole enchilada but qualify for a lesser prize .  Wouldn’t you feel like an idiot if you had only paid $ 2 and then only win $ 100,000 instead of the $ 500,000 you might have won if you had paid the extra buck?  So I thought it is bound to win something for sure.

While in Washington state today I stopped to play the exact same numbers WITH the PowerPlay option, so now I have all my bases covered.


USS Blueback




The USS Blueback is docked in the Willamette (pronounced will-AM-it) River in downtown Portland, Oregon.  I was excited when I learned she had be used in the filming of The Hunt for Red October, one of my favorite movies of all time (featuring an all star cast including Sean Connery and Alec Baldwin).  When I took the tour, however, I learned that it was only a very small role, as a source for inside scenes of the much smaller Russian sub which tried to sink the Red October.  Some of the actual crew members were paid as extras, and had their hair cut and wore uniforms to appear as Russian sailors. Very tight quarters inside these older submarines, and it was difficult to get the then-bulky movie cameras and lighting equipment (the movie was made in 1990) inside the Blueback.  She is NOT the submarine which made the dramatic surfacing scene in the movie.

The USS Blueback is a Barbel-class attack submarine.  She was the last diesel-electric sub built for the Navy and was in the fleet for over 30 years before being decommissioned in 1990.  She carried a crew of around 86 as well as approximately 22 torpedoes.

A blueback, for which she is named, is a form of rainbow or steelhead trout, very similar to salmon, which are only found in Lake Crescent on the Olympic Peninsula of Washington state.