Canada 22, 26th July 2006

I headed off up river, up the Columbia River.

I wasn't planning to go far, just as far as Longview Washington, because some maps showed it as a pretty route. I was going to do it as a figure of eight, crossing over in the middle.

I called by a museum before the ferry, it was closed Mondays. Of course, today is Monday.

I just had an email complimenting me on the quality of my photos. Well, yes. I do take a great deal of time and care. Such as this one. I held the camera out of the van window while driving down the freeway at 50 mph. Of course the most important thing to do when taking a photo like this, if you want to get, and keep, a good photo, is to remember to wrap the camera wrist strap around your wrist.

The idea of the next picture is rather nice don't you think? The major roads at Longview meet at a large tree lined square. I guess a number of squirrels were getting squashed crossing the busy road so they installed a squirrel size bridge high up in the branches. Today it's not really needed, the trees have grown and now meet over the road, no problem for a squirrel to safely cross from one side to the other but the bridge is still there.

Jumping forward a day, this deer needs to learn to cross faster if it's not going to get squashed. Not every driver will stop to take it's photo. Especially the trucks which start down this road at 3 am.

I visited the visitor centre in Longview and got directions to the museum and to the other visitor centre in the town. I had a couple of postcards to send and the other centre had postcards, this one didn't. Micki now lives in Longview Texas, also Tim Propes has his ace repair shop Kahunas there. I've just checked back. I was so shaken to find Micki had lost her repair shop that I forgot to mention that Tim had been looking after my van for the past 18 months and had checked it over for me, including fitting 2 new batteries, before I got back to the US.

While remarking things I forgot, although I mentioned the Spruce Goose was the biggest airplane of it 's day, and about the size of the biggest aircraft flying today, I didn't say that it was 6 times the size of the next biggest aircraft flying at that time. Just imaging someone building a plane today with a wingspan of a quarter mile, and carrying 4000 people, and then building it from wood.

I collected my postcards and headed to the museum. It was shut on Mondays. Wait! I've just written that. Maybe it's a local thing, museums shut on Mondays? So I headed for the beach, watched kite surfers for a while, and looked for a parking spot. I headed up a side road - the one with the deer above - and stopped right at the end, beside a locked gate. I pulled right off the side of the road, fortunately as it turned out.

At 3 am I was awoken by the sound of a truck. It was a huge truck, with a trailer, the driver was unlocking the gate. He drove past me, and returned about 30 minutes later. Around 6 he was back again, then returned after 30 minutes. No big problem for me, I went straight back to sleep each time.

I met him coming back for a 3rd run when I left at 8.30. Later in the morning I called in at yesterday's first museum that was closed Mondays. It didn't open until mid-day...............The Riverside Interpretative Centre was also closed. I'm beginning to think there's something about Washington.

This is the Columbia river looking towards Astoria, the place where I went for a trolley ride and saw the rodeo.

I called in at the Lewis & Clark Interpretative Centre at Cape Disappointment. It kept me interested for a couple of hours. But it's competing on this level with some amazing places and I give it last place. I stayed too long to catch the national kite museum near by, it closed as arrived, so I parked in the car park for a wild life refuge.

At 5.30 am there was the most enormous din from an engine, then two. I peered out of the window. There were two hovercraft heading out over the refuge. There are a lot of mud flats so I guess hovercraft are a good idea. I noticed later the two vehicles with trailers by the boat ramp were official refuge pickups so I guess it was refuge staff going out checking on things, counting birds maybe. Again, I went back to sleep, I didn't need to count anything.

It was drizzling in the morning, no good for photos. I stopped at the museum in South Bend. I don't think I've seen such a hotch potch of fascinating stuff. There were things stacked on top of other things, in front of other things, behind other things, on the side of other things, and round corners. All in the space of a decent sized dining room. I went round 3 times, kept finding something new, that I'd missed before. I said as much to the curator, he said that was his idea. I took a photo in the museum. It's all out of focus.

My hair has been getting a bit long round the back. I noticed a barber doing nothing, so I asked how much for a tidy up round the back. Oh, a couple of dollars he said. So I've just had my annual haircut.

I bought bread and looked at the view over the river. There were 3 people taking lunch at a picnic table. I passed by, and said "bon appetite", as you do in France. Hah! They were French, 2 sort of local, from Seattle, the third a visitor from Paris. So we chatted a while, pleasantly. In French of course.

On to the town of Raymond. First the carriage museum. Some very well restored horse carriages, they were like new. Wonderful. I took a couple of photos. Both out of focus. I would have thought the camera might have been bust, except one dreary photo I took of a steam engine outside was perfectly in focus.

Then, next door, the town museum. There were no other visitors and I received a guided tour. Nice.

I continued on to Westport. Around the port there were RV parks everywhere, almost full. At the end of the port was a huge public parking signed RV park. I parked there.

There was only one other camping car there. Inhabited by Scott and Diane, they were going fishing in the morning, $100 they said per person to go on a fishing boat so they were determined they were going to enjoy the trip. Like me they didn't see the sense in paying $25 for a camp site when here was free. Of course there are no hook-ups, no electric, nothing. But what can you expect for free? Here there was a sound tarmac surface.

Best regards

David Barker
On the road in the USA

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