Sunday, October 16, 2011

Look Out the Window

It was supposed to be a sunny, balmy weekend hereabouts, so we decided to crank up the camper and spend a couple days at one of our favorite sites in the Gorge. This is a small park, only fifteen or so slots for RVs, but the season is over, the camp host gone, and the woman who takes the reservations said it was mostly empty.

At one point, we briefly had the place entirely to ourselves, and there were never more than four rigs there.

Of course, it rained most of Friday night, was foggy and cloudy most of Saturday, and rained again Saturday night but hey, this is Oregon, we know better than to believe the weather guys. We did get some sun breaks today.

Yesterday, as we were lying about and reading, we looked up to see a small cruise ship pulling into the dock along the little channel where the fishermen usually have their rods set. There's a bridge over this little side passage, so the boat was gonna have to back out, but lo, there it was, The National Geographic Sea Bird, tied up nice as you please. 

Crew put down a ramp, but nobody but a couple of them debarked. 

This is a small ship, but the biggest boat we'd seen there. Four decks, hundred tons, shallow-draft, with thirty-one outside cabins for sixty-two passengers, in some cases, a couple more. Twenty-four in the normal crew, 152 feet long, with a lounge, gym, and assorted small boats and kayaks for the passengers to play in. 

This we learned though the aegis of the internet as we watched them put the gangplank down. Instant access to knowledge, here in the future. 

After twenty minutes or so, a couple of tour buses arrived, and passengers left those and began to board the ship.

We walked the dogs down, and were surrounded by passengers who'd had to leave their critters at home. What happens if you are a dog person and away from your pack? you offer affection to somebody else's dog if you come across one. 

We learned that this was a week-long cruise from Portland, retracing part of Lewis & Clark's expedition. Out to the sea, then upriver, stopping for hikes and museums and viewpoints and like that. 

Costs for the trip range from just under two grand (double occupancy), to $4600 if you want a big cabin to yourself. Includes meals, park fees, bus, like that, but not airfare, nor alcoholic drinks ...

This is a sister ship to the NG's Sea Lion, which sails the Inside Passage to Alaska.

Today, a motorcycle club pulled onto the dock, for a break and to use the bathrooms. Forty bikes, some of them with passengers, but hardly outlaws. Mostly middle-aged riders, gray-tops, probably three quarters of a million bucks worth of hardware, easy, big Harleys, Yamahas, Hondas, some traditional three-wheelers, a couple of the new two-in-front-one-in-back trikes. 

Always an adventure ...

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