This Space for Rent

Getting out of the house

Today, the Best, the bears, and I decided to reward ourselves with a trip to the fish ladder at Bonneville Dam after cleaning up (some) of Chateau Chaos. We left home around 2pm, and got out to the dam at sometime around 3, and after getting through security we proceeded to the fish ladder and watched fish swim by for about 20 minutes.


Eventually, Russell and Silas got hungry, so we proceeded up to the car for a snack (after stopping in the little gift shop and pushing the chirp buttons on every single one of the stupid little plush chirping bird dolls they had there; I’m glad those are a fad that has past. We were given a plush chirping bluebird a few years ago, and realised the battery was dying when we started hearing s sort of low squeaky ccccccccccchhhhhhhhhhhiiiiiiirrrrrrrrpppp cccccccccchhhhhhhhhhiiiiiiirrrrrrppppp cccccccccchhhhhhhiiiiiiiiirrrrrppppp and couldn’t figure out for the longest time that it was that stupid bird.)


We didn’t see any trains coming or going while we were driving out to Bonneville dam, so we were starting to crack jokes about now that the UP had become a major Evil Party donor, they had decided to stop running trains and instead partake in good old government graft. But while we were digging out the food at our car, along came the first of three westbound grain trains.

After watching the train, and one of the little diesel paddlewheel tourist boards that visits the dam, we went down to the fish hatchery (the abattoir was in operation, this being fish season, but we decided to skip watching them decapitate and eviscerate fish. The bears will have more than enough time to experience that if we ever start fishing for fun), and saw a second westbound UP train while feeding Purina Trout Chow to the flock of rainbow trout that the fish and game people keep there as a tourist attraction. Then we got in the car and headed east to the scenic highway, on our way to the waterfalls. We stopped at Oneonta Gorge so the bears could see the huge logjam at the mouth of that gorge (one of these days we’re going to wade back to the waterfalls there, but we’re probably not going to do it this year with our two year old and four year old. While we were scrambling around the stream there getting our feet wet, a third westbound UP train came screaming by as fast as the brace of U-boats could pull it.


We didn’t stay very long at Multnomah falls, because it was getting somewhat rainy, but just before we left we heard the toooot! TOOOOT! of an eastbound train, so I set myself up to try and take a good picture of the train.



The train was going so fast that the camera didn’t have time to properly focus on the first shot (when we get $50,000 got $1000 ahead, I’ll want to replace it with a digital camera back with manual focus I replaced it with a Pentax *istDS), but the second shot came right into focus (note that the best and the bears got a better view of the train than I did.)

We packed ourselves into the car, then headed west toward Crown Point. Just past the Multnomah Falls parking lot, the road goes up a bit, and then down. As the road came down. I saw what looked like the sunlight reflecting on the railroad alongside the road, then realized that it was too cloudy to be the sun, so it had to be a train.


I had barely enough time to roll down the window and point the camera out before the next eastbound train came blasting past as fast as it could go.


We kept following the historic highway until we reached Crown Point, which was windy and cold, then took the Corbett ramp down to I84 and drove into Portland for supper.

A teeny conrail engine pulls a load of fish

For dinner, we stopped at Sushi Takahashi for a pile of Dead! Raw! Fish!, and I got a change to take a video of a U-boat pulling a slow fish train, and then we went home and almost all of us went to bed, leaving me awake to narrate this story.