Friday, September 10, 2010


REMEMBER THE FLOOD I MENTIONED SOME BLOGS AGO? When the ice-blocked super lake Missoula suddenly broke through about 10,000 years ago--in one huge gush, it ripped across the state of Washington below present day Spokane tearing its way to the ocean through that u shaped gap there and smashing through the mountains themselves creating the Columbia river gorge. Think I'll go down there to impress you with the power of that deluge---the greatest surge of water in geologic history.
From my side window--the thousand feet of solid rock that was sliced through. What do you think this has to do with you and me today? Glad you asked!
The flood carved out the Columbia river of course---AND GAVE THE OCEAN WINDS A CHANNEL THROUGH THE MOUNTAINS. And wow! do the winds take advantage of it--blowing fiercely almost day and night. Can you see the whitecaps. And so what? you say.
Well here's what------We can power our world by seizing this opportunity. Just in the past few years--our clever engineers have been capturing this power and feeding it into the grid. I was told that one large windmill--turning--can supply 400 houses with electricity.
Along with the hydro power generated by that dam back there. Can you see the hundreds of them clustered around this dam for convenient transmission.
But there's more--and I've come to this unique city--Hood River Oregon to experience it. Can you believe this fine camping place--spent the night right there after engaging the night watchman.
Next day I'm out to get the story--beginning with this guy. He's carrying everything needed to race across the water in the relatively new sport of kite sailing.
He and hundreds more come to this particular spot because its the best place in the world for it. And this whole beach--by general consent--is given over exclusively to it.
And here they are in action. Shakespeare said it best: "What a piece of work is man----In moving, how express and admirable------The beauty of the world---the paragon of animal." Kites are about 80 feet in the air. A skilled surfer can make the kite lift lift him 20 or so feet into the air.
And then 200 feet to the left is a different sub-culture--wind surfing. The more difficult sport to master according to my sources and slightly faster than kite sailing. $2000 will get you started.
Here are these guys in action. The kite surfers are just to the right---- clashes are rare.
Thrilled as I was--one day was enough and I moved on toward Portland--stopping to walk in a tiny town where I heard the sweetest sound--calling me--truly irresistable bleating--I followed it and found these adorable creatures who wanted some playful attention. I gave it.
Had to show you this---my kind of guy---somehow got his camper way up there--a cat-bird's perch--great spot to camp---considered joining him---or her.
RANDY PHILOSOPHIZES ABOUT SUB CULTURES: I belong to several sub-cultures, as do you--very likely. I'm a blogger, an RVer, A Unitarian, etc. Sub-cultures are voluntary tribes. It is the genius of our age to have multiplied their number and made our association voluntary, so that no one need be friendless. However, eccentric your taste, there are no doubt many who share it. There's a whip club in Phoenix--saw them practicing in the park; a mule club in Tucson and I read about a group bonded by their common enjoyment of the smell of skunks. I sing the praises of the internet for letting us find "our kind". In most cities you can google meet ups and find your precise cup of tea.


Dixxe said...

I saw a documentary on the Mega Flood you are writing about, unbelievable how one can read the geology left behind, a subject Im very interested in!
That camper has found pure solitude, Almost
~Im sure they have no idea that their quest for that solitude has actually brought them into the focus of many---even a camera, and a blog, and next the cover of Time, it reminds me of when I lived in NYC, someone is ALWAYS watching you!! (paranoia? no reality)
Love the little nana goats~~

JimBob and Miss Bette said...

Randy, if you ever get over to "our side" of the continent, check out the Outer Banks of North Carolina- a haven for windsurfers- On a good windy weekend there are folks from three or four states around- All healthy outdoor types, living in their cars, chasing the wind/surf, as we did in Southern California back in the early sixties!!!!!


Jim said...

It's a technical distinction but it's my understanding that most of the "wind" in the Columbia River area is caused by hot air rising from the vast plateaus on both sides above the river valley. This creates a vacuum and air rushes in from the coast to fill the void.
As the wind seems to quiet down each and every night once one is away from the coast proper, it all makes sense.

Randy said...

Thanks Jim--hadn't heard that explanation. Perhaps both factors work together--with the flood-cut channel acting as conduit for the draw. Didn't know that the wind dies down nightly.