Saturday, May 17, 2008

Living in the Northwest

It's not so much traveling that we enjoy, but living in different places and learning what life is like there. These two Coloradoans are learning how to cope with drizzle and rain for days on end. We bought rain jackets, and a week later rain pants. The jackets are really useful. They are great wind-breakers and help keep us warm when it is damp and maybe a few raindrops fall every few minutes. We have found that 50 degrees is much colder when it is cloudy and humid than when it is sunny and dry.

People who live in the Pacific Northwest, and probably along the northern Atlantic coast, learn to live in this. As I wrote before, when we were in Klamath, California, and on a rainy day told a woman where we were headed, she said, "You'd better get used to this." We are used to staying inside when it rains. If we do that here, we will never be outside. I remember a friend in Granby telling me that when they lived in Seattle, their kids played soccer in rain and snow. In Colorado, little league soccer games are canceled in that kind of weather. I'm not sure about pee wee football. Our sons never played that.

After a week or more of cool, rainy weather, the sun came out Wednesday afternoon. And by Friday Oregon was in the midst of the high heat wave gripping all of the West Coast. We have been able to watch the folks who live here celebrate the sun and warmth with shorts and outdoor activities. We even saw an Astoria police officer wearing shorts, just like two of the workers here at the hatchery. We understand how they feel. Life is just better, no matter what you are doing, when the sun comes out. And you need to wear clothes that celebrate that. Yesterday the high temperature was 93 and we turned on the air conditioner. Both the warmer temperatures and air conditioning help dry up some of the humidity in the RV.

In the volunteer jobs we have had over the past four years, we have learned about people who work in state parks and about the National Park Service, and now we are learning about fish hatcheries. We also are hearing and learning about the US Coast Guard.

From what we have read and heard, the Columbia River bar—where the river meets the ocean—is the roughest there is. We visited the Columbia River Maritime Museum in Astoria, where we learned more about the US Coast Guard, as well as about river and bar pilots, fishing along the Oregon coast. We also went aboard the US Columbia, a retired lighthouse boat.

Yesterday we visited Fort Stevens State Park. The fort was built during the Civil War and served as a US Army base until the end of World War II. In 1942 a Japanese submarine launched several rockets at the fort. The wreckage of the Peter Iredale, an English sailing ship, still lies on the Pacific Coast in the park. The ship ran aground during 1906 while headed for the Columbia River.

We rode our bikes for over seven miles on the wonderful paved bike trails in the state park. In places both sides of the trail are lined with blooming Scotch Broom bushes

No comments:

Post a Comment