First of All
- First day of our Great Loop Cruise
- First friends met along the way (big surprise)
- First night camping in the boat on the drive east
- Wanapum Dam
- Glenns Ferry
- Miles Cruised today: x Power: y; Sail: [Driving Miles: 500]
- Total Miles Cruised to date: 500 miles
- Hours Underway: 10
- Fuel: 29 gallons
- Morning House Battery Reading:
- Wind Speed: 15 – 20mph; Wind Direction: NW
- Daily High Temperature: 88
- Water Temperature: NA
After more than a year of planning, and at least 6 months of intense preparations, we’ve finally begun our journey. The last week at home has been hectic and exhausting, trying to finish up last minute projects, completing several home maintenance tasks and minor repairs, doing some major home cleaning, and preparing the house for its hand off to our house sitter. We were up late on the last two nights, but by this morning, the house was in order, the truck and boat were packed, and it was time to leave. As we were stowing the last few items into the truck around 7am this morning, Sandy’s good friend Claudia spotted us while on her morning walk. She marched up our driveway to give us both big hugs and a hearty farewell. It was a great way to start. 7:20 am and we are underway.
In the first 20 or 30 miles of a long trip our minds usually go through a sort of mental checklist, and every so often our stomachs tighten as we wonder if we remembered to pack some key item. However, we drive along without identifying any serious omission. The miles pass quickly as we drive down the Wenatchee River Valley, cross the Columbia at East Wenatchee, then drive down to the agricultural Columbia Basin, and then follow the Columbia River south, toward the Hanford Nuclear Reservation. As we approach the recreational community of Desert Aire we’re passed by an SUV, and we notice the couple in the vehicle wave enthusiastically as they swing back into their lane. We think they are simply admiring our MacGregor and drive along. However, after a couple of miles we notice that they are still right in front of us, pacing our speed. The car has Arizona plates. As the entrance to Desert Aire nears, they wave again and it hits us. They must be our good friends Mike and Karen, who used to live at Desert Aire but now live in Arizona. When they turn off we follow, and we both quickly park and jump out. What an amazing coincidence to meet like this while driving down the highway. We consider it a great indication of happy coincidences to come, as we start off on this trip.
We reach our first milestone shortly before noon, as we cross the Columbia River into Oregon, at Umatilla. We stop for lunch at a rest area a short way beyond Umatilla, and then proceed onward across northeastern Oregon. Around Baker City the sky turns dirty brown – wildfire smoke. It gets so dense that cars are driving with headlights on. It stays like this all the way to the Snake River and our entry into Idaho. We’re now in the Mountain Time Zone, which means we lose an hour on our watches. It’s after 6pm local time when we finally pull into Three Island Crossing State Park at Glenns Ferry, along the Snake River. This is historic country, along the famed Oregon Trail. Wagon trains used this place in the mid nineteenth century to ford the Snake River, while on their way to western Oregon. The campground is green and inviting, with lush grass and tall shade trees, a welcome oasis after crossing the dry and featureless Snake River plain. As we’re setting up for dinner, we discover that we forgot to pack paper plates. Barbqued skirt steak is on the menu and we don’t want to marr our new plates with cut marks, so we hit upon the idea of heating up some flour tortillas and making fajitas out of the skirt steak. The dinner turns out great, and we’ve discovered a terrific new boat dinner idea. After dinner we go for a walk, over to the day use area and along a trail which leads to an old river ferry, marked by an interpretive sign. Quail and cottontail bunnies hang out in the brush, and white pelicans fly low over the river. It’s 10 pm local time, and the campground is not quiet. Temp is in the high 70’s, and the new fan inside the cabin feels good. Our upgraded companionway bug net went up easily, keeping the bugs out but allowing the air and sounds of the night in.