A Dam Good Time

I don’t know about all of you, but I’m curious about EVERYTHING. So I’m always passing things on the road wondering what they are, what they do,  what they’re about… This intense curiosity was in full force as we left Richland, WA headed for the Columbia Gorge area in Oregon. On this leg we passed two areas that baffled me:

1.) Miles of earthen bunkers behind barbed wire fences. *Note: We, UNFORTUNATELY, didn’t take pics – so I pulled these from the internet – but they’re a great depiction of what we witnessed while passing by.


2.) Miles of huge, perfect square plots of trees – right off the highway. *See above note about pics.


These odd things stuck in my mind for days! Once my phone was charged, I had cell service, and I had another night of insomnia – I started to Google the hell out of this stuff and came up with the following explanations:

Umatilla Chemical Depot

Boardman Tree Farm

I hope even one of this blog’s readers find this stuff interesting! It was so rewarding to find the answers to my questions from the drive.

Moving on…

This leg of the journey took us to a free camping spot right next to the John Day Dam. We stayed at Giles French Park . This area is run by the  U.S. Corps of Engineers who also built and manage the dam. This was a really interesting spot for several reasons: being flanked by train tracks that ran a lot of freight several times a day (kind of annoying but also what brings most the stuff we buy to our local stores – so an ENTIRELY necessary evil), huge barges running up and down the river daily, the dam and its locks, the pelicans and other birds that sought refuge on a small island in front of Merlin in the Columbia River, all the tribal folks fishing along the river on scaffolds due to treaties with the Tribal Nations and State/Federal agencies (evidently, it was the most epic of salmon runs in a 100 years), and the incredible views along the gorge.

Also cool about our locale was that we were so close to and had the chance to visit the US version of Stonehenge, a beautiful art museum perched atop the Columbia River, and a winery on the same perch!

Since we’re on the go most of the time – we don’t have the chance to research our next stop until we arrive because we really never know where we’re actually going to stop Merlin for the night (and our access to internet is unpredictable). We have TOTALLY lucked out finding awesome stuff to visit and explore! It may not be the best way to travel – but it’s working for us most of the time.

While in Richland, we realized that our hopes to head back to northern WA and explore Bellingham and the Olympic peninsula were not going to mesh with our current time table – we decided to continue on the 84 along the Columbia River in Oregon, meet up with friends that would be in Portland, and do a few fun stops along the way. This change of plans will also, hopefully, give us the chance to hit up a few of the National Parks in Utah (Arches, Canyonlands, Capitol Reef) – we shall see how it all plays out…



One thought on “A Dam Good Time”

  1. I don’t care what anyone says. Those earthen bunkers are for the impending zombie apocalypse and I know it! Old weapon storage, my tuckus!


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