Cooling It on the Columbia

Somehow, overnight, the Weather Service decided that the 80% chance of rain Saturday should be changed to only 20%. The sun was out most of the day and the wind was relatively calm, although it was supposed to pick up to gale strength for a while later in the day -- that could get the bus-house a-rockin'. It all doesn't really matter anyway since we thoroughly enjoyed the day off.

Arlington is where Doc Severinsen was born and spent his formative years. Those younger than about 40 probably don't even know who he is, but those of us who enjoyed the Tonight Show during the 70's and 80's know him well. As a young child he really wanted to play the trombone but his dad, a dentist, somehow brought home a trumpet, which young "Doc" took to quickly. At the age of 7 he was invited to play with the High School band and was touring with a traveling band by his early teen years. He's still alive, living in Mexico, and playing concerts and benefits when he feels like it. Dar and I saw him in concert many years ago and have fond memories of his light-hearted humor and his talent with the horn.

We took a long morning walk around the port and the town. With a population of only about 500 people, there's not much here, but the basics are covered... a grocery store, a hardware and liquor store (nice combination, Huh?), post office, library, gas station, and a couple restaurants. Tucked into a small valley along the River, there's a constant din from the Interstate Highway and the busy Union Pacific rail line that follow the southern bank of the river. But the town feels very comfortable and relaxed. I rather like the feel of it.

In 1963, part of the town was moved southward and higher into the valley to avoid inundation from high water resulting from the completion of the big John Day Dam just downstream on the Columbia. I'm guessing the port facilities where we're parked were created at that time too.

We made another trek into town about mid-day, had a light lunch at a local eatery, dropped some mail at the Post Office, and picked up a few needed provisions at the grocery store. On the way back to the port the predicted stronger winds arrived, along with a little rain, and we hunkered down with a couple movies the rest of the evening.

On Sunday, we're moving South to the John Day area in Oregon. I don't know what internet access will be like in those parts, so if updates to the journal are a little sporadic... well, that could explain it.

Thom Hoch
Arlington, OR.


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