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row,row,row your boat...

This is a slightly long report of a ski trip we took to Bend,
Oregon during the recent floods. We left our house in Seattle
last Thursday evening and returned home yesterday....


Winifred and I just returned from a ski trip in Central Oregon and
got a firsthand view of quite alot of damage. Wow!!!

We started our journey Thursday night after work. When I got home,
Snoqualmie Pass had just opened. We gathered up a friend, our
stuff and headed out. It was pissing buckets until we got over
the pass to Ellensburg.

We ate dinner there and saw the best graffiti of the trip. It
was on a 3-channel condom machine in a trucker's cafe. On the
first label it said something like "Bill someone is an asshole"

The second channel said something like "If Bill CLinton's mother
had used one of these, we wouldn't be in the trouble we're in"

The third one just said "Tarp your load, Bill" beneath the
graphic of a condom. SOmewhat appropriate....

We left Ellensburg and headed through Yakima and down to Toppenish
where we hoped to catch 97 down into Oregon. No sooner had we
turned the corner when we saw a roadblock with a state trooper.
He informed us that there was about 3-4' of water over the road.
He said the road was passable with more clearance, but he would
let us make the decision. The river was expected to crest at
2 am so we found a motel.

Upon checkin, we decided to go get some beer. Over to Safeway
for Grant's IPA (some of Yakima's finest) and back to the motel
in time to catch Beavis and Butthead. "Buttniks" was on - one of
the best episodes I've ever seen... ;) (Great Cornholio, etc.)

The next morning, we were informed that the road would be closed
indefinitely. The trucks that had passed last night were now
stuck due to another blockage just north of Goldendale.

We went north to catch I-82 south and saw lots of flooding along
the roads. We decided against Bill's favorite route through Mabton
and went all the way to Hermiston.

When we crossed the Columbia, we noticed it was quite high. All
of the feeder rivers and streams were as well. 

Now we had to get both west and south, so we looked at the map.
We paid careful attention to the rivers on the map and chose
road which crossed rivers at right angles. We avoided those
roads which paralleled the rivers - turned out to be a good choice.

We went west on I-84 until the Arlington exit and headed south
on 19. This lead us through Condon and then we headed toward Fossil
and on through Antelope. We had to ford water (1' or so) at
Willowdale. Just after fording, we saw a fish cop and asked about
197 to 97. Fine was the answer. The rest of the trip to Bend
was uneventful.

With all of the disaster about, there were no cops on any of the roads
we went. Even the state police offices were closed with all staff
manning roadblocks. Unfortunately, I had snows on the Audi so I
couldn't maintain a real high speed. We did manage to do a ton
at one point, though.

The roads we discovered will be great this summer - plenty of twisty
and isolated asphalt...

We returned via 26, which had been closed due to a slide. The road
had sunken as well, with one area about 2' lower due to underlayment
washing out. This section was just northwest of Warm Springs.

I-5 from Portland was just messed up. A large slide over the north
lanes happened just north of Woodland. It brought down trees and
shrubs - it looked like the mound of dirt had been over the freeway
for years!! This caused a detour of about 5 miles - using the left
lane of the southbound side, a single northbound lane could proceed.

At Chehalis-Centralia, there were logs on the sides of the road.
They looked like so much driftwood on the beach. At an RV dealer,
I noticed all of the 'bagos and trailers huddled in the corner
of the lot. They had all floated there - there had been up to 10'
of water over I-5 there!!!

Got home yesterday without any more trouble. Lots of damage about
in Pierce county (south of Seattle). I hear Clinton will visit
Portland tomorrow.


-steve powers   '95.5 S6 ... '95 620RX/C ... '91 K100RS-16V ... '88 R100S
spowers@spdg.com                                      seattle, washington

"I must tell you that these are strong Bavarian beer-carrying horses,
not the smaller ones of Italy" (Ferdinand Piech, when asked why Michele
Mouton's '82 Quattro only had 330bhp to Lancia's 310bhp)