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by Dan RogersĀ - Diamond Lake, Washington - USA

I'll hazard a guess. Maybe a dozen or fewer towns around this great land actually start their official name with the article, "The." I did happen to stop at one of them on my way home from Toledo, a couple days ago.

To be specific, it was The Dalles Marina, in The Port of The Dalles. Lewis and Clark had to portage, here. For eons, Native American tribes set aside their differences to gather here and snag migrating salmon by the teepee load. Ol' Man River was a legendary maelstrom. Rapids, cataracts, and roaring vapor made this place famous. And, fearsome.

Not so much, these days.

Most people roar on by on their way east and west. Sort of a hot and gritty little burg, if you ask me. But the sign, said, "launching ramp." It's usually blowing like stink when I'm one of those roaring on by. Not, this time. Flat calm. Hot, for sure. But, CALM. So, why not?

That ramp goes down, and down, and down some more. After I found out the hard way that we don't quite fit in the turn-around down by the water; I got to back on down it, anyway. The farthest distance between two points is often a short cut. But, we made it in, and proceeded to head out to see "the sights."

OK. So, call me an un-reconstructed tree snob, already. But, there were a couple kinda' interesting things, nonetheless. For, example: there is about 150 feet of placid water over the top of those primordial rocks and rapids, these days. It's not only DEEP. The once-canyon walls now serve as quay walls.

And, just in case your mother never got around to telling you how barge babies are made; this is one of those places.

As the man said, "Simple, but elegant."

And, just in case you were wondering. There is certainly a chamber of commerce here. How else, would you explain how that mountain got put in just the right spot?

And, finally, the marina operators must certainly have considered the view from their docks in the basic layout.

Certainly, they must have.

Oops, there I go, being a snob, again. I finished this spontaneous cruise with my normal exhortation, "We may never pass this way again." Perhaps with more determination, than wistfulness. Perhaps.

Without much fanfare, we were off to follow the footsteps of mountain men, explorers, Indian Braves, ox teams, and 100 years of automobiles. By the way, have you launched at The Dalles?

We have!

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