Columbia River Boat Trip Day 6

Elochoman Marina – Mile 38

We began our day with a hearty breakfast at P.J’s about 2 short blocks from the marina. Excellent food and service. P.Js also has a bar.  There is a local brewery opened Thursday, Friday and Saturday. We were there on a Wednesday, so we did not have an opportunity to try it out.

There are showers and a clean restrooms. The office and gas pumps open at 9:00 AM. We fueled up with 13.7 gallons and headed for Astoria.

When we got to The Port of Astoria, the guest piers were covered with sea lions. There was no where to anchor. So we headed over to pier 39, where we were able to speak with Floyd at the Astoria Scuba and Adventure Sports to arrange moorage.

Pier 39 has several different attractions, Coffee Girls, Rogue Ales Public House and a museum. Astoria has a large port with several attractions. You could easily spend several days there enjoying everything Astoria has to offer.

 We took out at East Mooring Boat ramp to end our great Columbia River Boat Trip.



Columbia Boat Trip Day 5

We showered and ate breakfast at Port of Camas. It was a real rainy morning and a little windy.  We left Camas at 10:20 and headed for St. Helens Marina. Arrived at St. Helen’s Marina store at about 1:17 p.m., Mile 86. Filled up with 12.4 gallons of fuel. It was raining pretty steadily. We passed several different cargo ships anchored in the river waiting to be loaded. Also passed an anchored paddle wheeler. While passing through Longview,  Washington we saw them pulling out a cargo ship. They used 2  tugs,  on pushed the stern upriver while the other pulled the bow down river.

A ways past Longview we passed  a ship that looked like it was dredging the riverbed. Nothing was coming out. We were wondering if it might be mining for some type of mineral or something other mineral.

We also we passed a stern paddle wheeler docked on the Washington side.

The ship we saw pulled out of dock in Longview caught up with us so I pulled in to a bay and let it pass. Then we fell in behind and took advantage of the smoother water.

We worked our way through the Cathlamet Channel passage to Elochomen Marina in Cathlamet.  By the time we got there the fuel station had closed along with the marina office. So we chose a spot to tie-up, paid the $13 for moorage and $8 for power. We walked into town ( 3 blocks max) and had dinner at Sharon’s Pizza and More. The pizza was plenty big and plenty good.  Than we settled in for the night.

In the morning we decided to eat breakfast at PJ’s Pizza Burgers & More.  It was a short walk over. The breakfast good and service friendly.

Photo of PJ's Pizza Express - Cathlamet, WA, United States

Elochomen Marina is well protected from the wind. The facilities are clean and modern.

With that we headed to Astoria and ended our trip.

Columbia River Trip Day 4

We left Hood River Marina, Mile Marker 170, about 8:49 in the morning. Hardly any wind and very little waves. Took advantage of the lull in the wind so we experimented with the trim tabs and adjusting the engine trim. In these conditions trim tabs all the way up and boat motor set to put the bow down got us the best MPH at 4000 RPMs.  At 9:45 we got into some weather, a little rain, a little wind, but still pretty small waves. At 10 o’clock we passed the town of Stevenson Washington and a paddle wheeler was unloading. At 10:15 we arrived at Port of Cascade Locks.  This is a main embarkation spot for the tourist boats. Restaurant, gift store and restrooms but no fuel has advertised. This created some concern as we were planning to top off the tanks at Port of Cascade.  To conserve fuel, we continue to run with trim tabs all the way up and cruised at 3200 RPMs. 3200 RPMS gave us a speed of anywhere between 8 to 12 miles per hour. By staying in the main current channel  we gained 3 to 4 miles per hour.

We passed through Bonneville Lock and Dam with no trouble at all. The locks on Bonneville Lock and Dam are on the Oregon side. Click here to see a short video showing an actual lock through telling the lock master this is our first time locking through Bonneville Lock and Dam. This video helps show how friendly the lock master are when you tell them this if your first time locking through. Don’t be afraid to tell them you are ne, everyone is new at doing something at some time. Asking for additional information is OK. The Bonneville Lock and Dam controller is on channel VHF-FM 14.

After locking through, we tried to stop at Rooster Rock State Park, the entrance was way too shallow for our boat.

We continue down the Columbia River at 3200 RPMs. We arrived at the Port of Camas, mile marker 122, about 3:30 in the afternoon. We were able to fuel filling up with 13 gallons.

The folks at Port of Camas are real friendly. There are shower and restroom facilities here. There is also the Puffin Café with nice friendly service. puffin_cafe_2They open up at 11 o’clock for lunch.  We fixed dinner and settled in for the night. We’re glad we’re tied up to the dock the wind and rain is picking up. Plus, the waves are getting a little bit big for a comfortable ride.

Columbia River Trip Day 3

Columbia River Trip Day 3We monitored our weather apps and saw that wind would be picking up about 10 a.m. in on the Columbia River area we were heading. After fixing a quick cup of coffee, eating a granola bar we headed for the Dalles Dam. While planning for our adventure down the Columbia River, I did not really locate a YouTube video demonstrating how to “Lock Through the Dalles Locks.” Click here to see our attempt at an informational video. When locking through a dam, you contact the lock master informing them of your intent. Using marine radio channel 14, or calling them on the phone. You may say something like this: “Dalles, Westbound Foote’s Rest requests lock through instructions.”  If it’s the first time you’ve locked through, tell them that. They will slow things down for you. Normally they will tell you what you need to know. When you’re westbound you will tie up on the Washington side. The lock master will tell you the side to tie-up. It will be either the Washington side or Oregon side.

After passing through the Dalles locks, on the Columbia river we docked at The Dalles Marina.  We moored next to the fuel pumps and called one of the volunteers to come down and fill us  up. You’ll find their phone numbers on a bulletin board on the left side of the dock. He was very friendly and helpful. After we were done fueling we called our friend Dave, who showed us around the area. He took us over to visit the Schreiner Farms, who raises and protects many types of animals. They work with animal rescue organizations and zoos. We had lunch at the Water’s Edge Restaurant. It’s cafeteria-style ordering,  service was okay  food priced between $10 to $20, outdoor seating  with view of the river. It was really a lot of fun and we really enjoyed spending time with Dave.

After having fun at The Dalles, we headed further West down the Columbia River. Another fifteen Miles downriver to Hood River Marina (mile 170) where we topped off the tanks with 9 gallons.

After settling in our guest berth, refilling or ice chest and cleaning up. We headed over to Portway Ave. near the river. To find a place for dinner. It was a short one mile walk , click here for map. There are a number of places to eat on Portway Ave. While walking over to Portway you could to into town by just making a left on N. 2nd St. We decided to eat at to Family Friem, Brewery and Resturant.  We enjoyed the local brew with our dinner of bratsfamily_friem_menu_2. Service was good the brewery nicely decorated, service was good, has a river view. Menus items cost $6 to $17.

Across the street from the marina are several stores. There are two gas stations that sell groceries and such, a Starbucks and McDonalds.

Columbia River Trip Day 2

Continuing our adventure down the Columbia River. We left Boardman about 8 a.m. in the morning. Stopped at Arlington Oregon mile marker 240 and filled up with 19 gallons of fuel.  Than we continued down the Columbia River to John Day Lock and Dam. The locks are on the Washington side.

Locking through the John Day Locks and Dam am on the Columbia River. Short video showing an actual lock through as a first timer. The lock masters are real friendly particularly when you tell them this is your first time locking through. Don’t be afraid to tell them you are new, everyone has the first time or two. Asking for additional information is OK. The dams are on VHG-FM Channel 14 of the marine radio. John Day is the second dam West of the Tri-Cities in Washington state. The Tri-Cities comprise of Richland, Pasco and Kennewick. This is my first lock through on the Columbia and my first filming, so please do not be to critical. My films showing locking through procedure for the Dalles and Bonneville dams are better. John Day dam was our first attempt at producing a short film showing how to lock through a large dam.

After locking through, we went on to Miller Island. We arrived about 2:15, on the Washington side, and waited outside a railroad tunnel for trains to go through. It was a beautiful sunny day so we just got out the lawn chairs and floated around waiting for trains to come by. It was a great day. After we were done with that. We decided to stay, We found a cove to anchor. We figured we would stay in what we thought would be a well-protected area in case the wind came up. Well it wasn’t really well protected. We did have wind but the anchor held through the night. About 6 p.m. a small cruise ship passed by, that was kind of neat. We saw two Amtrak trains come through and a bunch of freight trains.

Columbia River – Day 1

We left Richland Marine Park  part of the City of Richland Parks & Recreation, map, bright and early about 9:30 in the morning.  We began at river mile marker 331. We first went up river looking for a restaurant for breakfast, but were unable to locate it so we turned around and headed down river. The locks for the McNary Dam are on the Washington State side. We braved the day and went through our first lock at McNary Dam at 2 p.m.. Everything went well. We were surprised how far down you drop. Stopped at Umatilla for fuel about 17 gallons.  After leaving Umatilla, we were going to try some bass fishing, in an area that looked promising. But the water got to shallow real quick. Almost grounded, the water depth went from 80 Ft to 2 ft in a matter of feet. I was glad we were going real slow. Put it in reverse and avoided being grounded. Headed down to Boardman. Then the wind picked up and waves were between 4 and 5 feet high. We were able to get to Boardman’s in their sheltered Marina.  After securing the boat, we walked into town for dinner. A Short 20 minute walk brought us to C & D Drive In, a nice place. We had their  baked chicken wraps. We went to bed about about 9:30. In the morning, we were concerned about high winds again and big waves. So as Bob got the Foote’s Rest ready to go, I walked back over to C & D Drive In and got two of their deluxe breakfast burritos. Plenty good and filled us up.


Helping Hands From My Friends

Excitement is building as the finishing touches are put on our grand trip. My friends with the The C-Brats organization have really improved my trip. I am getting great ideas and more importantly, things such as “if I see dirty gray or brown clouds forming over the hills, down river, it is time to find shelter ASAP or NOW!”  This little bit of information can sure come in handy if need be.

Final Weekend to Get Ready

tmp_16502-camper-tarp-8104136Spent the going to the boat. Went through Pantry, check. Went through systems, check. Put up camping tarp, check. Cleaned up coolers, check. Tested the barbecue works, check.


Columbia River

Next week my good friend Bob and I are heading down the mighty Columbia River, which begins in Canada, runs through Eastern Washington than along the Oregon and Washington borders. We are going to put in at Columbia Point Marina Park, in Richland Washington. We are going to take 7 days to work our way to Austria, Oregon discovering places for boat in dining. We will also do a little fishing while we are at it. One of the more exciting parts of this trip is going through locks at 4 different dams along the Columbia River. McNary is the first followed by John Day, The Dalles and finally Bonneville.