What I Did On My Holidays


Chapter 28

The Falls

26/11/99
Day 20

I'm not referring to a series of Autumns in the title, I'm referring to the vertical rivers we saw today. But first, let's start the day with breakfast.

John's breakfast plan involved a trip to King's Omelette, a local food joint that he terrorizes, I mean frequents, so often, that not only do they know him, but they reserve the "loud" table for him over in the corner. Now I've always considered a bowl of cereal to be an essential part of breakfast, but that's not to say that an omelette or steak and eggs washed down with a couple of cups of coffee don't make a good start to the day. After lettuce with soy sauce in Japan, it doesn't seem so strange.

Getting from John's place to the King's Omelette required EV transport of course. One Red Beastie and three Zappies. I got to experience riding a zappy, tagging along behind two of John's EV friends, Marko and John (a different John. Really. John Wayland may seem a little crazy but he's no split personality, I think...)

A Zappy is pretty easy to ride. It's a normal scooter with an on/off switch. You just push off and above a certain speed, the power assist kicks in and away you go. Once you get the hang of it, you realize it's not a bad form of transport for short distances. It's easy to use, quicker than walking and there are no parking hassles.* But once the initial thrill wears off, it's just transport not sport. (until you join the discussion group for hotting up Zappies) On my second Zappy ride, I found the pulling wheelies was a fun challenge and that it took mud and wet leaves to achieve a rear wheel slide... now it's sport again.

I then get the fun rides in John and Marko's EVs, Baby Blue and Fiamp. Baby Blue is a Datsun minitruck that John (Wayland this time) converter in a day for a TV documentary. John (not Wayland) now owns Baby Blue and hasn't completed the conversion to Mr Wayland's satisfaction. It has no stereo!

Fiamp is a little green Fiat 600 that has a passing resemblance to a goggo mobile. A lovely neat conversion with its biggest drawback being it's cold in Portland in late fall, Marko likes driving fast and Fiamp has no side windows. Brisk.

After a quick spin on the Heavy Metal Garden Tractor, we headed to the Columbia River Gorge. Why? Because the scenery and the waterfalls are good viewing.

Let's start with the fact that the Columbia River is really, really big. 2.2 miles across and 200ft deep I believe. This river is so big that in places there are islands in it that are larger than some Pacific island nations. The term gorge is not overly appropriate for the part we saw. Gorge brings to mind a river between two steep slopes. The Columbia River is so wide that it doesn't look like a gorge but a great expanse of water with hills on each side. Sort of like San Francisco bay. It may be different further up stream, but we weren't there.


Columbia River Gorge - note the itsy bitsy cars in the foreground

Along the sides of this so-called gorge, there are lots of waterfalls. We stopped and had a look at Latourel Falls, Shepard's Dell, Multonomah Falls, and Horsetail Falls. They were all amazingly amazing, "Ahsome" as some Americans would say. We were totally stoked to see them as some others might say. Normally, these falls were impressive, but it had rained for the previous three days, so there was lots and lots more water to fall than usual. The locals were surprised by how much water there was. We were merely thrilled.


Splash!


* I have no commercial association with the makers of Zappy. But if they would like to give me one, I'd be happy to accept. (back)


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