wind farms and the C.A.R.T.

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Monday, October 01, 2007
The Crazy Ass Road Trip is a longstanding tradition in my family. We did not have a lot of money when I was growing up, but that didn't stop us from having on the road adventures. (Gas was cheaper back then, and curiosity, as always, is free.) ANYWAY, what this means is I have seen many weird things that were spotted on a map and tracked down with casual yet borderline obsessive zeal. It often went something like this: "What do you suppose they mean by biggest hole/tree/ alligator/ etc.?" "We'd better go check it out. Girls, get your things." And off we'd go. None of this is really important except to give a little background by way of explanation -- when my mother says something seemingly crazy like "I want to take pictures of these county courthouses, and I want you (meaning my sister and I) to go with me," it's not as weird as it sounds. Or it IS as weird as it sounds, I'm just used to it.

These particular courthouses were in Moro, Condon (eastern-ish Oregon) and Goldendale, Washington -- east of The Dalles and west of Pendleton, more or less. It's so beautiful in such a different way than the western valleys of Oregon (where it rains -- what most people usually think of when they think "Oregon"). The normal otherworldliness of the eastern Oregon landscape was amplified on this trip because our journey took us through Wind Farm country. It was so surreal to come up over the top of a hill and see the spinning wind turbines -- unexpected, but so beautiful in its way. This particular grouping of turbines crosses state lines. I could see them all the way over on the Washington side. (Granted, the Washington side isn't far, but still!) According to the official website, this is an excellent area for wind farming due to the big sky and consistent wind (no doubt from its vicinity to the Columbia river gorge). So interesting! Here are some pictures from a one day Crazy Ass Road Trip. Most of these were taken from the car and don't really do justice to the vastness of the landscape or the COLOR. The fields were a lot more golden than they appear on camera.

out the window on the way to goldendale
(no wind turbines here, but the contrast between the hills and the clouds was spectacular in person. I took this one on the move -- I just rolled down my window and snapped.)

afternoon in eastern oregon
(!!! -- this is so pretty I almost can't stand it! No turbines here, either, but they were on the other side of the road. This is the view from the turbine side. I have to say the clouds made taking pictures easier.)

(the road. Doesn't it look like a car commercial? Did you know that they film lots of car commercials in Oregon for this very reason? I think it would be terribly fun to drive in a convertible roadster of some sort, a completely different kind of fun on a bicycle, but I can report with certainty that it is plenty of fun in a regular car. Those mountains in the distance are on the Washington side of the Columbia.)

wind farm
(here they are! They seem huge from far away, and they ARE huge up close.)

wind farm
(more of them -- I wish I could have taken a picture that showed how many of them there were. It was something to see.)

In non energy producing, road tripping or family story related news, there has been a chestnut escalation! Today there were TWO chestnuts on every post at the park. You wouldn't think that would make it twice as fun, yet somehow it does. (there was also a Mystery Key, but I believe it was unrelated.)
3 comments on "wind farms and the C.A.R.T."
  1. Oh, thank you for the pictures. I get the idea now. That sure looks like lonesome country. Maybe those graceful wind machines make it a little less so?

  2. If anything, Patty, I think they make it look even more lonesome. There's a sense of standing on top of the world exposed to the sky when you're out on those hills. The windmills with no people anywhere near make it seem kind of other-worldly.

    I grew up in Goldendale, and every few years I still get a chance to drive through. I love to stop the car out on some back Klickitat County road and just drink in the solitude.

    Thanks for posting those pictures. You took me back home for a few minutes.

  3. Joel's right, Patty -- the windmills make it even more lonesome, somehow. But still beautiful! That part of the state is so unbelievably lovely, but in a gently austere way.

    Thanks for stopping by Joel! Nice to hear some details from a former local.


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