Posted by: bkivey | 25 October 2020

2020 Vacation: 26 September

I spent the morning of the day looking at the BNSF railroad yard just north of downtown Pasco. The railroad stuff is at the link, but there was a bit of non-railroad excitement. While looking for a place to park on the east side of the yard, I noticed a USAF C-17 on what looked like an approach pattern. The Tri-Cities airport is right next to the railyard, and I wasn’t aware of an Air Force base in the Tri-Cities. The nearest airbase is near Spokane, but they don’t host the C-17.

So I’m keeping an eye on the aircraft while parking, and as I find a place, I realized that Holy Crow! It’s going to fly right over me! There wasn’t time to unship the camera, so I grabbed the phone and started snapping away without being able to see the viewfinder.

My first experience with the C-17 was as a contractor working on a C-17 hanger at McChord Field, now Joint Base Lewis – McChord, at the time one of only two C-17 bases in the country. The aircraft is impressively large, and I’ve liked the no-nonsense look of the airframe. It looks like a piece of equipment that gets the job done, and it has.

This aircraft made a touch-and-go at the airport, then headed East.

After poking around the railyard, I headed home, first south on US 395 to I-82, then the exit for WA 14, and West.

Near the junction of I-82 and WA 14 is the McNary Dam and Locks:

The locks are in the foreground on the north bank of the river. This is a common arrangement along the Columbia.

Heading west on WA 14, with some Oregon wind turbines on the opposite bank:

I made the crossing at The Dalles, where there is also a dam, and the bridge. The dam is just behind and slightly to the right.

I grabbed some gas and grub, and parked in a hotel parking lot overlooking the river and bridge. There was an official bug trap:

The Burlington Northern Santa Fe (BNSF) railroad runs along the north bank, and you could hear the train a couple of mile before it appeared. There must be a grade, because the locomotives were working hard:

A towboat makes its way through the locks:

Looking for an airplane, but settled for a bird:

And so back to Portland, and eventually home, on the familiar I-84W. As I’ve said before, the drive through the Gorge never gets old.


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