This morning, I’ve been enjoying a rare privilege of sitting outside in the sunrise, with a cup of coffee and a dog companion.
The breeze is up; a welcome change from this summer, when all we had were lighter winds that heralded the change from hot to hotter; or from strength-sapping oppressiveness to I’m-glad-it’s not-so-awfully-hot-today.
We had a strong cover of smoke and cloud last night, so we didn’t get very cold; about 58° overnight. This morning we have an East wind of about 10 knots, varying up and down by about 7 knots each way. We have some light ashfall coming from the fires in the Gorge, but nothing like earlier.
The humidity is way down; in the high teens to low 20s. I’ll miss that, but I’m glad to trade it for cooler weather and rains to put out the forest fires.
Locally, the Archer Mountain fire is under control and is being slowly knocked down. This is the fire that is only about ten miles away from us and was raining ashes and blackened evergreen needles everywhere here for a few days. There was a lot of concern about some of those ashes still being live, but thankfully, no secondary fires.
Now the haze and smoke are almost to the point of being oppressive. Our house is tight, and we’ve kept it closed up, but my poor wife is suffering terrible coughing fits. Out here, my eyes are streaming, and even the light effort of watering the flowerbed brings on coughing.
And right now, we have no health insurance. (This is a post for another time, and I need to let my rage at the Dilbertian COBRA payment system cool a bit before I write about it.)
Back to the weather:
Here are some photos of how things are right now. I’ll start with a few grab shots on my way home yesterday. I-84 is finally, finally, open westbound, meaning that my two-hour drive is finally back to an hour.
On the way home, anyway.
It’s still almost a two-hour drive to work. At about 50 MPH, as we’ll get some slowpoke up in front of about forty cars, someone who is completely oblivious to the line behind. Listen, WSDOT: If you want things to be safer on SR-14 in the Gorge, put up a few signs. I even have the slogan: “Keep a mind for those behind. If you want to go slow and sight-see, please pull over periodically and let everyone by.”
So back to the drive home. Here’s a shot when it was safe to grab one on the I-84 highway. I’ll say up front that camera angles won’t be perfect, as I prefer keeping my attention on my driving, rather than grabbing a snapshot. Visibility was about 2500 feet at this point, but in some places you had to be careful, because it would suddenly go down to 100 feet. You can see a big patch of smoky obscurity coming up:
These photos also show the great curse of automatic cameras: due to software tweaks, they see better than you do. Keep this in mind as you look at these photos. Things are quite a bit more obscure than you see here.
Here’s coming into Cascade Locks. Note how everything looks so deserted. Well, yeah, and smoky.
Crossing The Bridge Of The Gods. You can’t see the far end of the bridge – and it’s not all that long.
Looking East, toward Cascade Locks:
And looking West, toward North Bonneville. Yes, those are streamers of smoke from the forest fires.
Finally, home… And the Ridge is just a looming presence in the haze.
Oh yes, we can’t wait for the rain. It’s been since June 15th.