Thursday, August 25, 2016

Stevenson 98648

When I accompany my travel buddy on his windsurfing trips, I usually end up in the van with a book to read and a bag of junk food by my side.  (Boredom is fattening!) But this time, his destination was Stevenson, Washington, a cute little town of 1,500 on the north side of the Columbia River.  So I left Daniel Silva and the Reese's Peanut Butter Cups behind.

Of course, leave it to me to find the whiskey and beer tasting rooms, as well as a restaurant with tasty, pulled pork sandwiches.  I discovered a good old-fashioned diner, too, high on a hill overlooking the river, so maybe, just maybe, he can talk me into joining him again with a promise of a burger and fries. 

I was thrilled to also find two women's boutiques and actually bought a summer dress for sale, much to Mimi's delight.  There were also a few art galleries and a gardening shop, so I kept myself busy for a couple of hours.  Then I took a long walk by the river and to the outskirts of town.  Just me and my camera.  This kind of aimless travel is something I really enjoy.  I try to find the "heart" of a place and capture it with my lens.
But as I meandered my way back to the windsurfing launch, I realized the "heart" of Stevenson is the Mighty Columbia River.  The town is located 44 miles east of Vancouver, Washington, on State Route 14.  Its heyday belonged to the era of the steamboat.  Many such boats, between 1890 and 1920, docked here to be loaded with cordwood.   Indeed, there is still a Port of Skamania here with office space for lease, but there seemed to be a lot of vacant space.

In the parking lots, I noticed many license plates from other states:  Utah.  Arizona.  Alaska.  And even New Jersey.  People had driven thousands of miles to windsurf or kite on the Columbia River.  They would be leaving at summer's end and then the tiny town of Stevenson would once again belong to the locals.

And to me.  

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