Sometimes I know exactly where I am going. In that case it’s easy, pick a route and go.
More often I have an idea where I’d like to end up, and generally speaking a direction to go.
Once in a while I just follow the front wheel and see where it takes me.
The Hanford Reach. Has a nice sound to it, being the last free flowing stretch of the Columbia River. 51 miles of free flowing river that makes a bend around one of our newest National Monuments, the Hanford Reach National Monument.
The monument includes the old Plutonium Production Reactors. You see, the Hanford Project is where the US made the Plutonium for the first atomic bombs and production at the site continued until the end of the cold war and the signing of the Nuclear Reduction Agreements with Russia.
This photo, looking out across the Reach shows the last two electrical producing reactors on the site. Only one of them is active and a reminder of an incredible boondoggle from the 70s and 80s. The state and federal government decided it would be a good idea to build Nuclear Power Plants at the site. 5 of them were designed and mostly funded by bonds issued by the State of Washington and backed by all but one of the utilities in the state and some in Oregon. They ran horribly over budget and only these two were ever completed. Most of the residents of the state paid artifically high power bills for 30 years to settle out much of the debt.
It's such a bucolic looking place, on this part of the reach it's almost hard to believe that the nastiest superfund site in the nation is there. There are litterally tens of millions of gallons of sludge and liquid waste from Plutonium production that are leaching toward the river. What a catastrophe that would be.
There is a huge soft fruit orchard here on the civilian side to the river and many more up on the ridge above the river.
It's a really special place for me, the Hanford Reach. Literally millions of Chinook Salmon spawn here every year. I've seen the millions of geese on the river during the height of hunting season (it is a no shooting zone). It is just loaded with wild life-deer, elk, coyotes and every bird of prey that inhabits the region. It is the very last bit of the wild Columbia. It was just plain good to go back this summer.
Thanks for coming along for the ride.
All words and photographs in this post are mine. For better or worse
You want some real motorcycle travel? Check out Velimir. That’s some kind of motorcycle writing.
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