One Apple Pickin’ Moment

Sunday, October 28th, 2007

Yesterday, J., J.K. and I got a Flexcar for a trip south to go apple picking. We took the long route down Highway 99 in order to see more of the scenery. Our first stop was in the strange, seemingly abandoned (even though the population is around 30K) Oregon City. Not only is it one of the older cities to the west of the Rockies, but it has the first multi-lift navigational locks in the nation. They are small, but still in use. The section of the town we saw was pretty weird. Some evidence:

The municipal elevator, built externally from the cliffside like some rejected tower from a world’s fair.

Deciding to go inside.

The elevator is free, but operated by a lady cramped inside a heated plexiglass container with a newspaper and a ledger for tracking rides.

For such an elaborate structure, it doesn’t offer much of a view at the top, nor any clear destination other than a doctor’s office and miscellaneous deserted buildings.

Someone most of have lost his cat on the elevator.

Dolls on display inside a used toy and game shop. This would have been an adventure of its own had the place been open. J.K. is planning to go back to pick up an electric Spirograph.

Pigeons on power lines above the Willamette River.

An oddly proportioned automobile bridge leading into town. It smelled of dead rats at its base.

Three groups of locals were fishing off the tall, reinforced banks of the river. Apparently, their target was sturgeon as evidenced by this fresh catch. A kind man chatted about the fish, and how apparently they can get quite big. Because of the fish’s size and how high up the fisherman were, they would lasso them with a cable after they were hooked. Then they’d use the cable to hoist them up. All of the fisherman seemed to like old conversion vans, either because they were homeless or spending a lot of time at the water’s edge.

Tall roofed wood chipper room of the modern paper mill along the river. After taking this photo, pig faced man came and asked us to leave, despite being on a public sidewalk. No sense in arguing…this time.

Without question, the visual centerpiece of the town is Willamette Falls and the aged industrial facilities built around it. Some of the buildings are still in use, but most are very old and woven together like some steampunk wet dream.

The large building on the left is is straddled on both sides by waterfalls and accessible only by catwalks. Water seems to be flowing into and out of numerous channels and mysterious tunnels. The remains of a power generating damn are visible.

Panoramic of the river facility. Click to view full size.

A museum on the hillside by the river that doesn’t look like it ever gets visitors.

Further south we passed by many fields like the one pictured. I don’t know what this construction is for. Hyper-grapes?

A confusingly named store in Silverton. There must be a lot of pill-popping teens in the town.

The apple orchard in Marquam. We were expecting a huge farm, but it was actually a family orchard. The owners were hearty and slightly inbred looking, but very friendly. The son would stack up plastic buckets into a pyramid and crash his his ridable tractor in them, covering his head to not get bonked. They were very knowledgeable about apples. And the apple were cheap, about a dollar for eight.

Apple detail. Not visible: a rat eating apples under the trees.

J.K. and the apple bucket.

Me being tempted by the non-forbidden fruit.


More apples, picked and ready to sell.

Back at in town, we went to G.’s house for dinner and to make the pies. Here, one granny is being peeled.

Everyone waiting for the pie to bake while watching Rosemary’s Baby int he basement lounge.

One of two delicious fresh apple pies.

It was a great Saturday. Hooray for apples!

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