The Last Lock
Leaving Boyer we were less than 2 miles away from the last lock, Lower Granite Lock. I raised them on VHF 14 from the pump out station and told them we'd be with them for an up river transit in about 30 minutes.
Lower Granite Lock is the 8th and last lock on our journey to Lewiston, Idaho. From there on, it's easy sailing all the way to the Clarkston / Lewiston area, although some earlier travelers must have thought otherwise as they named the area "Hell's Canyon".
By arrival in Clarkston, I suspect Enfin to be amongst the highest Nordhavns in the world, at an altitude of over 700 feet above sea level.
So far up the river, there is much less traffic, with only the rare barge and a few cruise ship once in a while.
Ever the curious ones, we checked how much a cruise up the river would cost on one of these American Cruises ships we saw regularly. About US$1,000 per day per person for a whole river cruise of 11 days, or about US$22K for the 2 of us (without Princess) before excursions and tips.
Di's getting a better deal on a private yacht, and with a professional Captain too!
It's farmland all around, the region is a desert with only about 8 inches of rain a year, and close to 300 days of sunshine a year. Amazingly we had 2 days of rain in Clarkston, so I suppose we saw a major part of the yearly rainfall in only a weekend.
After a long day of navigation we reached the end of our chart book, all 99 pages of it. It shows the long trek we did from Astoria and then Portland.
On arrival in Clarkston we had planned on going to a marina indicated in our electronic chart but as we got close it was clear the marina was in poor condition with broken docks, and uncertain dredging. We could see sandbars where the water was supposed to be deep, and a condemned dock where we believed the water would have been deep enough for us.
So we backed out, and aimed for our backup plan: A public dock further up the river. We asked the jet boat tour operators to confirm which dock was the correct one, as there is no sign to be found, and they pointed to the nice new solid dock a couple docks down. No water or electricity, but a safe and easy mooring.
Up the ramp from the dock was a small public park on one side -perfect for Princess- and a restaurant on the other. Perfect for all of us since Princess got to eat some salmon and some ribs too.
It'd been a long time since I had ribs, probably well over a year ago before my unexpected stay in France, so I enjoyed my full rack the right way: Eating with my fingers and getting sloppy.
We even got decent WiFi during our stay thanks to the restaurant.
The area is close to the major shopping center in Clarkston so we got to replenish our fridge and freezer. Most importantly we got plenty of croissants for the trip down.
A good spot to stay for a few nights, provision the boat, connect with the world after a few days with no internet and just enjoy ourselves.
We were joined later on the dock by a very nice couple Adrienne and Peter on a Southerly 37. The Southerly is a nice boat I've looked at many times in our search. Shallow drafted with a lifting keel, it's a go anywhere sailboat. It was fun to see them next to us. The size difference between it and Enfin was staggering, and reminded us how many home comforts we get in our boat.
Before we leave we'll go a few hundred yards up river into Idaho to mark the fact we got there by boat. Then we'll turn back, picking and choosing our stops on the way to Portland.