Great Ambition

"It's a rough life, but someone's got to live it!"

Ten years and still going!

This is the continuing story of our new life as River Rats on the Columbia River aboard our Trimaran Cruiser houseboat we named Great Ambition.

If you want to see how we got here (and hints on how you can do it too) see Great Ambition, the beginning.

Click here to go to the archive of our tenth year.

Click on this link to see the latest!

Click here to see a map of our travels!

Click here to see what happens when we have a flood!

Why I write this blog.

If you like my backgrounds click here.

We took advantage of the great weather forecast and moved to Southend, a grueling quarter mile journey. We are going to stay here as long as we can.

A nice shot of a Bald Eagle.

A Bald Eagle flying away. Such a sleek creature!

A boat beached on the Oregon side of the river. You should have used a Boat Valet!

A Bald Eagle in the tree behind us. There are a lot of them here!

Another Bald Eagle, or maybe the same one, they all look alike to me!

I'll see your Bald Eagle and raise you a pair!

Lots of Bald Eagles, and our presence isn't driving them away at all.

A couple of horses came to visit from Frenchman's Bar.

Another group with horses, but their ride did not go according to plan...

A Sternwheeler, American Pride heading downstream.

An Osprey with a fish.

The Moon setting over the river. On the right you can see a red light, that's Daymarker 32 blinking across the river (red, right, returning).

American Pride coming back upstream.

We are using Lil' Ambition for making our runs into town. It works great, and the new top makes it look great too.

A pair of Bald Eagles.


It's great being able to swim right off the front deck and enjoy the beach at the same time!

Three Bald Eagles and three Canadian Geese. They seem to be getting along...

One of our neighbors at the marina, Juneta is our for a cruise.

An Osprey hovering looking for fish to eat.

It's great being here where we can watch the river, this time we catch a ship dropping her anchor, preparing to spend a few days in the fresh water of the Columbia to kill off barnicles and other invasive marine pests before picking up her cargo and heading back across the Pacific.

It's hot, and the Bald Eagles, who are covered in a hot winter coat all the time have only one way to cool off. Panting.

One of our neighbors is getting kicked out of Washington state and he has to take everything at his marina with him. Here goes one of his bigger items, a steel barge.

Another sternwheeler, this time it's Queen Of The West

Another Bald Eagle panting in the heat. You can even see his tongue!

A Bald Eagle coming in for a landing.

Yep, Lil' Ambition makes a nice ferry to get back to the marina.

A beautiful Bald Eagle.

The pool is open!

Speaking of pools, the pool back at the slip is doing great. We sometimes visit it to take a dip, especially after a day of swimming the sometimes murky river water to rinse off.

The Moon.

A Juvenile Bald Eagle. Their white head and tail features come in when they reach adulthood.

One of the great things about being on anchor here is that we get a daily show of river activites. This guy really likes healing his boat, I hope his wife isn't onboard freaking out!

We are seeing a lot of this little family.

Bald Eagles with two very different expressions.

A few closeups of a Bald Eagle.

A boathouse being moved upriver.

A nice shot of us at Southend.

A pair of Bald Eagles. We are literally surrounded by eagles!

A deer fawn taking a drink very close to our house.

From our location we get to see a lot of people having fun on the river. Here a mother pulls one of her kids in the river.

People across the river on the Oregon side are having a beach bonfire.

The sternwheeler American Empress heading downstream.

A tug pulling a barge. You can tell because his light tower has three lights lit.

We have renamed this beach on the Oregon side Big Gay Al's because of the nude swimming. When two naked men swim together, you can bet they aren't hetero!

A pair of Bald Eagles. They live here all the time, so it's hard to avoid them!

A Bald Eagle gliding in to land on the beach.

A Beaver.

A very subtle sunset.

Home. Note the swim ladder.

We have been having quite a few bonfires lately.

One of our Fortress FX-23 anchors at low tide. Notice that the shank of the anchor is buried including several feet of chain too. Good holding anchor, it's held for thirty days.

A sunken log found it's way into the slough causing a big danger to boats passing through. Here you can see the slices from a propeller that has hit it at least once.

Deer family.

A Bald Eagle catches a fish!

A special bonfire. My lawyer gave me permission to close my folk's Trust and empty the bank account. To celebrate the end of this most horric episode in my life I burned all the checks from the now defunct account. I didn't really use that many anyway, most transactions were done with electronic transfers.

The deer family again.

We've seen this scar on the West Hills for years, but what is it? It's the Knife River Rock and Gravel Quarry in Burlington, Oregon.

A nice shot of our home from the river.

One of our Fortress anchors at low tide. This one is set for mud at a 45 degree angle, which seems to work pretty well for soft mud and sand alike.

Another of the anchors, this one on the Port Stern. This one is also set for a 45 degree angle between flukes and shank, and look at the effect! The shank is buried in the mud along with ten feet of chain. This anchor's not going anywhere!

Another of our Fortress anchors at low tide. The shank is very deep along with several feet of chain. The world's best anchors and just 7 pounds is holding a 20,000 pound boat.

The moon.

A ship parked in front of us, Giovanna at night.

Someone tried to get out of the channel and missed, so his prop and skeg carved a nice scar in the sandbar.

Bald Eagle. All of these shots were taken from our house, so despite being here for over a month, the eagles have not fled. They don't really care that we are here.

Let me show you how chummy these eagles are. Here is a shot of me on the front deck. Do you see the eagle?

See him yet?

There he is!

One reason we are spending a whole month here is we want to have the Google Earth satelite catch us here. I pasted an image of us at the slip into this 2016 shot of Southend from Google Earth to simulate what we are hoping for.

Beachwalkers from Frenchman's Bar.

A nice zoom sequence with a shot of Southend slough from the Oregon side. How big an impact do we make on the river?

Again, this picture was shot from the Oregon side about three quarters of a mile away.

The doe and her fawn are back.

Sunset through the hazy smoke from the forest fires in British Columbia.

The smoke has the same effect on the Moon.

The Moon setting in the West and the anchored ship in front of us in the river.

A Blue Heron landing.

A Bald Eagle taking flight.

Here's the video of this eagle taking flight.

Another hazy sunset. Look closely and you'll find a sunspot.

A Golden Eagle came to our beach to take a bath. He totally ignored me sitting on the front deck as I took his picture.

And here is the video

A Cable Laying ship heading out to sea.

All of our power has come from our 9 year old solar panels, still going strong. Solar panels lose about 1% of their power rating per year, but because we have moved from desktop to laptop computers and LED instead of LCD TV, we have more than made up for the 9% deficit.

The SS Legacy heading back to Portland with another ship anchored out in the river.

We are back in the slip after 45 days on anchor.

It was glorious, but the Total Solar Eclipse is coming soon and the grandkids are coming up from California to see it.

I like my aluminum swim ladder for my pool, but it corrodes if I leave it in the water for any amount of time. So I bought one of those Magnesium fire starters and screwed it to the underside of one of the ladder rungs. In just a few short weeks it has plated my ladder with a sharkskin like coating of magnesium.

Closeup of the waterline (upside-down of course).

A doe and her fawn.

Getting ready for the eclipse, so I'm trying different ways to see the sun.

The moon just days before the eclipse.

The grandkids are going to want to swim, so the pool is ready!

Eclipse Day! Here is Wolfgang with the eclipse projected onto an easel.

The state has been cleaning out this end of the slough, sad for the property owners, but it gives us new places to anchor close to home.

Sunset. Rather plain, but at least I lived long enough to see another one!

The island beach, looking north.

A doe and her fawn again. Probably same pair we saw at Southend over and over again.

A certain Paul Simon song comes to mind....

All boats are gone from the upstream marina, just one boathouse left.

We are getting buried by ash from the big forest fire up in the Columbia River gorge. My brand new top for Lil' Ambition is filthy!

My poor pool is getting a lot of ash too!

The moon shot through the ash and smoke from the fires in the gorge.

The same shot the next night. A little better!

The private passenger ship, The World as it approaches Portland. She's been continually circumnavigating the world since 2002.

A rather grainy shot of Mount Saint Helens with a sunken wooden ship in the foreground.

Swimming season is over, but here is a nice shot of the magnesium plating on my aluminum swim ladder. It's a beautiful non-skid coating and keeps the aluminum from corroding.


A jet ski in the effeto dio.

A tug heading upstream backwards.

A young deer browsing about 50 feet from our front deck.

A turtle swimming right towards us.

To be continued...

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