Great Ambition

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

Twelve years and still going!

This is the continuing story of our new life as River Rats on the Columbia River aboard our Trimaran Transporter 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 twelfth 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.

Lori texted me: "How would you like to go for a boat ride this morning?" I'm like, yeah! Let's do this! So here they come to pick me up.

So I climb on the boat and get some shots of the hero of Multnomah Channel without her helmet.

Wade helps Lori get her helmet on and with her ski on, she's just about ready to get started.

Now for the red meat of this outing:

Thanks Lori and Wade, that was a fun ride!

Over the summer I put up this flier on the bulletin board for a week or so. Now hopefully everyone knows who Ski Princess Lori is and appreciates her talent. Afterwards I asked around and people were happy to finally know who that was slicing and dicing the water with such finess. I'm sure you get a few more waves Lori!

We had a nice rainbow grace our skies.

Sunrise, on this special day...

This day is special because Dar and Diane have been planning to go sailing the world for the last 7 years. Today they leave for Mexico and beyond, avoiding the snow and cold that us Oregonians will have to endure for the next 5 months. A bunch of residents came by to see them off and wish them well.

Goodbye Dar and Diane!

Fair winds and following seas guys!

Later in the afternoon (after it had gotten a lot warmer) Ski Princess Lori made a few runs past us.

A Blue Heron getting a free ride on a log as the tide comes in.

It's getting pretty foggy these days. No sign of Ski Princess Lori!


One of our neighbors from downstream taking her morning row.

The sun is making some nice color in the sky.

A jetliner taking off in the sunrise.


A little later in the day we had a rainbow.

A nice foggy start to the day.

A pair of geese add something to this shot.

The sun is getting higher!

A plain sunrise.


I keep trying to catch a plane in the middle of the moon, but so far no luck.

An almost full moon.

A stunning sunrise!


Actor, writer, director and producer Don Gordon Bell who is visiting his brother at Sigler Cove wanted to get some video of Ski Princess Lori, and it was all arranged. But she had issues and couldn't come by to pick up Don for Lori's film debut. We joked about it and here Don uses his acting skills to feign disappointment for not getting a ride in Lori's boat. He's a really funny guy!

A really nice sunrise.

And Lori came by, giving me warning ahead of time. I tried to let Don know, but I have no idea where he is, so I think he missed it. But I didn't!

A very sad day. An adult Bald Eagle is drifting down the river, dead. It's not old (the old ones are grey, like humans) so who knows why it died. Very sad.

Lori came by, again giving me warning ahead of time.

At first it looks like it's going to be a clear sunrise.

And then it clouds up.

A nice foggy sunrise.

A floatplane came by and I was sure he was going to land, (shouldn't it be "water?") but he cranked it up and kept on cruising by.


I've been trying to catch a plane in the moon for quite a while now. This one came close, but not quite!

Just before sunrise.

And finally the real thing.

A floating home being moved up the river.

Sunrise. So beautiful.

Another nice sunrise.

A foggy sunrise. It looks like it's out of focus, but that is just the fog.


We walked over to Big Oak marina and got this shot of Mount Hood over the covered moorage.



Sunrise. You can see the sun slowly moving south towards that telephone pole. Once it gets there, it bounches back and summer is on its way.

Foggy sunrise.

A pair of Bald Eagles lounging in the sun behind the marina. I love being able to see Bald Eagles from the back deck of my home.

So I had this crazy idea. I put in these dual bulb fixtures this year, connected them to the 12V lighting circuit for the house and screwed in a pair of 12V LED bulbs. They work great, but as they only have a single SPST pull chain switch to turn the pair on and off, they are not dimmable at all.

But what if I could figure out a way to turn just one light bulb on? I poked around on the web and found a three position pull chain switch and figured out a circuit that would work. When the switch is in the position shown, both lights will be on because the 12V will go to the bulb on the far right, but the current will also flow through the diode to light the inner bulb too. But when the pull chain switch is yanked, the middle setting will be chosen, so the inner bulb will get 12V, but not the bulb on the far right, the diode will block all current flow, so that bulb will not be illuminated. And if you pull again, both bulbs will go out. The parts have been ordered, stay tuned to see how it goes.

An interesting rowing setup that lets you row while facing forward. I wonder where you get this system?


The sun is getting very close to the power pole. It won't touch it, but it will get close. Then, summer here we come!


I got my parts in from Spemco and Digikey. It took just about 15 minutes per light to make the change, but now three lights are dimmable!

To be continued...

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