Once again, as is the seeming custom for the past three years, Jenn and
I trekked out to Clatskanie to do the fireworks show with
This time, I got some photos of the trip, so folks who aren’t native
Oregonians, or even folks who are, who somehow always tell me about how
“beautiful the drive is” around these parts… I got photos to show you
it’s not all that.
First, we packed up the car with all nature of interesting things:
We updated the list from last
year, removing a few
things we didn’t end up needing and adding a few we decided we did:
- Two (2) shovels - One scoop, one spade
- Two (2) pairs leather gloves (one for each of us)
- Two (2) folding camp chairs
- One (1) folding camp table
- One (1) cooler filled with:
- Six (6) bottles water, two (2) frozen
- Six (6) bottles Gatorade (fruit punch flavor)
- Two (2) moist wash cloths in plastic bags
- One (1) army surplus canvas jacket (for Travis to wear during show;
Jenn to borrow fire uniform)
- One (1) pair knee pads (for Travis to wear during show; Jenn doesn’t
- One (1) digital camera
- Two (2) books (for reading during off-times)
- One (1) iPod
- Two (2) cell phones with car chargers for each
- One (1) bottle Excedrin Migraine
- One (1) box pseudoephedrine
- One (1) box DayQuil
- One (1) bottle SPF 45 sport sunscreen
- One (1) can of spray mosquito repellant
- Two (2) pairs sunglasses (one each for Travis and Jenn,
- One (1) beach umbrella
- Two (2) hats (one each for Travis and Jenn, respectively)
- One (1) pocketknife
- One (1) metal rake
- One (1) container Wet Wipes moist towelettes
- Assorted boxes dry food (crackers, granola bars, etc.)
To that list next year, we need to add one (1) box Imodium (don’t ask)
and we will probably have to substitute some pseudoephedrine analog
since Oregon has screwed all cold and allergy sufferers with their new
anti-meth laws and now pseudoephedrine, the only working decongestant,
requires a prescription. Thanks, Oregon, that’s really solving the
issue. But I digress.
We packed up shop and set out for Clatskanie.
The next two photos show what the trip looks like. Again, this is for
those folks who keep insisting the drive is “so beautiful” or whatever.
The whole trip is one of these two ways:
Either you get “beautiful” rolling brown grass fields, or you get the
“excitement” of seeing trees trees trees trees trees for miles on end.
Let me tell you, you grow up in Oregon, the drive’s not so awesome. Been
there, done that.
Once you get to the small town of Clatskanie, you are welcomed with a
The sign - “Welcome to Clatskanie Heritage Days” - is interesting
because it’s only one day, to my knowledge. Just the Fourth. Not “days,”
but “day.” Heh.
Okay, so you get into Clatskanie and you have to wait to go down to the
fireworks site because people are lining the streets to watch the parade
go down the only major street in town. The town’s effectively shut down
because you can’t get to an entire side of it, due to the parade.
So Jenn and I end up eating at Subway. When the lunch rush shows up to
Subway, you know the parade is over and you can get down to the
The wastewater treatment plant is through town and down a gravel road.
In that picture, you can kind of see the yellow fireworks truck in the
field on the right. If you can’t make it out, that’s okay - here’s what
it looks like when you get there:
The dirt is the trench we get to fill with mortar tubes. The black pile
is a few of the tubes - the rest are in the truck.
And, of course, for those curious, here’s the wastewater treatment
plant proper (this was taken later, when the truck had been moved away
from the trench):
So the big part of the day is putting mortar tubes into the trench that
the city dug out with a backhoe for us. Here are the mortars getting set
up at various stages of progression:
Once you get the mortars buried, you load the shells into them. Here’s
the whole thing, set up and ready to go:
The ones at the end have aluminum foil over them to ensure they don’t
go off inadvertently during the show due to debris accidentally lighting
them. In the middle of the show, if one goes off early, folks won’t
generally notice. If the finale goes off early, you’ll notice.
Greg actually kept a
of the loading process and has some good pictures, if you’re interested.
Definitely worth checking out. I think he’ll later be putting up a time
lapse video of the setup. I’m stoked to see that. Anyway…
The rest of the day is spent “camping,” sort of hanging out waiting for
the show to start. Here’s the group of us in front of the trench. You
can see how big the trench really is in this one. It’s gotta be a good
couple of hundred feet.
Camping there isn’t too exciting, hence why you bring a book or
whatever. I spent some time harassing a nearby llama (talking to it,
walking around calling to it, etc.), which was kind of fun.
10:00p was showtime, and the show went well (as usual). I lit several
and also stood back to supervise some and make sure all the people who
wanted to light shells got to, helping Greg swap people in and out.
Cleanup was a pain (also as usual) and my back and neck are sore today
from pulling the mortar tubes out of the trench. We ended up getting
home about 1:00a, exhausted, dirty, ready for shower and bed.
I’ll definitely be doing it again, but I’m hoping Greg gets off his
lazy ass and gets his commercial driver’s license so we can do a
different show. The Clatskanie show is fun (and hard work), but it’d be
neat to see something different next year.