Some people may not know what off-the-grid or off-grid means, so here it is --- The term off-the-grid or off-grid refers to living in a self-sufficient manner without reliance on one or more public utilities.

Off-grid living is no longer a one room log cabin in the woods. It's energy independency. You don't have to rely on utility companies, you create your own power. Today, there are more than 180,000 off-grid homes in the US.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Road Trip...

12:00 pm - 80 degrees - scattered clouds...

We snuck one last road trip in before this blink and you miss it summer is over and we have to get back into the school routine...and back to working on the house.

Columbia River Gorge

We started the trip out driving through the Columbia River Gorge; it is one of the most scenic and breathtaking sights in the Pacific Northwest.  A deep canyon that stretches over 80 miles from east to west, with a river at its base, the Columbia River Gorge reaches up to 4,000 feet tall in some areas and forms a boundary between Oregon and Washington State, running from the Deschutes River through to the Pacific Ocean.  Here are a few of our stops...

Kitesurfers in Stevenson, Washington

Kitesurfing or kiteboarding is a water sport that combines aspects of wakeboarding, windsurfing, and paragliding into one extreme sport.  A kiteboarder harnesses the power of the wind with a large controllable power kite and is propelled across the water on a kiteboard (similar to a wakeboard or small surfboard).  Kitesurfing enthusiasts and athletes from around the globe flock to the Columbia River Gorge for some of the best wind and water conditions in the country.

Maryhill Museum near Goldendale, Washington


Maryhill Museum of Art is a small museum with an eclectic collection.  It is situated on a bluff overlooking the eastern end of the Columbia River Gorge.  The building was originally intended as a mansion for entrepreneur Samuel Hill.  Construction began in 1914.  Three years later in 1917 Hill decided to turn his unfinished home into “a museum for the public good, and for the betterment of French art in the far Northwest of America.”

Stonehenge in Maryhill, Washington

Heard of the ancient, Neolithic structure situated in the county of Wiltshire, high on Salisbury Plain in England?  Its massive stones, fallen from age, have stirred the imagination of man for centuries.  There is nothing quite like it; or is there?

Three miles east of Maryhill Museum stands a full-size, astronomically-aligned replica of Stonehenge.  It was commissioned by Samuel Hill as a memorial to those that died in WWI.  The memorial was completed in 1929 and was the first monument in the US to honor the dead of World War I.

Wind Farms along the Columbia River

When most people think of the Pacific Northwest they envision lush green forests and majestic mountain ranges.  The region is “green” in more than one way.  Thousands of megawatts of green energy are being produced by numerous wind farms in the Columbia Gorge Bi-state Regional Energy Zone (CG-BREZ); a six-county region straddling the Columbia River in both Oregon and Washington. 

The Columbia River Gorge is designated as a National Scenic Area and wind turbines are not allowed as they would diminish the scenic value of the gorge.  But just outside of the Scenic Area hundreds of wind turbines have been constructed and can be seen for miles.  On the high bluffs east of Wishram, Washington is the area where the wind turbines begin (due to the topography and wind flow there are more turbines on the Oregon side of the river).

{Fun Fact: Each wind turbines supporting tower must be 265-280 feet tall; combined with wind turbine blades, each unit may be between 400-445 feet in height.  No wonder you can see them from miles away!}

Charles R. Scott east of Alpowa Summit, Washington
Charles Scott with his children Sho & Saya
{photo source: Lewiston Tribune}

We had just passed over the Alpowa Summit and were making our way back down when we spotted three bikers going the opposite direction.  They were biking to the top of Alpowa Summit, in 90+ degree weather?  That did not look like fun...until the next day when I saw the morning newspaper.

Unknown to us, we had just passed Charles R. Scott (aka Family Adventure Guy) with his two young children Sho (age 12) & Saya (age 6) on Day 48 of their family adventure - re-tracing the 3,200-mile Lewis & Clark Trail - 1,500 miles by car and 1,700 miles by bike.  Their goal is to complete the trip within the 2-month school summer break.  Wow!  Go check out his blog {click here}.

Made it to Idaho and we were greeted with this gorgeous sunset!

After a few days in Idaho, it was time to head back to our Off-Grid Home Sweet Home.

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