Columbia River

June 2011

Queen of the West

The Queen of the West is a 105 passenger riverboat modeled after the old-fashioned paddlewheel steam boats. However, her amenities are modern. We took the Queen on an 8 day cruise down the Columbia River. We started in Richland, WA which is in eastern Washington State, and travelled downriver to Astoria, WA at the mouth of the river to the Pacific, and then went back upriver to Portland, OR.

Our trip actually started in Spokane, WA where we spent a night at a motel. The cruise line then bused us to Richland the next morning. This gave us an opportunity to see the landscape of eastern Washington. Spokane, at latitude 47 degrees, is somewhat further north than Green Bay (latitude 44 degrees). The area between Spokane and Richland is flat with some low moraine hills and a dry climate. Where irrigated, eastern Washington looks a good deal like Wisconsin.

Originally, we were to start our trip in Clarksville, WA, along the Snake River. However, the Snake River was flooded to the point of being dangerous. The Columbia River, while not yet dangerous, was also flooded. A week after our trip ended, the Columbia River was also closed to river traffic due to the fast flood currents.

boat The paddlewheel is at the stern.
boat The Queen carries a passenger ramp on her bow.
boat Bill with our boat's captain. Yes, she is taller than Bill.