|We left Willamette Park on the Willamette River about 8:45 AM for a special urban kayak trip. This was a grand journey full of spectacular river sights. The day was sunny and breezy with a perfect temperature of about 70 degrees. When we ended the temp. had climbed to about 90 and was the perfect time to finish. We first paddled past an incredible row of houseboats - maybe 20-25-the likes of which we had never seen. These were beautiful floating homes with grand decks, multi stories and of unique design. The flower gardens were something out of House and Garden. We then encountered beautiful banks of green with large trees and on the opposite shore a large uninhabited Island. This all in the heart of the City of Portland. We came upon a crewing camp for young adults and followed them down river as they rhythmically rowed at a good speed. We could not keep up. Suddenly there was noise from behind and as I turned a mammoth diesel tug boat was a hundred feet from my stern! Scared us greatly as we veered out of the way. We then passed under about five bridges crossing to and fro the river into Portland. We passed a Russian submarine anchored as a display about 5 feet away. We then turned back to ride upriver to our origin. We passed a river stern wheeler and a cruise boat at the shore near Portland City Park. We headed to a sand beach off the park to land and walk around when we realized we were in the center of a drug bust as the marine patrol and police swarmed at us from all directions. Talk about excitement-the suspect was handcuffed and led away. We then diverted our landing to further upstream beneath a large expressway bridge to stretch our legs. We finally finished at about 9 miles total. What a special treat this journey was-so much visual candy it is hard to describe. The water was just the right temp and but a little wavy. We celebrated with lunch at Papa Haydn. This was a magnificently good neighborhood bistro! We sat on the outside patio garden and gazed upon spectacular flowers and a fountain. We had grilled wild salmon on romaine caesar salad. Bill and Nancy had Tuna nicoise salads. They were all superb. We finished with a raspberry chocolate Torte. Bill had fresh berry bread pudding. Barb had one of the best iced lattes I had ever tasted. WE were most happy!! History Lesson: The Willamette River is a tributary of the Columbia River. The name derives from the Clackamas Indian Tribe which occupied these parts for centuries. The river is 187 miles long and flows northward between the Oregon Coast Range and the Cascade Range. The river and its tributaries form a fertile basin area called the Willamette Valley. This is one of the most fertile agricultural regions of North America. It was the destination of many of the immigrants along the Oregon Trail. It is one of ten National American Heritage Rivers. It served as a transportation and lumbering hub in the early days and was a wild river. It flooded in the spring and winter providing fertile soil in the other seasons.lined with fabulous woodlands. Now the farmlands have contributed to its pollution.inter providing fertile soil in the other seasons. In a nutshell it plays a significant role in America's history-Study its fascinating history. Many a great wine is produced in this valley. Chinook salmon are also famed here.