Monday, March 19, 2012

It's in the woods

kw: vacations, sightseeing, photographs

Been in Oregon a couple days, on family business, and the bunch of us went to Camp 18, a restaurant and outdoor logging museum.

Wood carvings abound here. This image is one of their own. Camp 18 is located at milepost 18 on Highway 26, which goes northwest out of Portland to the Oregon coast. It is about an hour's drive out of Portland.

My brothers and I chose the occasion to coincide with our father's ninetieth birthday, so it was a trip for fun as well. We had Saturday free, and had lunch here. We also stopped by Sauvie Island, which someone had said was interesting. That was a bit of a dud, unless you get a kick out of ducks in a swamp.

By contrast, we spent a couple hours wandering around the equipment that is scattered around the land surrounding the restaurant at Camp 18.

What is a logging camp without a portable sawmill? This mill is belt-driven. The camp has several old tractors with take-off pulleys for hooking up a leather belt. I've seen a mill like this in operation. The belt is 20-30 feet long. Click on the image to see a larger version, where you can see that the saw blade's teeth have relief grooves cut; these reduce fouling of the blade. That's one of my brothers moving in for a closeup photo.

Inside the restaurant, one of the first things you see is this quartet of dancing bears, cut with a chainsaw out of logs. We had a great meal there, sitting at a table cut from the stump of a tree that had been nine feet in diameter. I overdid it; their "ordinary" burgers are 1/3 pound, but they had one that was double size. I had to try it. It was eight inches in diameter, on a bun so thick I had to cut the dome off so I could eat it. A couple of my brothers ate the trimmed-off dome.

Outside the restaurant's front door is this welder's whimsy. It was the only bit of artwork that wasn't chainsawn from a log.

This is another iconic bit of equipment: a tree faller (for some reason, loggers don't call it a "feller", which would be more etymologically correct; but what does a logger know of etymology?!) The business end at the left has three clamps to grab onto a trunk as thick as thirty inches. At the bottom, there is a chainsaw with a blade an inch thick, going around a 32-inch bar. Once the faller's clamps grab a tree, the blade is shoved out to saw off the tree. Then the tractor, which outweighs a typical hundred-foot tree by 5:1, simply lays the tree down and unclamps from it.

We also saw several kinds of donkey engine, winches that pulled themselves into the forest on skids; a band saw for cutting logs up to three feet, that had a 2-sided blade (16 inches across) so it could cut logs pushed through in either direction; a portable bunkhouse and camp galley on railroad cars; and a number of rigging poles for lifting and swinging big logs about. We are all mechanical machinery freaks, so it was an occasion for much exclaiming and explaining and arm-waving. A fun day.

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