Wednesday, October 03, 2012

Off the Beaten Track: Wheatland Ferry

I was rushing to get to a shoot for Food Farmer Earth a couple of weeks ago and, as usual, I was a little behind schedule. Most of the farms featured are out in the boonies—meaning, to me, outside the city limits—and, as usual, I had no idea where I was going.

The two-lane road I was driving took a turn and ended…in a river. I could see that the road continued on the other side, and noticed a tiny ferry on the opposite bank. A couple of vehicles were driving onto its deck, and within a couple of minutes it was trundling over to my side.

Called the Wheatland Ferry, it's been carrying loads across the Willamette since the 1850s. The first ferry, named the Daniel Matheny after the man who began the service and was its first pilot, was a wooden raft powered by men with wooden poles. Every time a new ferry is commissioned (they've been motorized since the turn of the century) it is renamed the Daniel Matheny and is given a Roman numeral connoting the generation. The current ferry is the Daniel Matheny V, has a capacity of nine cars and makes almost 250,000 trips a year across the river.

For me, it was a chance to slow down, take a deep breath and experience the joy of a beautiful fall morning on the river. What a gift!


Anonymous said...

I read your post about the Wheatland Ferry. If I had known, I would have recommended that you stop at Arcane Cellars located on the river, right next to the Ferry. It is really beautiful. It is a fun trip to visit the winery and ride the ferry.

KAB said...

Thanks for the heads-up!

Anonymous said...

Wow!! So envious! What a gorgeous, serene setting. We loved working our way across Canada on Via Rail from Winnipeg to Vancouver, passing by rivers & streams and through the Canadian Rockies. And we thought the fields of canola were glorious - but maybe not so much for the Willamette Valley!

Thanks for your posts - I always look forward to reading what you've been up to - and it's always impressive!!
- Sue

KAB said...

I'm envious of your rail trip, Sue. Dave and I have been talking about doing that trip for years…maybe we'll have to actually get off the pot!