My Swimming Amigos:
No pool? No problem. I have been swimming twice a week in the Columbia River. I go fairly early in the morning and the beach is empty except for a few dog walkers. In the past month I have only seen three other swimmers. (Note: there will be no Hood River Swim on Labor Day this year.)
The beach is just east of the M. James Gleason Memorial Boat Ramp, on Marine Drive, between PDX airport and the Columbia River [Broughton Beach Park]. It is about 3-1/2 miles east of the Marine Drive exit on I-5 NB, and it takes about 30 minutes to get there from my home. The parking fee is five dollars, so I got an annual parking pass. I usually go on Mondays and Thursdays, getting to the beach at around 9 AM because I am lazy.
The water temperature has recently been around 73 F. There is always a current running to the west, not very strong, so I swim into the current to start and have a good ride coming back. The current does depend on the tide, and if you are interested in any specific day, I can get that information for you from the NOAA website. The water is murky but clean enough that I have never had a problem, although I do take a good shower when I get home.
I will be there for my 86th birthday on Labor Day.
Editor: Let’s join Joe and make his 86th birthday swim memorable.