Archive for the ‘Washington’ Category
Every site was spoken for on the sweltering weekend we overnighted at Battle Ground Lake State Park; advance reservations were required to secure one of the cheek-to-jowl spaces.
The grounds are shady in July, but many cons outweigh this pro: the cool canopy of towering trees also blocks X-M Radio reception and prevents solar panels from charging. One dirty, coin-operated shower stall serves forty sweaty campers.
Ahhh. An unplugged weekend in the Washington drizzle. An itty bitty town. A laid-back, rural campground deep in huckleberry country. Uncoiling with friendly Airstream folk and some fine musicians.
On the first day, the clouds parted to reveal a gobsmacking, up close & personal view of Mt. Adams.
After five years of ‘streaming with the DWR we traveled again to Timberlake Campground (aka “Leroy’s Place”) in the green Gorge. The reason: party with the local Wally Club at the first rally of the Oregon Airstream season.
It was dark, dank, and bitter cold. Driving up to I-84 from Bend we could see the spring cloud pattern laid out before us like a weatherman’s graphic: blue on the right, socked in on the left.
Grand Coulee Dam is 550 feet high! 5,223 feet long! Generates 6,809 megawatts of electricity! And other measurements as well. The best statistic comes from a jaunty pamphlet provided by the Department of the Interior Bureau of Reclamation: “Grand Coulee Dam is one of the largest concrete structures in the world. What else could you build with 12 million cubic yards of concrete? A sidewalk four feet wide and four inches thick and wrap it twice around the equator (50,000 miles), or a highway from Seattle to Miami.”
Ok, ok. Wow. A visit to Grand Coulee on the Columbia River sounds like it might be boring but it’s quite the sight and has the most fun visitor center.
The first day of our two-week summer road trip—my birthday—began with a stunning sunrise drive through the Gorge. With the fog lifting at the base of Beacon Rock and sunlight shining on The Bridge of the Gods in the distance, it was “like those romantic paintings from 1815,” observed Ralph. (By contrast, seconds later we drove past what looked exactly like a human body wrapped in a bag by the side of the road. “Somebody has probably called that in,” mused Ralph. We kept driving.)
For a few hours we motored along in peace. Ralph kept fiddling with the dashboard gauges, appalled at the dismal gas mileage (we should have thought about that before loading those cases of Diet Coke and near beer in the back). Then, it happened.
First time out with another couple, Deb and Blue. How to describe them? They are prepared for anything and there’s nothing Deb can’t cook and nothing Blue can’t fix, build or operate. If there’s a nuclear war or an earthquake, I hope I’m at their house when it happens.
The plan this weekend was to camp somewhere that Ralph and I could hike and Deb and Blue could ride their new motorcycles. These plans were aborted before we even reached the campground. The trailhead (we discovered on the way) was washed out and had been closed for the last eight months (can’t say who neglected to research this but it rhymes with Ralph).
Twenty years in the pouring rain ON THE FOURTH OF JULY is just nineteen years too many.
We’re back at Seaquest State Park for the long holiday weekend. It bears mentioning that Ralph and I take turns planning our trips; every other month, one of us is responsible for the activities, food, reservations and keeping the gas tank full. Ralph always plans something fun but his long-weekend philosophy is sheer insanity to me: Stay close to home. And don’t try anything new.
It’s not his fault that it rained—nay, poured—from the minute we unhitched.
Spent the afternoon walking in the footsteps of the Great Armistice Day Wobbly Massacre or something like that. This is what passes for fun when you date a Master of History. Actually, enjoyed looking for an old hotel front—from which the “famous” first shot was taken that fateful day in 1919—and chatting up the geezers in the American Legion Hall where there is more flag decor displayed than Fourth of July week at Fred Meyer. Later, ate burgers at the historic Olympic Club and got some new Nikes at the outlet mall. Really roughing it this weekend.
You might be surprised to learn that the the area surrounding Yakima, Washington is renowned for its wine. The appellations of Yakima Valley and Red Mountain support more than 70 vineyards, bottling Cabs, Merlot, Syrah, Chardonnay and Reislings.
This I pulled straight from Wikipedia; I know strictly dick-all about wine, other than I like to drink it, early and often. We were lured north by the annual Valentine’s event, the “Red Wine and Chocolate Festival” which occurs every February right off the I-82 between Yakima and Tri-Cities. We chose to stay in Toppenish at the very nice Yakima Nation RV Park (“Stay Overnight in a Teepee!”) situated across the highway from the Worst Casino Ever.
What says The Holidays more than a deserted RV Park? We spent a cold and sunny Christmas Eve camped alone by the muddy Kalama River. Never shy about lugging kitchen appliances along (blender, toaster, electric wok), we used the panini maker to grill sandwiches, then opened a few presents and watched Bad Santa on the DVD player while the chili lights glowed romantically on the Airstream in the foggy light of the full moon. In the morning we dug into our stockings then sped home, chased by a fast approaching snowstorm.