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. Really. No entry allowed unless you can display a gross deformity, limp greasy mullet, retardation, visible drinking problem, humpback, or a combination of the above. A thick marine layer of smoke hung above the pathetic penny, nickel, and even 3-cent machines. One can sit there virtually motionless and chain smoke and win or lose the same $3.95 for hours. The place was packed. We conducted a quick reconnaissance to look for our favorite slot machine (“Lucky Lemmings”, how ironic is that), then got the hell out of there.
We found out the following day why the casino was so popular: there is absolutely nothing else to do in Toppenish. The wine festival was a rocking good time though: red wine samples accompanied by little chocolate desserts at local tasting rooms which ranged in style from lovely estates that you’d book for your wedding reception to funky quonset huts overrun with friendly dogs. We stuck to the Rattlesnake Hills area and bought a case from a fun bunch of young winemakers at Two Mountain (try the Dry Reisling, it’s not what you think).