We left La Pine on Monday morning, and headed northeast on HWY 97, driving through the cute little town of Maupin on the lower Deschutes River. (We live about 20 minutes away from the headwaters of the Deschutes, which begins at Wikiup Resevoir.) Here is a of picture of Maupin. I would like to go there sometime and hang out for a couple of days:
We ended up on I-84 near The Dalles, turned east and drove toward Biggs Jct. Our destination for the first few days of our trip were the green trees on the other side of the bridge that connects Biggs Jct., Oregon to Maryhill, Washington.
Here is the bridge crossing the Columbia River. Several years ago, power producing windmills were installed in this part of the Columbia Gorge. The bases alone are 90' tall. It was rather windy when we arrived, but the camera makes them look like they are not moving.
Day #1: Maryhill State Park
Maryhill used to be a town that was built by Sam Hill beginning in 1907. He named the town after his wife and daughter. Hill was a Quaker who wanted to attract Quaker farmers to join him in a planned community on the Columbia River. Maryhill was an area of 34 blocks with ten miles of paved roads and it included stores, a school, a church, and everything else that was needed. After it was completed, nobody came to live there and then it burned down.
Today, the area is now an Indian fishing village, Maryhill State Park (a Group Area, a full hook-up camping area, and a day use area). Further on down the road, there are peach orchards, Peach Beach RV Park, a winery, an old church and Stonehenge.
Maryhill State Park is beautiful and roomy. It is right on the river, has beautiful green grass and lots of pretty green trees. We didn't have reservations, but lucked out in getting one of the last spots. It was perfect for us. There was a lot of room between spaces. The cost was $35.00 for full hook-ups. The tent sites were less, but they also had full electricity and water. There were bathrooms and showers available.
There was a nice swimming spot at the day use area:
With the highway noise, truck traffic (air brakes) and several lines of trains across the road, it wasn't the quietest spot. This didn't bother us, but I suppose that it would bother some folks. We got used to it after the first night. Cary enjoyed sitting out front and watching the trains go by.
Here are a few pictures of the inside of our 5th wheel. Ms. Kathy has put on a few pounds since she is no longer chasing around the preschool kids. (I was hating the mirrors in the trailer! I like the ones at home much better. They are more forgiving, but the camera doesn't lie.)
We watched a lot of DVD movies in the evenings, and enjoyed the electric fireplace in the mornings. There was a great classic rock radio station out of The Dalles that lifted my spirits. I worked on finishing up my book throughout the week. We really do love our little home away from home.
We got up on Tuesday and decided to make the 15 minute drive into the little town of Goldendale for some breakfast. It is a sleepy little town, and as we drove around we found that most places downtown didn't open until 11:00. I was getting more and more hungry, so we stopped at a gas station and I ate a breakfast burrito.
There is a sheriff's election coming up, and everywhere we turned, there were signs that said "Bob Songer for Sheriff!". Cary wondered if it was the same Bob Songer that he knew from when they were both working at the state patrol, and it was. So, we set about tracking him down. I messaged Bob on his election FB page, and emailed him Cary's number.
We drove to the Goldendale Court House, and saw a guy getting into his truck. The truck had a big sign on it supporting Bob, and the man was wearing a large button on his shirt with Bob's picture on it. Cary introduced himself, and the man, Cliff, gave Cary Bob's number.
Cary called Bob, and they decided to meet at Sod Buster's for breakfast. Bob's wife, Frances, works there, so we got to meet her too.
Cliff showed us the way, and then went and picked up Walter and brought him back to join us.
I really wish that I had taken a picture of Cliff and Walter. Walter is over 100 years old and is doing great. He was born in Poland, left home at 14, worked the fishing boats for 10 years before walking away from them while docked in San Francisco with only $2.00 in his pocket. Walter is a self-made man. He lost his wife around 8 years ago, but is excited about seeing her in heaven someday.
Walter told me that I look like a cowgirl, and that I was a good person and that so was Cary, and that we had never ever better get a divorce. I said, don't worry, we won't!
Cliff is a super nice man, who's wife died a couple of years ago. They raised horses together and he still has around 30 of them. He used to live in Central Oregon.
I did get a great picture of Cary and Bob. Best of luck, Bob, you will make a great Sheriff of Klicktat County.
The next morning, we got up, crossed the river back in to Oregon and drove to the Dalles. We needed a new coffee pot, and wanted to get a few things at Fred Meyer. The view above is of the Columbia River on it's way towards Portland and of Mt. Hood. It was kind of smokey. There ended up being fires all over the place in Oregon and California that week and this week (including two places that I had wanted to go to, Estacada and Multnomah Falls.)
There are hydroelectric dams up and down the Columbia River. They produce power and are used for flood control.
During the process of making the dams, many popular Indian fishing spots for catching salmon are now underwater. The most famous one is Celilo Falls. As compensation, the Indians now use net fishing on the Columbia, while the rest of the fisherman use fishing poles There were a lot of boats out on the water as we drove to The Dalles.
We made it to The Dalles, and I took a bunch of pictures through the window as we drove around.
The Dalles is an old town, full of interesting buildings and friendly people.
After breakfast, we went to Fred Meyer. Cary got some new shoes and a pair of sweat pants and I got a new pair of jeans and a new top.
On our way back to the park, we drove up the hill and visited Stonehenge. Cary said that in the 70's/80's that bikers used to hang out there during the nighttime hours and there were some murders committed. The post below this one is about Stonehenge, and you can either scroll down or "click here".
At the Stonehenge location, there are also some other things to see. I'm not sure about the story behind the building below yet but it is cool looking. We missed seeing Sam Hill's grave, which is right behind the hill from Stonehenge. He was on the outs with his family when he died and wanted to be left alone, he said.
The store below was vacant and is next to the war memorial plaque.
There is a very nice war memorial honoring all the fallen soldiers from Klickitat County since WWII.
The view down the hill shows the old church, which we visited next.
The church has been there since 1888, and is still in use. I'll be doing a post about it sometime soon.
Across the street from the church is an old gas station. It looks like it used to be a second hand store, but now it looks like a place for storage:
On Thursday, we drove the 3 miles to the The Maryhill Museum of Fine Arts. If you are in the area, please go and see this place, it is amazing. Admission is $9.00 and you can take pictures, as long as you don't use a flash. Just watch out for rattlesnakes.
Sam Hill was again hard at work when he built this place. This building was created without wood, by using only concrete and steel. It took years to finish, and Sam left $1,200,000 in a trust for the museum to continue to flourish after his death.
I will be featuring different areas of the museum in posts over the next month or so. Here is one of the paintings inside:
Here is my rattlesnake story. After I was done with the tour of the inside of the museum, I met back up with Cary. He went on to the truck, and I wanted to take a few pictures with my cell phone to post on FB. There is a beautiful park near the parking lot with whimsical art scattered throughout. I was heading toward the grass, with my phone in hand, and happened to look down. Three feet from where I was standing was a 4' black/gray rattlesnake (with an intricate design) stretched out across the sidewalk, warming him/herself in the sun. I froze! Then I carefully turned around and walked away. Fast. I felt like that I should have taken a picture of it, but I just wanted to get out of there. I told Cary about it, and then saw the groundskeeper and told him. The groundskeeper asked me again where it was and what it looked like, and rushed right over there. We left then, so I don't know if he found it or not, but I sure hope so.
Cary told me that there were rattlers all over that area. He used to run the highway there when he was a state cop, and his partner kept a loaded pistol just for snakes, just in case.
I was still on an adrenaline rush about 1.5 hours later. We came back to the trailer and I poured myself a glass of wine and finally settled down. I grew up in Eugene and we had snakes all over, and though I have been startled before (and even saw a diamondback once only a few feet away), but this encounter really shook me up. I felt like my body reacted in certain way of knowing. If it had been a garter snake, I don't think that I would have been so upset.
We hooked up the 5th wheel on Friday morning and drove to Kennewick for Cary's WSP Retiree Reunion. I really didn't take any pictures once we got there. We were busy visiting and hanging out with friends, and stayed at the Columbia Sun RV Resort. It was very nice, and is brand new.
We were parked across from our good friends Lee and Fran, and it is always nice spending time with them. On Saturday, the four of us drove into Kennewick and had lunch at Bob's Hamburgers. That was some darn good food. Cary and Lee are in the picture below.
I met a new friend, Jane Dodge, who has a blog along with her husband George called 2dodges2go. They travel all over the United States, and share their adventures. I think that we are kindred spirits, Jane and me.
We came home on Sunday, traveling I-84 along the Gorge to HWY 97 from Biggs Jct. It was about a 7 hour drive and we were happy to be home. The dogs were awfully glad to see us too.
So, friends, there you go. I hope that you enjoyed your tour of the central part of The Columbia River Gorge. Our next trip out will be local as we do a bit of camping at the lake before the weather changes. Then, hopefully, we will fly to Arkansas and get to see Mississippi too.
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