Sunday, June 30, 2013

From Arlington to Pendleton.

We are going to leave in the morning but first a trip to Condon, Oregon.

Of course if there is a way to Condon that isn't a paved road we will take it every time. I have been in Arlington three days and already washed the car twice.

The off the path gravel roads always seem to offer more highlights than an interstate.

A stop for lunch and some birdwatching here sure beats a highway rest stop.

Wheat, wind generators and solitude...what's not to like.

Condon, a small farming town was sprucing up for a wild 4th of July party.

I sat outside of the soda shop with a latte watching some young men sweeping the street for the upcoming parade. (quite the farmer tan, eh)

This guy was pretty friendly while sweeping. I did notice he had a tear drop tattooed outside one understanding is that it means he is a "bad" guy. Donna confirmed so much when came out of the store from shopping and told me the clerk said they are local convicts cleaning the streets.

The Hotel Condon is a National Historic Landmark that is in beautiful working condition.

Time for a little foot soaking in the Columbia before starting off to Pendleton in the morning. Missy and Benji were embarrassed at my Birkenstock foot tan lines.

While our stay at the Casino RV park just east of town is nothing to shout about, our first stop after hooking up was to go downtown and visit the Hamley & Co. You want western wear? They have that plus saddles, harnesses, blankets, boots, jean, shirts and just about anything else to make you look like the dude in "Saturday Night Fever"!

After two previous stops in Pendleton, this is the first time we stopped at The Hamley Cafe for lunch. Our Chicken salad wrap was ok, but nothing to shout about.

I have to say that the cafe looked great from the upstairs tables.

It's kind of funny that most businesses are closed on this hot Sunday. We stopped at the downtown True-Value Hardware store because it was open and Donna loves going into "old" hardware stores probably because she knows more about the hardware than I do. I asked the owner where everyone was and his reply was there wasn't much business on Sundays and he only opened the door from 10:00 am to 2:00 pm. I didn't have the heart to even question that move.

It's nearly impossible to visit Pendleton without going to the Pendleton Woolen Mills. My last visit ended in disaster when I went to buy one of their shirts and found it was made in China, but the girl assured me the cloth was woven here...

I do know the blankets are "all" American made and I told Donna that a little color on our cream leather couch would be nice...and we'd be buying American products. We almost gave up looking through all the merchandise until I spotted just what I wanted.

Here's our American heirloom, I like it. Donna wants to know what gives with the sign saying Portland...I assume that is where the corporate offices are.

Benji and Missy approve of the added color.

Friday, June 28, 2013

Maryhill, Washington

Maryhill, Washington was named after Sam Hills wife and daughter. Sam Hill was an early successful settler to the Columbia River gorge. Having acquired 7000 acres, Sam Hill went on to construct the first paved road in the Pacific Northwest.

Sam Hill was born a Quaker and planned on developing a community for other Quakers to come to the Northwest for settlement. It never happened and the unused buildings burned to the ground a few years later.

This is the only building remaining of Sam Hills vision.

Sam Hill built this mansion on a cliff overlooking the mighty Columbia River for the family and on it's dedication was filled with American and European royalty.

The view from the back patio, 1000 feet above the river, is awesome.

Did I mention that the mansion is now an art museum? Called the Maryhill Museum of Art, it holds an eclectic collection from American Indians, kings and queens of Europe and modern mixed media as piece by Aurthur W. Higgins shows.

Marie, the Queen of Romania was a life long friend to Sam Hill and when the mansion was dedicated, she and her children traveled here with housewarming gifts.

Kenneth Standhardt of Pennsylvania has been doing geometric designs for over 40 years using just clay and a church key, ya...a beer can opener. With the many examples of his work was also a video showing you how he produces the complicated designs.

The star of the show, in my mind only, were the numerous pieces by the artist/sculpture Rodin.

Maryhill has the only plaster cast, reduced figure, version of "The Thinker" known.

Seraphine Soudbinine, a Russian artist, was a marble cutter in the Rodin studio and created this bronze portrait of the master as a gift.

There were 5 rooms with wonderful black and white photographs of indian chiefs and women along with Indian artifacts, these unusual beaded head-ware was an item I have never seen before.

What a great lunch view! If anyone notices that there is only one coffee and one sandwich, that is because...someone had to stay at the motorhome with the dogs and I won the "paper, rock, scissor".

Sam Hill was born a quaker pacifist who was heartbroken at the loss of of human life in the war of 1914-1918. He built a concrete "stonehenge" as a memorial to Washington's veterans. Finished in 1929, this was the first memorial to the WWI veterans in the United States.

Columns hold brass plaques with names and dates of the youth lost in Klickitat county during the war.

How lucky am I? I'm on the Maryhill property that utilizes the Maryhill Loops Rd as a race track for different speed trials. The Loops road was the first asphalt road in Washington, built to Hills specification with assorted materials.

This weekend, skateboarders were all up and down the Loops road at astonishing speeds. They were not all young daredevils, I talked to some racers who were in their 40's or early 50's and many from other counties.

Some groups stood on the boards and other trials had the speedsters sitting down. Figure this, the race Loop is 2.5 miles and the record on a skateboard is 3:04 minutes...that's flying on a road filled with nothing but tight corners and very few straightaways. 

If the museum,  speed course and stonehenge wasn't enough...there is also the Maryhill Winery. This is a huge stage with sloped grass seating for free live music on the weekends.

The winery had a beautiful cafe overlooking the Columbia Gorge next to the tasting room. I wasn't going to pay for tasting, I hate that...but it was only $5 for any combination of 6 wines. After tasting I still wished I hadn't done it because I found three reds I'd die for but I'm not about to spend $40 a bottle. All in all it was a wonderful visit and would not hesitate to tour all again.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Moving on.......

The last couple photo's before leaving the Portland area and going east in the Columbia River Gorge.

Granny and Riley prepare one last pancake breakfast.

Our last night we went out for Mexican food with Jason, Lisa and Riley and unbenounced to me, Jason had told the waiter we were celebrating Opa's 65th birthday. I was embarrassingly serenaded with Happy Birthday in spanish and english.

Willamette Falls upstream as water flows past mostly abandoned or long closed dilapidated factories.

It took a while but we finally found (or at least saw) and photographed the Willamette Locks from the Oregon City bridge in the rain.

Okay, we are really leaving the Portland area today. We had showers while driving east on highway #84 towards Arlington.

Little known is the RV park at the Port of Arlington. While small, it does provide full hook-ups on in cooler river environment for only $21 per night.

Least anyone think we only park in the nicest parks, here is one of the 20 plus trains traveling in or out of Portland up the gorge.

Time will tell whether we get used to the trains but when you live on a "fixed income" you'd better learn to roll with the punches.

As you can see we are sandwiched between the river, wheat granary, dock, highway and trains...if we can sleep through this, we can sleep through anything!

Took a short drive as soon as we got set up at the RV park (it's what we do) and found that Arlington is ground zero for wind generators. Man, these blades are big and three of them go onto each tower.

Las Vegas in the 1990's and 2000's was the crane capital with all the buildings going up, well Arlington is now the 'wind generaor' capital of Oregon

How would you like to be the guy that bolts these 100+ nuts onto each of three blades per tower?

It's beautiful country once you can get off the major roads. 

The old Rock Creek School house was moved to this intersection and is now used as  community center. There was nothing at this intersection, or for a few miles, in either way.

I was slightly perplexed because of the way in which the routes were mapped.

This large wheat farm and the ones nearby were hurting because of the lack of adequate winter rain.

Field on the left has yet to be cut but the field across the road is ready for plowing.