Saturday, September 7, 2013

A Nice Time in the Tri-Cities, Washington

           Before our departure Saturday, August 24th, Janet and I spent Friday afternoon in Mountain Home, Idaho sprucing up the motorhome and Jeep towed car. They were sparkling for our departure on Saturday morning, and we made the 210 mile move from Mountain Home, Idaho to La Grande, Oregon in about 3-1/2 hours. It was another easy drive up the interstate. 

Nice Big Spaces at Mountain Home, Idaho
 
The reservations I have been making at the various RV Parks we have been staying the last couple months have been somewhat lucky. All have had nice accommodations, but we really never know what we’re are going to get because of our lack of travelling experience in the motorhome category. Some of the things you try to determine in making reservations is if the park has roomy spaces with at least water, sewage, and electric hookup. We like our spots to be nearer to the office/clubhouse in case we decide to use the showers or laundry facilities the park provides. We like to be away from passing freeways or major highways, and train tracks can provide noise in the night. 

Our approach through the mountains south of La Grande was pleasant. The weather was bright and sunny. I had copied the instructions down directing us to the Eagle Hot Lake RV Park which indicated we are in a rural area about six miles south of La Grande, Oregon. We took the off-ramp and made the provided directional turns to get to the park which was going to be about five miles from the interstate. All of a sudden we were on a dirt and gravel road that had virtually no traffic with five miles to go. What a surprise since we are basically city dwellers. We drove on and found the park as advertised. Home. A new home again. 

 
Nice staging area at park in La Grande, Oregon
 
Lesson learned on gravel road in La Grande, Oregon
(Unhitch the towed car!)
 
           The park was very clean and large, and the first time we have been at a park that is in a closely mowed grass field. It was 11:45 A.M. and the park was not near full. I hopped out of the coach and went into the office to sign in and get our space assignment. All was going well as I went back out to move the coach to our new home for the next three days. Then . . . the shock and amazement hit as I approached the coach. It stunned me at first but I had too chuckle when I got a grip on the situation. I motioned Janet out of the coach. She knew right away something was up. I pointed to the rear of the coach as she rounded the front of the coach, and there was our Jeep tow car in a heap of dust! I’m sorry I didn’t get a picture taken of the Jeep to show on this blog because words will barely do in describing it. Our lack of experience on dirt roads and the five mile drive from the interstate on the dirt and gravel road was the culprit. The motorhome spewed up a large and even dose of dust that had put an evenly spread cloud of dust on the Jeep over and over again. We couldn’t even see into the car! We both just laughed. 

We slowly settled into our spot. Temps in the low high 70’s as we moved onto our space. Windows open for a change. We couldn’t help but think of the blistering hot weather we left in Las Vegas a couple months ago. Hooking up the utilities and putting the three slides out. Getting the satellite and TV working. Getting some laundry done at the clubhouse. A nice breeze came up and three hours had gone by when we decided to go into La Grande for a preview of the city, and maybe wash the Jeep. To our continuing surprise the breeze had done a pretty good job of dislodging the dust on the Jeep. We could actually see inside the car and even tell the exterior color. To help even more the afternoon produced an impromptu rain squall which improved the appearance of the car somewhat without leaving it muddy.  

La Grande produced the usual Wal-Mart and fast food restaurants along with Asian and Mexican restaurants. We ate at Moy’s Dynasty. Nice! 

The surrounding countryside of La Grande and Union, Oregon is all agricultural. Actually with nearby mountains and rolling hills it is beautiful. We took the drive over to Union where we visited the Buffalo Peak Golf Course. A sprawling links type layout. My back was tight from playing golf in Mountain Home, Idaho and we decided to pass on playing Buffalo Peak. We also knew we would be playing a lot of golf in the next couple weeks in the Tri-Cities. 

We moved the final 120 miles from La Grande into southern Washington on Tuesday, August 27th. An interesting and picturesque drive out of the Blue Mountains of southern Oregon. We took the time to drive through Pendleton, Oregon but didn’t stop. One of the big rodeos has been held there for years. The Pendleton Round-Up. We crossed the Columbia River at Umatilla, Oregon and were in the Tri-Cities (Pasco, Richland, and Kennewick) after a total driving time of about three hours from La Grande. These three cities are on the Columbia River. 

The Columbia River
 
I lived in Kennewick, Washington for nine months in 1975, and made life-long friends that have survived the test of all these years. Golfing friends and football buddies. A special bunch of guys with a special bunch of wives!

This is going to be an interesting next couple of weeks. My friend Jeff just built a new house in Pasco and has invited us to park the coach in his driveway. It is a larger piece of property and he has had a 50 amp power supply installed that will service the coach quite nicely. Since there is nothing like the comfort of sleeping in your own bed I’m sure Jeff and wife, Amanda, were somewhat skeptical as we declined an indoor bedroom. That has to tell you how comfortable we have become aboard the motorhome. Especially the cushy bed!
 

The day after our arrival Jeff took us 60 miles south of the Tri-Cities to a relatively new golf course in Walla Walla, Washington. The Wine Valley Golf Course is a links type course that is spread out in the rolling agricultural hillside. We played the course from about 6,300 yards under clear skies which were producing a wind velocity from zero to approximately seven miles per hour. Basically perfect conditions! The fairways were wide enough, but the course makes itself very difficult from the standpoint the greens are smooth, very large, slightly firm, and run about 13+ on a stimptmeter. Easily some of the fastest putting surfaces I have ever come across in my 57 years of chasing golf balls! 

One of the top 100 new courses in 2011 and 2012
Links style course in Walla Walla, Washington
 
In the last 12 days I have played the Sun Willows course in Pasco a couple times. The Tri-Cities Country Club in Kennewick, and the Meadow Springs Country Club in Richland. All are old established venues that are in excellent shape. My back is killing me! 

Jeff and Amanda hosted a Bar-B-Q for the guys, and wives of the guys, that meet once a year to celebrate old acquaintances during the football playoffs leading to the Super Bowl. We have met in Las Vegas or Reno for the last 15 years, or so. Fun group! 

Speaking of football – it is back! We watched the first game of the new season last Thursday night with the Denver Broncos destroying last year’s Super Bowl champion Baltimore Ravens. Exciting to watch. 

A week ago now, we had a good time having a hamburger Bar-B-Q dinner at the Barnard-Griffin Winery in Kennewick. Thanks Kim. The winery has come a long way with you in the last decade. Continued success! 

Late Thursday afternoon produced a magical electrical storm here in the Tri-Cities. It was interesting to sit it out in the motorhome. Very loud, not much wind, but lots of rain. The sky looked like Kansas in the “Wizard of Oz”. The temperature didn't reach the 80’s Friday. That is a long way from the 115 degrees we left in Las Vegas now 92 days ago. 

The beat goes on! After 14 days we will depart the Tri –Cities on Tuesday and spend three nights in the Columbia River Gorge. Specifically a small town named Rufus which is just east of The Dalles, Oregon on I-84. The Gorge is the 200 miles between here and Portland, Oregon. From there we will proceed into the Seattle area to visit relatives, old friends, eat seafood, and let my back recover. From September 23rd through October we should be on the Oregon coast for three to five weeks, then Napa and the Cali coast until December 15th when we will return to Las Vegas for the holidays. 2014 will have us rolling south and east. 

We continue to be content with our decision to slow travel the U.S.A. and look forward to seeing you all down the road. 

Until then we can be reached by email at: BooniePeople@gmail.com

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