Fresh Peaches, Making Plutonium and 1000’s of Flowers

August 22-31, 2018 –Another week, another new state. That seems to be a common theme as of late while we travel in the northwest. This week found us leaving the state of Idaho and traveling to the east side of Washington state. We were amazed at the lack of evergreen trees and the abundance of high desert landscapes.  

Of the ten nights during this time period six were spent at free stays with one Boondockers Welcome host site and five nights at a casino. The remaining four nights were spent at an Army Corps of Engineers (COE) campground near the tri-cities area of Kennewick, Pasco and Richland, Washington and the confluence of the Yakima, Snake and Columbia Rivers. We chose to stay at the campground to avoid driving over the upcoming Labor Day weekend. 

Mile Driven - RV
Miles Driven - Car

Northern Quest Casino in Airway Springs, Washington offers free overnight RV parking. They allow one night for guests and up to seven nights if you sign up for their player’s card. We stayed five nights while touring the Spokane area. The casino is a popular overnight stop for both RVs and trucks with the lot being quite full each night we were there. 

The Nishinomiya Tsutakawa Japanese Garden at Manito Park in Spokane, Washington. The garden was completed in 1974 and symbolizes the friendship of Spokane and its sister city, Nishinomiya, Japan. 

Beautiful flowers at the Joel E. Ferris Perennial Garden in Manito Park in Spokane, Washington. The garden contains more than 300 different plant species that bloom from early spring to late autumn. 

Spokane Falls on the Spokane River flows through the downtown area in the heart of Spokane, Washington, all of which were named after the Spokane tribe of Indians. Spokane means “children of the sun” or “sun people” in the Salishan language. 

Spokane Falls Skyride is a 15 minute gondola ride offering spectacular views of the waterfall that cascades through the city. The ride is $7.75 for adults and $5.75 for children ages 2 – 12. 

Fun play blocks at Riverfront Park in downtown Spokane, Washington. 

Peach trees at Walter’s Fruit Ranch in Mead, Washington. They offer both ready picked and pick-your-own fruit. 

Picking fresh, ripe peaches has been on our to do list for years. The taste was incredible and nothing like any peaches we have had before.  We were only able to pick a small amount of fruit as our refrigerator has limited space. 

Suspension bridge over the Spokane River in Riverside State Park near Spokane, Washington. Great hiking and biking park with 55 miles of trails. 

Where do people from Wisconsin eat when in Spokane, Washington? At Wisconsinburger, a locally owned restaurant inspired by the mom-and-pop burger shops in Wisconsin. The restaurant was voted Pacific Northwest Inlander’s “Best Burger” in 2015, 2016, 2017 and 2018. We enjoyed the “Awe Geez” burger with fresh ground beef,  Wisconsin sharp cheddar cheese, battered and fried Wisconsin cheese curds, lettuce, tomato and carmelized onions. It was as amazing as it sounds. Yum!

Manito Park in Spokane, Washington was so amazing that we had to come back a second time to take it all in. Flower overload! The annual garden consists of 63 planting beds on three acres that are filled with 32,546 flowers. All of the plants are grown from seed on-site in five greenhouses. It is an amazing sight!

Gorgeous colorful zinnias line the perimeter of the annual garden at Manito Park. Beautiful!

Spike the Bulldog is the mascot of Gonzaga University in Spokane, Washington. Founded in 1887, the University went by the nicknames of “Blue and Whites” or “The Fighting Irish”. After a football game in 1921, a reporter wrote that Gonzaga “fought tenaciously like bulldogs” and that became the new mascot. 

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The National Park Service offers free tours of the Manhattan Project National Historical Site in Hanford, Washington. The Site is where Hanford Engineer Works produced large amounts of plutonium and produced the material for the Trinity test and plutonium bomb detonated in Nagasaki, Japan. 

One of the free tours offered by the National Parks Service is of the B reactor, the world’s first full scale nuclear reactor. The reactor took a mere 11 months to build with construction starting in October of 1943 and completing in September of 1944. The reactor continued to produce plutonium until 1968. 

Inside the B Reactor 2,004 aluminum process tubes containing uranium are irradiated with neutrons to produce plutonium-239. The reactor was cooled with millions of gallons of water from the nearby Columbia River. 

Another tour offered by the National Park Service is the Pre-Manhattan Tour which explores the history of the Hanford area prior to the eviction of the homeowners and tribes present in the area in 1943. Approximately 1,500 residents of the Hanford and White Bluffs areas were displaced from their homesteads and orchards by the government to make room for the 586 square mile Manhattan Project. Pictured below is the former Hanford Townsite and High School. This is also the site where the approximately 50,000 workers lived during the construction of the nuclear reactors in the mid 1940’s. 

Our site at Hood Park US Army Corps of Engineers campground in Burbank, Washington. Great park that sits along the Snake River. 

Designed with patented Spring-Action Rocking Technology, the GCI Outdoor Freestyle Rocker camp chair delivers a smooth rocking action on any surface in the outdoors. Featuring padded arm rests, built-in beverage holder, and a convenient carry handle, folding a camp chair open and closed has never been easier or safer with GCI Outdoor’s patented Eazy-fold Technology. The Freestyle Rocker is constructed of lightweight and sturdy powder-coated steel, supports up to 250 pounds, and has a limited lifetime warranty.

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Sunset over the Snake River near Kennewick, Washington. Photo was taken from our site at Hood Park COE campground. Beautiful!

Twin Sisters Rock overlooks the Columbia River near the WA/OR border. the columns were formed from basalt volanic rock. According to Native American legend, the pillars represent two of the three wives of Coyote, a jealous trickster god. He turned the third wife into a cave and himself into a nearby rock to watch over them. 

The  Umatilla Chemical Depot in Umatilla, Oregon was a U.S. Army installation that stored chemical weapons such as mustard gas, sarin and other nerve agents. All have been safely destroyed by 2011 and base closure will occur in 2018. The land is slated to be used partly as a training base for the Oregon Military Department and the remaining portion for industrial land and a wildlife refuge. For miles surrounding the depot you can see large earth covered bunkers used to store the weapons. 

The onion is Washington state’s official vegetable. The Walla Walla onion originated in in 1900 in Walla Walla county. Onions are planted in September and harvested in July and August. This truck is one of many we saw hauling onions to storage and processing facilities in the Kennewick, Washington area. 

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This 9/11 Memorial is located in Kennewick, Washington. It consists of a 6,000 pound 35 foot tall external vertical support column salvaged from the World Trade Center. Like all 9/11 memorials, it is a very moving tribute to all those lost on that devastating day. 

The Columbia River in Southeast Washington state. We saw just a very small portion of the 1,243 mile long river and look forward to exploring more in the future. 

In addition to all the exciting areas explored and fun activities during this last portion of August there was still plenty of time for rest and relaxation. Exploring is always fun but there needs to be ample downtime as well to balance it out. With Labor Day soon upon us we look forward to being stationary for a few days before making. our way through a small portion of NE Oregon and back into Idaho. See you then!

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4 thoughts on “Fresh Peaches, Making Plutonium and 1000’s of Flowers”

    1. The weather was great while we were there but the wildfire smoke was pretty thick a few days. It’s a great place to visit!

  1. Diane and Casey Farragut Forest

    Great blog. You did the area justice.
    We did not know about the burger place. Next time we are in town we will have to give it a try. So enjoy your blog. We look forward to reading it.
    Diane and Casey

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