Saturday, June 25, 2011

Athena, Oregon: motorcycle city

Hodaka Days 2011
For most of the year, Athena, Oregon, is a quiet little hamlet in the eastern half of the state, just off Highway 11 which runs between Walla Walla, Washington, and Pendleton, Oregon. But one weekend a year, it turns into motorcycle city when it celebrates Hodaka Days the last weekend in June.

Hodaka was a motorcycle manufactured in Japan in the 1960s and 1970s. Hodaka was developed for Pacific Basin Trading Company, an agricultural supplier in Athena that wanted a sturdy motorcycle for local farmers to use. Soon it was being used by dirt bikers and flat-track racers and being sold all over the United States from Athena. It was the little motorcycle that could -- and did, with quirky names like Super Rat, Dirt Squirt, Road Toad and Combat Wombat.

Hodakas weren't manufactured after 1977, but the motorcycle has been raised to a cult level by its fans who pay homage to it every year. Fans come from all over the United States, with at least one or two people riding their Hodakas cross country for the event. Riders ooh and aah over the bikes on display at the city park and swap stories about the glory days. Suppliers come from all over to sell parts and talk shop.

Other weekend events include the Bad Rock cross-country ride, a mini-trials competition, and a parade down the town's Main Street with riders wearing white shirts and ties.

It's just a cool way to spend a weekend.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Rain: it's a fact of life

Dayton All Wheels Weekend 2010
Rain is a common occurrence in the Pacific Northwest. It's what keeps the region so green. Eastern Washington generally doesn't get as much rain as the west side of the state, but this year it seems like it's getting to be more than it's fair share.
Not only do we have more rain this year, but the temperatures are a lot cooler. So cool, in fact, that it took six weeks for my cucumber and zucchini seeds to germinate. I normally have blossoms by this time.

It rained this morning so we didn't make our annual trek over to Dayton's All Wheels Weekend, held every year on Father's Day weekend. It's a pretty big car show, with the city closing several blocks of Dayton's main street so hundreds of cars can be displayed. My husband is a caroholic, so we go to a lot of car shows. Dayton is one of my favorites. I like wandering through quaint shops while he looks at the cars again and again. (One time through is my limit.) What I especially like about Dayton is show sponsors have other activities. They usually have slow drags and bed races; another year, power lawn mower races were held. I couldn't believe riding lawn mowers could move that fast.

If you're into cars, this area is the place to be from April to October. It seems like there's a car show -- sometimes two -- every weekend from Soap Lake, Washington, to Joseph, Oregon. There's a big car show coming up the first weekend in July in Pasco, and Cool Desert Nights is next weekend in Richland. I think this year the car show will live up to its name.

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Art in the Park

Mark your calendars now to attend Art in the Park July 29-30 at Howard Amon Park in Richland,

This will be the 61st outing for the Allied Arts Association which sponsors the art show. It's always held the last weekend in July which coincides with the hydroplane races which take place in the Columbia River at Columbia Park in Kennewick..

Howard Amon is a long narrow park along the Columbia River. Filled with huge shade trees, it' a most pleasant place to be in the summer, with all sorts of activities taking place there. My favorite is Art in the Park, an outdoor art show I first attended in the mid-1980s when I lived in Connell, about 35 miles north of the Tri-Cities.

The art show features work by traditional artists as well as photographers and crafts people. You can find handmade clothing and furniture, ceramics and pottery, wall hangings and greeting cards, as well as the traditional paintings and photographs. The offerings change from year to year, so it's a good way to keep up on trends in the crafts world. I few years ago, I fell in love with seashells glued to coastal scenes, but regrettably did not buy a painting. I was determined to buy one the next year, but none were on sale.

The art show draws artists and crafts people from throughout the Pacific Northwest. Allied Arts says artists come from 46 states and Canada. Some even demonstrate their crafts for visitors. The two-day event is just a cool experience.