Saturday, June 22, 2013

Lowden: quiet until Saturday

This Indian Scout sold for $32,000.
Lowden, Washington, is a quiet little community, more or less a wide spot in the road as you drive Highway 12 between the Tri-Cities and Walla Walla. It has a couple of top-notch wineries and a grain elevator, and is best known as being near the site of a famous battle between Indians and the cavalry back in 1865.

It's not an incorporated city; probably under 200 people, but all that changed for a few hours on Saturday, June 22, when m hundreds of people, amounting to many times the community's population, descended upon Lowden for an auction of equipment and vehicles owned by the late Ted Small. This wasn't just any farm auction, however. Included aamng the old and antique tractors and Caterpillars were five rare vintage Indian motorcycles and more than a dozen antique and classic cars. These were the vehicles that drew the crowds. While people were somewhat spread out for sales of the tractors et al, they were almost wall to wall  when it came time to auction off the motorcycles and cars.

While it was wildly rumored that late-night talk show host Jay Leno would be an hand to buy vehicles for h is garage, he never showed. Reportedly, some of his staff flew into Walla Walla Airport on his Learjet that morning.

This rare engine sold quickly for $200,000.
Of the five motorcycles, a 1941 Indian 441 went for the most money, $50,000, while a 1940 Indian Scout sold for the least, $32,000. A 1910 Auburn touring car brought $97,000, the most paid for any of the cars, but the highest selling big item was an 1896 Golden Gate gas engine, of which less than 10 were made. A local wheat farmer bought it for $200,000 on the fourth bid.

The crowds began clearing out after the last auto was auctioned off, though only just over a third of the items to be sold had been sold by that time. By the end of the day, Lowden had returned to normal.

Friday, June 21, 2013

Washington falls on best list

A waterfalls in Olympic National Park in Washington is on a list of the eight best waterfalls in U.S. national parks. The list, prepared by CNN, says Marymere Falls is easy to find and get to from Highway 101, the Pacific Coast Highway that ends at the border with Mexico.

The news service says the 90-foot high  falls is about a one-mike hike over a relatively flat trail from the highway.

Also on the list were Bird Woman Falls in Glacier National Park in northern Montana and Horseshoe Falls at Yosemite National Park in California. Noticeably missing from the list was Yellowstone Falls in Yellowstone National Park.

Monday, June 17, 2013

The Gorge at George

Another Pacific Northwest place has earned a place on a list of bests. This time it's the Gorge Amphitheatre that was named to CNN's list of "8 amazing outdoor music venues" around the world.

The amphitheatre overlooks the Columbia River near the town of George, Washington. Great views of the Cascade Mountains to the west can be seen across the river. CNN notes the Gorge's scenic beauty is one reason why it was picked for the list.

The Gorge has been a popular outdoor music concert "hall" for many years now, hosting some of the biggest stars in the music world.

Other music venues on the list included outdoor theatres in Germany and Scotland, as well as elsewhere in the United States.

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Gearhart, Oregon: Nice beach town

A recent CNN article listed Gearhart, Oregon, as one of the top beach towns in the United States. It's on the northern Oregon coast between Cannon Beach and Seaside.

We prefer the central and southern Oregon coasts because they're prettier, so I can't comment too much on it, though we have occasionally driven through the town. I do remember my mother, who grew up in Portland, talking about it as her family went there a lot when she was a child. According to the article, Gearhart is still popular with Portlanders who like to drive on the beach at night, drink wine and look at stars.

Beach towns from Hawaii to Maine and Florida also were named to the list.

Monday, June 10, 2013

Charbonneau Park Offers Riverside Camping Near Pasco, Washington

Camping in Charbonneau Park
Charbonneau Park and Campground, with 54 sites located on the Snake River, is an oasis of shade in the high desert land that is southeastern Washington.

The campground and marina sit on the south side of Lake Sacajawea, a reservoir that was formed when the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers constructed Ice Harbor Dam a couple of miles down river. The corps operates this campground just as it does its sister campground, Hood Park, a few miles to the west.

Charbonneau Park RV Camping
Charbonneau Park offers 37 RV and tent sites with 50 amp electricity; 14 of the sites are located along the water.  It also has 15 full hook-up sites with electricity, water and sewer; two of these sites are handicap accessible. All of the campsites can be reserved in advance through the federal government’s campground reservation system.

The sites have paved pads and each one comes with a picnic table and fire pit/grill. The campground also has playgrounds for children, flush toilets with hot showers, potable water and dump stations.
A boat launch and marina are nearby. The marina sells gasoline for boats during the summer months. The boat launch is open year round.

The Corps of Engineers charges nightly fees for camping from May 1 through September 30. Dry camping is available for free the rest of the year.

Day Use

Charbonneau Park also has a day use section with a picnic shelter for large groups. The shelter can be reserved in advance; otherwise, it is available on a first-come first-serve basis, the corps says.
The park is very popular with residents of the nearby Tri-Cities of Richland, Pasco and Kennewick, who flock there by the hundreds for picnicking, swimming and boating on hot summer weekends.

Charbonneau History

Charbonneau Park is named after Toussaint Charbonneau, the French-Canadian husband of Sacajawea, the Shoshone Indian guide who interpreted for the Lewis and Clark Corps of Discovery as it traveled to the Pacific Ocean.

On their journey to and from the ocean, the explorers spent several days camped a few miles downstream at the confluence of the Snake and Columbia rivers. Their campground is now the site of Sacajawea State Park.

How to Find Charbonneau Park
Charbonneau Park is located at 642 Campground Road in rural Burbank, a small community on
Highway 124. Turn on Highway 12 just south of the Snake River Bridge and go 8.3 miles to the Ice Harbor Dam intersection. Turn right on Safe Harbor Road just before you get to the dam. The park is located a couple of miles down this road.