Day 18 Walla Walla to Dayton, Washington: Magical! - Grampies on the Go - CycleBlaze

May 18, 2011

Day 18 Walla Walla to Dayton, Washington: Magical!

(Sorry folks - look for the photos with captions and in the right places tomorrow, gods of 2G willing!}

Walla Walla appears to be a low rise, low key town. We didn't visit the downtown, but from a distance only one or two largish buildings were visible. Although Hwy 12 is the main road to the largest city to the East (Lewiston) it is completely free of box stores and franchises. In fact, it is free of any store at all. There is not even a gas station.

Walla Walla is a low rise town.
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The surroundings are made up of storage buildings, vacant lots, and agricultural equipment depots. That's it.

Vet quickly, one is out of "town" and back in the amazing countryside. That countryside is made up of tall hills, maybe up to 1000 feet, and all are covered with green forage crops or have plowed areas of brown. Everything is done in elegant swoops and curves, while the background is supplied by the Blue Mountains. The mountains have strips and patches where the forest has been cut. It is replaced by what looks again like green forage crops.

The road proceeded in moderate ups and downs and it settled on the moderate (or not so moderate) up mode. Along this stretch, theree boys on heavily laden bikes beat quickly past us. These were the same fellows who had done the same thing near Wallula. They were not very communicative, sparing us only a brief "Hi". But we recognized them because one was using square white plastic buckets as front panniers.

1000 kilometers! Our trip is about 1/6 done. Watch out for another five or so of these dumb photos.
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One of many wineries, too bad we don't drink wine.
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The little town of Dixie looks pretty at a distance, but is quite run down
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Nice house on a hill outside Dixie.
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These wind parts are now a common sight for us
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The blades are the most elegant!
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Coloured hills on the way to Waitsburg.
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At the top of the stretch a road sign seemed to label the spot "Lewis Hill". We started down the moderate slope, to find that it went on for "quite a bit". "Quite a bit" stretched to "a long, long, distance", and soon seemed "forever". It was not steep, but just didn't give up. In response, our bikes just gently flew. And they flew through a magical environment of interwoven green and brown, round, high hills. Did I mention the sun was shining and there was a tail wind?

The road flew us all the way into Waitsburg. We discovered that it is a "real" town, with houses on shaded streets. Best of all, there is a small but real "historic downtown". On the street that makes up downtown, everyone stopped to talk to us. That comprises all two people that were there! One was a young man who spontaneously told us the main events of his whole day.

We stepped into a Taqueria that claimed to be the best Mexican restaurant in town. It was also the only restaurant of any type open at this hour (lunch time!). Today was Italian Day at the Taqueria, and my Chicken Alfredo was excellent. While we ate, we got to watch the Spanish soap opera Sacrificio de Muher. It must have been good, as it transfixed our waitress for the length of our stay.

We strolled down the street to Waitsburg Hardware and Mercantile. This is a "real" hardware store, with everything need, jammed amidst artifacts and memorabilia. Marius, I could not decide between the John Deere and the Pig Traeger BBQ. They also had a Steer one!

The store owners, John and Marilyn Stellwagen were also "real". They took a genuine interest in our trip and in us. We could see it was the same for other customers, who seemed to come as much to sit for coffee and to buy stuff. One's wife had also supplied a chocolate cake to supplement the cookies that were on offer.

Nice houses in Waitsburg suburbs.
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Waitsburg downtown. Quaint, charming
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Waitsburg Mercantile - if they don't have it you probably don't need it!
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Spanish soap opera - captivating!
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Italian day at the Mexican restaurant!
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Marius, how about this one?
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... or how about this one?
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Inside Waitsburg Mercantile
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Beyond Waitsburg the farms and unique hills continued. One hill was done up in stripes that reminded me of some sort of Italian dessert.

Italian treat?
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Italian treat II
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Kevin, can you identify the make of the one seater crop duster?
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Our luck held, as very quickly we came to Lewis an Clark State Park, with camping sites right there and not up a hill either! Best of all, they had "primitive" campsites, where cars are not permitted. Some of our best camping experiences have been at such sites, in PEI long ago, and at the Icefields Campground in Jasper. This one was right beside the very fast moving Touchet River, and also featured many birds, and long needle pines. It also featured no one else around!

So ends our magical day. This one and this place will go down in the annals of family history, and joins the places we must come back to and bring others to one day!

Inside the washroom at the Lewis and Clark Trail State Park. Boy, these guys were everywhere!
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Long needle pine
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The Touchet River - moving really really fast.
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Primitive campsite
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Today's ride: 45 km (28 miles)
Total: 1,127 km (700 miles)

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