Posts Tagged ‘Goldendale’
Posted on July 11, 2010 - by Nadia
Day 37: July 10, 2010
Pine Creek Resort to Nachez, Washington
Another scorcher of a day, ride was mostly downhill or flat after a five-mile climb to the summit on Hwy. 97. Despite dire warnings to the contrary, Hwy. 97 was fine to bike with little traffic and wide shoulders, though I started early to beat both heat and traffic. Later I was told it is famous for drunk drivers. I wound my way from Union Gap to the far side of Yakima on an unsigned greenway that was a nice break from highway riding, but dumped me out at a confusing overlap of I-84 and Hwy. 12. It took lots of conversations and riding one exit stretch on the Interstate to find the workaround, South Nachez Road. The final dozen or so miles was tough with no shoulder, the sun blinding both me and drivers coming behind me and thrashing wind.
There is a road to Reno where the ancestors wait to bless the bettors. As far as I can tell, it’s a long way to Reno from the outskirts of Toppenish but the early wagers caught my eye as I pedaled along Hwy 97. There wasn’t a car in sight so it was easy to just stop and give the crazy scattering of change the once over. A half dozen quarters, lots of dimes and nickels, countless pennies. What in the world happened here? I glanced around. tThis was quickly adding up to enough change for a convenience store ice cream break. I stooped and started picking up coins. I didn’t have many in hand when something made me look up. Well above me, a rag tag collection of scarves and beads fluttered in the wind, tied to a stretch of field fencing.
The place had a funny feel and there was a steep little worn route leading up the hillside, so I went up. On top of the hill, a fenced in square held a commanding view of the valleys to both the north and south. Inside the fence, collections of junk – plastic bottles, old shoes – were piled on what seemed to be a handful of very old graves. Coins, lottery tickets and pull tabs were left as offerings. This was clearly a sacred site. I did what anyone who knows what happened to Greg Brady when he took the idol from the cave in Hawaii would do: I carefully put the money on one of the entry gates and recommitted it to whatever its original purpose was.
Upon later inquiry I learned that the site dates to the 1800s, and is a traditional burial site for the Yakama Nation. Tribal members headed to Reno toss money out of their car as they go by, with the understanding the ancestors will watch over their wagers in the future. A larger, better kept burial site is on the hill behind a fruit stand on the west side of town.
It was a week for cemeteries and legends that started with a walk through the Goldendale Cemetery on Friday. The front part of the large grounds is mowed and the stones are in good shape, in straight rows. But in the back, where the stones are generally much older, from the 1860s, 70s and 80s, many of the monuments were broken, pieced together on the ground or stacked in their parts. The grass isn’t mowed and wild grass blows fluff and long. I asked what happened to that part of the graveyard. The woman at the museum told me it had been vandalized. And that a guy who had tended the cemetery had chopped down a bunch of trees and they’d fallen into graves. That latter bit sounded just strange to me and I chalked the whole telling up to just one more example of how weird Goldendale is odd.
Riding the Northern Pacific
I spent two hours at a train museum dedicated to North Pacific memorabilia in Topponish. Among the cool things was the almost completed restoration of a locomotive, one sister of which is located in a park in Missoula, the other in Helena.
Headed to Sumner
My trip is winding down. I suspect I will arrive Sumner Monday evening. Anyone want to join me for dinner Tuesday? Come on down! I’ll have 2,200 miles on the odometer and legs and many too many memories to even catalog at this point. My battery is very low so I’ll save longer summary posts until I am there. Thanks for reading, everyone.
Posted on July 10, 2010 - by Nadia
Day 36: July 9, 2010
Goldendale to Pine Creek Bar and RV campground
The last noodle of common sense left in my noggin after yesterday’s heat advised me to stay off the road until today cooled down. I did that, pedaling just far enough to set myself up well for an early start to Yakima tomorrow. Highway 97 gains almost 2,000 feet between Goldendale and the summit, mostly in pleasant, staged rolling hills with a wide shoulder.
In 1870, Calvin and Jenny Keys and their four kids lived and farmed and kept house in Klickitat County, near Goldendale, Washington. When the census taker came knocking on their door, the oldest son was nine, the youngest, a girl, three months. Calvin was 40, Jenny was 34. They were starting over. Done were the days of drought in southern California. Done were the endless rains of the Olympic peninsula. Here, cattle ranged free with few acres plowed or fenced to keep them out. There were enough people to make it feel settled, but not enough to be unsettling.
This is where Alice Josephine would be born in the hot summer of 1872, after a winter that recalled, for the few who had been around then, the devastating freeze of 1961-62. That was the year the livestock died and settlers were left with no choice but to move on. That was the year people started talking about planting hay, about sewing flax, about putting up feed and barns that would allow them to weather such a winter. This year, 1872, was the year they really got serious about such things. Josie was born onto the high country north of the Columbia River in the year that it got settled. Where there had been a few hundred living, now there were a couple of thousand. Fences went up almost as fast as cabins, and the frustration of open range ranchers like her father Calvin grew.
The Keys clan stayed in Goldendale as long as they could stand it. Time was money, for now. The ranch wasn’t big, but it was worth almost $1,000. That was enough to pull out and start over again someplace less crowded. Before Josie was a year old they had done just that, heading south to Pueblo and Trinidad, the ranching towns of southern Colorado that offered more range, and less snow. It was the beginning of Josie’s life on the move.
In 1902, Winthrop Bartlett Presby figured he had what it took to show the world that Goldendale was no backwater. He sunk $8,000 into a fine house, with 22 rooms and fireplace tiles imported from Spain. Today, the Presby Mansion is a museum featuring the everyday doings of turn-of-the-century Goldendale. It is beautifully restored and maintained and includes a research library with indexed census, marriage and death records, among other things
Outside, the old carriage house features a frontier school room and newspaper press shop as well as a collection of threshing and farming equipment.
The Sentinel, Goldendale’s newspaper, is the fourth oldest in the state and its progression is represented in a pressroom display featuring an early printing press, linotype machine and printers lead.
Architecturally, the house is over the top, with its widow’s walk so far from the sea, it’s wrap around porch, and its stifling third floor. Its hard not to imagine that Mr. Presby had a pretty big ego. Apparently, it was at least a bit bigger than his income. Household gossip tells that he died in debt, and the house was seized by his lien holders. His wife held no claim to it, as she had divorced him earlier, on grounds that he was an insufferable grouch.
Roll on, Train fans
I won’t be here for the Train concert at Maryhill Winery tomorrow, but Jesen gave me a hint of what I’ll be missing in his family’s RV at the Pine Creek Inn, 13 miles south of Goldendale. Belting out a full-on rendition of Hey Soul Sister, the Spokane teen had a rapt audience singing along, watching his every move. The RV was humming, and that’s how it should be the night before going to see a big concert – a little show, with a lot of friends.
Selena and Scott saw me roll into Pine Creek and struck up a conversation while their three kids paced the gravel driveway, watching for their friends to drive up in their deluxe RV ride. When Jim and Gina and their five boys arrived, the stage was set and I was just lucky enough to be invited in for a bit. Selena and Scott are from Portland, Gina and Jim from Spokane, and a few times a year they find an excuse to get together. This year, the excuse is Train and the first concert ever for the three Portland kids. Oh, what a time tomorrow night will be!
Jesen brought the musical talent, but everyone threw something into the pot. Jared did a backflip standing right there in the RV. In his socks. Brett and Andrew lured the herd of lop eared rabbits that lolled around the parking lot into the lair they made of celery and bread. Sam and Brock held down the couch, Kate bravely yawned and claimed the sole girl spot in their big bunch of boys and everyone sang along with Jesen.
Camping. Regardless of tent size, it’s summertime in America if there’s a singalong, the burgers are a little burnt and old friends welcome a new one into the circle. Thanks gang. Have a great time at the show.