Tuesday, August 22, 2017

A Visit to Prosser, WA

Prosser is a town about 30 miles from Richland, population 5,700 or so, in the heart of wine country.  Two friends and I paid it a visit, and we enjoyed our exploration of its highlights.

There was a small farmer's market to start off with:

Then we went to a few antique shops in the downtown area.

They like to paint walls in Prosser.

Next we headed out to the wineries, where my friends tasted (and bought) wine at Milbrandt's:

We got a restaurant recommendation from the winery staff, and headed back to downtown Prosser for food at the Horse Heaven Saloon.

The door handles offered a clue to the overall decor theme.

This place had a serious interest in all things Old West.

The men's room door:

Inside the Ladies' room:

More mural fun:

The food was pretty good, too!

Monday, August 21, 2017

More fun in Richland

On Friday Truman and I went sketching at Goethals Park which has a nice play area and some very cool trees.

Next we hit the farmer's market.

Truman was a big hit here and got lots of attention which he did not want.

Our last stop was the park by the Columbia River.

Truman enjoys the swing seats there (and so do I).

A lovely spot!

Friday, August 18, 2017

At the Marina

I got in a little sketching and a lot of walking at the Richland marina, where there is a public park and a walking/biking trail.  There are many, many miles of trails in the Tri-Cities, mostly along the river.  They almost made me want to borrow a bicycle.

Instead, I just strolled Truman along, admiring the views:

We startled a Greylag Goose, who flew down to the bank:

I sat for a while by the boats to do a sketch.

And I stopped at another lovely spot:

The Columbia River is a mighty fine river indeed.

Thursday, August 17, 2017

Touring the B Reactor

The B Reactor at Hanford in southeastern Washington was part of the Manhattan Project, and today it is a National Historic Landmark.  FREE tours are offered by the National Park Service, and I went on one -- it was well organized, the docents were fabulous, and if you're ever in Richland, WA, I highly recommend it (http://manhattanprojectbreactor.hanford.gov/).

After a brief video and talk at the B Reactor Museum in Richland, we boarded a bus for the 35-mile drive to the site out in the middle of nowhere.

The docent gave us lots of fun facts and history along the way, about the construction of the reactor in 1943, and the production of plutonium which was used in the atomic bomb that was dropped on Nagasaki.

This is the reactor--it's BIG.

After another presentation inside, we were allowed to roam about the facility on our own for an hour.  We were assured that it was probably safe and that a fellow named Nate came in every morning to sweep the area of snakes and scorpions.

Tens of thousands of workers were housed in temporary camps here during the war, and afterwards the town of Richland was planned and built from scratch to house the workers at the plant.

Cool old equipment was in every room.

Life at the site could be fraught with potential hazards.

I had a little time to sketch -- I tried to do the outside, but it was a bit hot and I didn't last long out there.

I was much more comfortable inside, where I sketched this view off the reactor room:

Finally I decided to have a go at the reactor itself but before I could get to the core section with all the thousands of rods, they announced that the bus was loading and I had to stop as I didn't fancy being left behind.

On the ride back we got more fun information on the post-war use of the reactor, along with some natural history of the area.  It was a terrific tour and one that I would go on again.

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Trail Fail

There is an Urban Greenbelt Trail in Richland winding 3-1/4 miles hither and yon in a big circle that includes part of the riverfront.  Last May I checked it out for the first time, starting at a nicely landscaped medical complex.  However, after a mile I ran into a blocked pedestrian overpass, with no indication of a detour route, and spent a good half hour finding a way around it.  I complained to the city parks department, and they promised to fix it.


Here it was, three months later, and Truman and I headed out on the trail, starting again at the medical complex.

Guess what we found?  A blocked pedestrian overpass with no signs indicating a detour route.

Well, I guess nobody cares enough to fix it.  And we didn't care to deal with finding a way around, so just turned right around.  I found a bench and did a quick sketch instead.

And then I just drove down to the riverfront.  One of the riverboats was docked there -- they go from Astoria all the way to the WA-ID border and back.

Truman enjoyed his stroll.

He also enjoyed a little wading.

Stay tuned for more fun in the Tri-Cities!