On August 5, we left Le Page Park in Oregon and headed north across the Yakama Reservation to Prosser, Washington. We crossed the Columbia River and climbed the steep side of the gorge. At the top were a large number of wind power generators.
My Dad has an interesting theory about the current western drought and how these wind power generators could be impacting that. He never quits thinking.
The drive across the reservation was beautiful and desolate. After about 100 miles we made it to the Yakama River Valley. The view of the valley is very interesting. The surrounding hills are dry and brown, but the irrigated fields are lush and green.
We arrived at the Wine Country RV park in Prosser and quickly met up with my mother and father and my Aunt Elizabeth who are in town for my mothers 60th high school class reunion. We were invited to the first evenings reception and enjoyed listening to the stories about my mom growing up in this area.
I noticed as we drove into the valley that the three crops we saw most are corn, grapes and hops. Corn makes whiskey, grapes make wine and hops make beer. We would enjoy much of the fruits of the valley while we were there.
The soil of the Yakama valley was made rich by the silt brought from Montana from the floods after the ice dam of Ancient Lake Missoula burst. Then the ash from Mt. St. Helens added 2 to 6 inches of ash in 1980. The result was some of the best soil for growing grapes in the world. There are wineries and tasting rooms every where you look in this valley.
The following day, August 6, is my birthday. My Aunt and my mom and dad took me on a tour of Prosser. We saw many sights that I have not seen since my youth. This is the first time we have been together in this place since I was 10 years old. This is a town that my grandfather was the mayor back in the early 80’s’. This is the house I remember best. This is where my grandmother and grandfather lived when I was a young child.
Just down the street is the church where my parents were married in 1956. I laughed at the once white church that is now painted purple.
We drove around town to see all of the other places both my parents and grandparents lived. The tour brought back many stories that had been long forgotten. It was fun. Surrounding the valley are some high hills called the Horse Heavens Hills.
This area was very dry and desolate when they were growing up. It is now home to Columbia Crest and many other very large wineries. We went to Columbia Crest for a tasting. We bought a few bottles. It is a beautiful place. Here is a shot of the production facility. They make an unbelievable amount of wine.
We then headed back to Prosser and went to visit my Grandfather and Grandmothers grave. That is the first time I have been there.
Those were two very special days. We would have two more days in Prosser. The theme of the coming days is WINE! Lots of wine. Come back to see if we were able to control our consumption and stay out of the local jail. It is OK, I am sure they have the key on a hook hanging outside the cell so that you can let yourself out when you sober up. The town of Prosser has not lost it’s small town charm unlike the city we would visit the next day.