Quincy To George To Hanford To Tri-Cities To Walla Walla, Washington

Walla Walla, Washington

July 27, 2021

A full day of traveling. Ponyed up for a room at the Walla Walla Comfort Suites. That certainly won't impress anyone but yeah, who is there to impress?🤪. I think my time on the road is starting to wear on me a bit; I am still excited to see all the new things I am seeing. Takes me a bit longer to rebound. And I am seeing so much that I want to post about! It was easier when I was only driving 25 miles in a day. 🚶‍♂️

Hotel sign in Quincy. I may spend the rest of my days traveling around the country taking photos of fun old signs like this one.

I took the following photos as I drove south out of Quincy. You might guess that Quincy's economy is based on agriculture -- and I think you would be correct. A heavy Hispanic influence -- Spanish is the first language on some billboards and most of the restaurants were Mexican or Central American. I saw a large number of workers out in the fields -- I assume they were Hispanic. How lucky we are that there are people willing to do the manual labor on these farms. The hours suck, the temperature sucks, the humidity sucks -- you get the picture.

But for the irrigation from the Columbia River, this would all be desert.

The air reminded me of the Imperial Valley. There was a stench that comes from the fertilizers and pesticides. And the haze -- not caused by moisture. It is all the dust that gets kicked up around the areas that are planted.

I laughed when I noticed that there were signs to identify the crop. So helpful! Although I have no idea what "timothy" is. Hopefully it not the timothy from the Buoys song!!!

Next there was George.

Around George, I saw a sign for the Gorge Amphitheatre. I thought it can't be the one where DMB plays -- this is out in the middle of nowhere. I was right that it is in the middle of nowhere; I was wrong in that it really is that one.

From Wikipedia:

The Gorge Amphitheatre, originally known as Champs de Brionne Music Theatre, is an outdoor concert venue near the Columbia River in Grant County, Washington, nine miles west of George, Washington. It is managed by Live Nation.

According to The Wall Street Journal, the Gorge is considered one of the most scenic concert locations in the world. It is a nine-time winner of Pollstar Magazine's award for 'Best Outdoor Music Venue' and was voted as one of the 'Best Outdoor Concert Venues in America' by ConcertBoom.

The original amphitheater was owned and operated by Dr. Vincent Bryan and Carol Bryan, along with the adjoining winery, Champs de Brionne, for which it was named. It opened in 1986 and seated 3,000 people, but was later expanded after MCA purchased the venue from the Bryan family in 1993. Later, Live Nation acquired the facility.

The Gorge is located approximately 150 miles east of Seattle and approximately 130 miles west of Spokane. This venue offers sweeping and majestic views of the Columbia River as it skirts the foothills of the Cascade Range southbound, as well as extreme eastern Kittitas County and extreme western Grant County. It is also known for its views of the Columbia Gorge canyon. Originally, the land was planned to be used for growing grapes for wine.

Apart from drawing big name performers, The Gorge has also played host to an array of popular music festivals, including Area Festival, Creation Festival, Dave Matthews Band Caravan, H.O.R.D.E. Festival, Honda Civic Tour, Identity Festival, Lilith Fair, Lollapalooza, Ozzfest, Paradiso Festival, Rock the Bells Festival, Sasquatch! Music Festival, Uproar Festival, Vans Warped Tour, Pain in the Grass, and Watershed Festival as well as Phish, who has played 19 times since 1997.

Brooks & Dunn's "Only in America" video was filmed here on June 12, 2001.

The Gorge, a combination 2-CD/1-DVD set with highlights from Dave Matthews Band's 3-night 2002 tour closer here was released on June 29, 2004.

Pearl Jam (from Seattle) released a box set, featuring their entire performances from 2005 and 2006, aptly titled, Live at the Gorge 05/06.

Above and Beyond hosted their 250th episode of Group Therapy Radio at The Gorge on September 16, 2017 to September 17, 2017.

Excision began hosting his weekend-long electronic music festival Bass Canyon here in August 2018.[7] The second year of the festival took place on August 23–25, 2019 and featured artists such as Excision himself, Flux Pavilion, Zomboy, Wooli, Virtual Riot, Subtronics, Liquid Stranger, and many more.

Fans can stay in the campground for 24 hours on the day of a single show, or until 12 noon the day after a run of shows end. Camping at the Gorge requires buying a camping ticket, which can be included in the concert admission ticket.

The campground at the Gorge sets aside spaces for one car with up to two two-person tents or a single RV. There are very limited RV hookups at the Gorge campground. Sites are set aside by venue staff on a first-come, first-served basis. Potable water, flush toilets, hot showers, and a convenience store are available on the grounds. The campground also has 24-hour security.

Back to my walkabout today:

I basically drove through fields of something all day -- except the Hanford Site.

What southeastern Washington looks like without irrigation.

These next photos are as I drove by the Hanford Site. 20+ miles of nothing but high desert. Off to my left you could see outlines of facilities -- perhaps one or two were reactor buildings -- but they were way off in the distance. Unlike when you drive in, through and around the Savannah River Site, there are trees and vegetation. Hanford was starker than I imagined. While I would have preferred a sunny day, the overcast day did add to the eerieness of the place.

In the last photo, you'll notice the groomed sand inside the fence. That is done (passive voice) at the Mexican border so that security can identify footprints to detect intruders. Perhaps that is the same approach at Hanford.

Tours are offered by DOE but not now due to Covid. It would have been fun to look around. Instead I drove on by.

As I drove on I came into the Tri-Cities Perhaps it was my mood; I wouldn't move there.

From Wikipedia:

The Tri-Cities are three closely linked cities (Kennewick, Pasco, and Richland)[2][3] at the confluence of the Yakima, Snake, and Columbia Rivers in the Columbia Basin of Eastern Washington. Each city borders one another, making the Tri-Cities seem like one uninterrupted mid-sized city. The three cities function as the center of the Tri-Cities metropolitan area, which consists of Benton and Franklin counties.[4] The Tri-Cities urban area consists of the city of West Richland, the CDPs of West Pasco and Finley, as well as the CDP of Burbank, despite the latter being located in Walla Walla County.

The official 2016 estimate of the Tri-Cities MSA population is 283,846, a more than 12% increase from 2010. 2016 U.S. MSA estimates show the Tri-Cities population as over 300,000. The combined population of the three principal cities themselves was 193,567 at the 2010 Census. As of April 1, 2016, the Washington State Office of Financial Management, Forecasting Division estimates the cities as having a combined population of 217,430.[5]

The Tri-Cities Airport is located in Pasco and provides the region with commercial and private air service. Pasco is the seat of Franklin County, while the other two cities are located in Benton County. In 2010, Kiplinger rated the Tri-Cities among the Top 10 best places to raise a family, and CNN/Money ranked the Tri-Cities one of the top 10 best bets for gains in housing value, due to its relatively stable economic conditions since the early 2000s.[6]

1940s – 1970s

After the founding of the Hanford Site in 1943 as part of the Manhattan Project, Richland became the largest city of the three overnight. Richland's Columbia High School adopted "Bombers" as its mascot (complete with mushroom cloud logo). In 1970, Kamiakin High School (in the neighboring city of Kennewick) was founded in response to the continued influx of people. The economy continued to grow, but not without some turbulence. Every time the Hanford facilities experienced reduced funding, thousands of people would suddenly become jobless. During this time, other employers slowly made their way into the area, but they too would often be forced to cut jobs in the bad times. Since the 1970s, Kennewick has had the greatest population of the three cities. The Columbia Center Mall opened in 1969 on land newly incorporated into Kennewick, drawing growth to western Kennewick and south Richland.

1980s – 1990s[edit]

The Environmental Molecular Science Laboratory at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, a major national laboratory in Richland

Completion of the Interstate 182 Bridge in 1984 made Pasco much more accessible, fueling the growth of that city.[8] With the end of the Cold War, many in the area feared a shutdown of Hanford, followed by the Tri-Cities quickly becoming a ghost town. These fears were allayed after the United States Department of Energy switched the facility's purpose from the creation of nuclear weapons to the effective sealing and disposal of radioactive waste. During the 1990s, several major corporations entered the Tri-Cities, which helped to begin diversifying the economy apart from the Hanford sector. In 1995, a sixth public high school, Southridge High, was founded in south Kennewick.

2000s – present

The 2000s saw continued rapid growth as the Hanford site hired hundreds of workers to help with the cleanup effort. Additionally, the Tri-Cities saw a large influx of retirees from various areas of the Northwest. During this time, and the corresponding nationwide housing boom, all three cities flourished and grew significantly. Pasco became the fastest growing city in Washington (in terms of both percent increase and number of new residents). In 2005, the Census Bureau reported that Pasco's population had surpassed Richland's for the first time since pre-Hanford days. Fueled by the boom, Chiawana High School was founded, and by 2019 had become the largest high school in the entire state.

Despite the economic recession of the late 2000s, the Tri-Cities area continued to maintain steady growth and a stable economic climate due in part to the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 which directed funding and jobs to the Hanford site and its various cleanup efforts.

A video of part of the drive:

Wikipedia says it is pronounced "tou-shee" but we know how it really pronounced!

And news about Walla Walla:

Walla Walla is the largest city and county seat of Walla Walla County, Washington, United States.[5] It had a population of 31,731 at the 2010 census, estimated to have increased to 32,900 as of 2019. The population of the city and its two suburbs, the town of College Place and unincorporated East Walla Walla, is about 45,000.

Walla Walla is in the southeastern region of Washington, approximately four hours away from Portland, Oregon, and four and half hours from Seattle. It is located only 6 mi (10 km) north of the Oregon border.


Recorded history in this state begins with the establishment of Fort Nez Perce in 1818 by the North West Company to trade with the Walla Walla people and other local Native American groups. At the time, the term "Nez Perce", which is French for pierced nose, was used more broadly than today, and included the Walla Walla in its scope in English usage.[7] Fort Nez Perce had its name shift to Fort Walla Walla. It was located significantly west of the present city.

On September 1, 1836, Marcus Whitman arrived with his wife Narcissa Whitman.[8] Here they established the Whitman Mission in an unsuccessful attempt to convert the local Walla Walla tribe to Christianity. Following a disease epidemic, both were killed in 1847 by the Cayuse who thought that the missionaries were poisoning the native peoples. Whitman College was established in their honor.

On July 24, 1846, Pope Pius IX established the Diocese of Walla Walla and appointed Augustin-Magloire Blanchet to become the first Bishop of Walla Walla. The diocese was short-lived as Bishop Blanchet fled to St. Paul, Oregon, after the Whitman Massacre. In 1850, the Diocese of Nesqually was established in Vancouver and in 1853 the Diocese of Walla Walla was suppressed and absorbed into the Diocese of Nesqually. Today, the Diocese of Walla Walla is a titular see currently held by Witold Mroziewski, an auxiliary bishop of Brooklyn, New York.

The original North West Company and later Hudson's Bay Company Fort Nez Percés fur trading outpost, became a major stopping point for migrants moving west to Oregon Country. The fort has been restored with many of the original buildings preserved. The current Fort Walla Walla contains these buildings, albeit in a different location from the original, as well as a museum about the early settlers' lives.

The origins of Walla Walla at its present site begin with the establishment of Fort Walla Walla by the United States Army here in 1856. The Walla Walla River, where it adjoins the Columbia River, was the starting point for the Mullan Road, constructed between 1859 and 1860 by US Army Lieut. John Mullan, connecting the head of navigation on the Columbia at Walla Walla (i.e., the west coast of the United States) with the head of navigation on the Missouri-Mississippi (that is, the east and gulf coasts of the U.S.) at Fort Benton, Montana.

Walla Walla was incorporated on January 11, 1862. As a result of a gold rush in Idaho, during this decade the city became the largest community in the territory of Washington, at one point slated to be the new state's capital. Following this period of rapid growth, agriculture became the city's primary industry. Baker Boyer Bank, the oldest bank in the state of Washington, was founded in Walla Walla in 1869.

In 1936, Walla Walla and surrounding areas were struck by the magnitude 6.1 State Line earthquake. Residents reported hearing a moderate rumbling immediately before the shock. There was significant damage in the area, and aftershocks were felt for several months following.

Fort Walla Walla - 1874

In 2001 Walla Walla was a Great American Main Street Award winner for the transformation and preservation of its once dilapidated main street.[13] In July 2011, USA Today selected Walla Walla as the friendliest small city in the United States.[14] Walla Walla was also named Friendliest Small Town in America the same year as part of Rand McNally's annual Best of the Road contest. In 2012 and 2013 Walla Walla was a runner-up in the best food category for the Best of the Road. Downtown Walla Walla was awarded a Great Places in America Great Neighborhood designation in 2012 by the American Planning Association.


Tourists to Walla Walla are often told that it is a "town so nice they named it twice".[19] Some locals and Walla Walla natives often refer to the city in text form with "W2".[20] Walla Walla is a Native American name that means "Place of Many Waters" because the original settlement was at the junction of the Snake and Columbia rivers. The original name of the town was Steptoeville, named after Colonel Edward Steptoe.[21] In 1855 the name was changed to Waiilatpu,[22] and then by 1859 had been changed again, this time to the name it holds today. Walla Walla is humorously mentioned in The Three Stooges.

Geography and climate

Walla Walla is located in the Walla Walla Valley, with the rolling Palouse hills and the Blue Mountains to the east of town. Various creeks meander through town before combining to become the Walla Walla River, which drains into the Columbia River about 30 miles (50 km) west of town. The city lies in the rain shadow of the Cascade Mountains, so annual precipitation is fairly low.

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 12.84 square miles (33.26 km2), of which 12.81 square miles (33.18 km2) is land and 0.03 square miles (0.08 km2) is water.

Walla Walla has a hot-summer Mediterranean climate according to the Köppen climate classification system (Köppen Csa). It is one of the northernmost locations in North America to qualify as having such a climate. In contrast to most other locations having this climate type in North America, Walla Walla can experience fairly cold winter conditions.


2010 census

As of the census of 2010, there were 31,731 people, 11,537 households, and 6,834 families residing in the city. The population density was 2,477.0 inhabitants per square mile (956.4/km2). There were 12,514 housing units at an average density of 976.9 per square mile (377.2/km2). The racial makeup of the city was 81.6% White, 2.7% African American, 1.3% Native American, 1.4% Asian, 0.3% Pacific Islander, 9.1% from other races, and 3.6% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 22.0% of the population.

There were 11,537 households, of which 30.4% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 42.6% were married couples living together, 12.0% had a female householder with no husband present, 4.7% had a male householder with no wife present, and 40.8% were other forms of households. 33.4% of all households were made up of individuals, and 14.2% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.43 and the average family size was 3.10.

The median age in the city was 34.4 years. 22% of residents were under the age of 18; 14.5% were between the ages of 18 and 24; 26.2% were from 25 to 44; 23.1% were from 45 to 64; and 14% were 65 years of age or older. The gender makeup of the city was 51.9% male and 48.1% female.

Economy and infrastructure


Though wheat is still a big crop, vineyards and wineries have become economically important over the last three decades. In summer 2020, there were over 120 wineries in the greater Walla Walla area. Following the wine boom, the town has developed several fine dining establishments and luxury hotels. The Marcus Whitman Hotel, originally opened in 1928, was renovated with original fixtures and furnitures. It is the tallest building in the city, at 13 stories.

Walla Walla Farmers Market

The Walla Walla Sweet Onion is another crop with a rich tradition. Over a century ago on the Island of Corsica, off the west coast of Italy, a French soldier named Peter Pieri found an Italian sweet onion seed and brought it to the Walla Walla Valley. Impressed by the new onion's winter hardiness, Pieri, and the Italian immigrant farmers who comprised much of Walla Walla's gardening industry, harvested the seed. The sweet onion developed over several generations through the process of selecting onions from each year's crop, targeting sweetness, size and round shape. The Walla Walla Sweet Onion is designated under federal law as a protected agricultural crop. In 2007 the Walla Walla Sweet Onion became Washington's official state vegetable. There is also a Walla Walla Sweet Onion Festival, held annually in July. Walla Walla Sweet Onions have low sulfur content (about half that of an ordinary yellow onion) and are 90 percent water.

Walla Walla currently has two farmers markets, both held from May until October. The first is located on the corner of 4th and Main, and is coordinated by the Downtown Walla Walla Foundation. The other is at the Walla Walla County Fairgrounds on S. Ninth Ave, run by the WW Valley Farmer's Market.

Wine industry

Walla Walla has experienced an expansion in its wine industry in recent decades, culminating in the area being named "Best Wine Region (2020)" in USA Today's Reader Choice Awards. Several local wineries have received top scores from wine publications such as Wine Spectator, The Wine Advocate and Wine and Spirits. L'Ecole 41, Woodward Canyon, Waterbrook Winery and Leonetti Cellar were the pioneers starting in the 1970s and 1980s. Although most of the early recognition went to the wines made from Merlot and Cabernet, Syrah is fast becoming a star varietal in this appellation. Overall, there are more than 120 wineries in the Walla Walla area, which collectively generate over $100 million for the valley annually.

Walla Walla Community College offers an associate degree (AAAS) in winemaking and grape growing through its Center for Enology and Viticulture, which operates its own commercial winery, College Cellars.

One challenge to growing grapes in Walla Walla Valley is the risk of a killing freeze during the winter. On average these happen once every six or seven years; the penultimate occurrence (in 2004) destroyed about 75% of the wine grape crop in the valley. In November 2010 the valley was again hit with a killing frost, leading to a 28% decline in Cabernet Sauvignon production, a 20% decline in red grape production, and an overall decline in production of 11% (red and white varietals).

10 views2 comments

Recent Posts

See All