Where in the Sam Hill Are We?

6792_stone1Wednesday, June 12 – We made it to the east side of the Columbia River today, near the tiny town of Maryhill, WA. Mary was quite happy because there were acres and acres of cherry and peach trees all around. She is in fresh cherry heaven. We are at Maryhill State Park, paying a shocking $32/per night. It’s a very nice park right next to the river and it sows have water, electric and sewer. All the sites are large, but still much more than we needed to pay. Mary had a hankering to see the museum here as well as the concrete Stonehenge. so we bit the bullet and paid it. Where in the Sam Hill is the concrete Stonehenge? Well, right here in Maryhill, built by none other than THE Sam Hill. He was a one time wealthy land developer who eventually went broke. He built the Stonehenge (an exact replica of the original in England) as a tribute to fallen soldiers. He also built a large poured concrete home which became the museum. He never moved into it though.
6789_stone2After setting up, we drove up the hill to the Stonehenge. It sits on a windy bluff and has commanding views of the river gorge and hills all around. I found it to be kind of a quirky place – an odd tribute to the fallen in and odd place. We poked about for a bit before returning to camp.
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6813_Merryhill1Thursday, June 13 – Today we went to the nearby Maryhill Museum. It is located on a high overlook along the river. Today it is very windy due to another dry storm system. There are some impressive thunder clouds moving through and while it may be raining somewhere, all we got were the the amazing clouds.
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6812_stone5This other Sam Hill creation also seemed out of place for the area. The collection is kind of a mishmash of artifacts. There were very old religious icons, indian artifacts for many tribes, a large collection of chess sets, a bunch of Rodin sculptures, paintings from early 19 century americans, a fashion doll collection, a furniture collection and more. Just a really strange bunch of stuff, but nothing really outstanding. The grounds were quite nice however. After leaving the museum, we had lunch outside and strolled around photographing the sculptures.
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6822_Merryhill3The day was still young, so we headed out for a drive on the other side of the river to look over the area a bit more. We did find a nice field of wildflowers, but other than various nice views of the river, not much else to speak about. After the Palouse, it will be hard to really impress me.
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6856_WhiteFalls1Friday, June 13 – On our way to the Willamette River watershed, we’ve stopped at the fairgrounds of Tygh Valley, OR for a 2 night stay. They have quite a few sites – all with water/electric with a dump station nearby. They even have WiFi which is making extra posts possible. We might have gone further, but we are in need of washing cloths and resupplying, and we didn’t want to chance not getting into one of the smaller park service campgrounds we are headed to in the area of the Whillamette over the weekend. So we are here till Sunday. As it happens, there is to be a kiddie rodeo tomorrow. We stumbled upon one in the Palouse at the fairgrounds there, and now here again. There isn’t much else to do around here except visit White Falls state park. This tiny park has a pretty impressive waterfall that we visited once we got set up. The whole park is really just an overlook of the falls. The associated trails actually runs away from any views of the actual falls and seems to just to go down to the river.
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6882_WhiteFalls3We did a short drive to the river further downstream and happened upon a group of indians set out on rather rickety looking platforms in the river. I believe they were netting fish there – they are the only group allowed to river fish this way. It was a scene you might expect to see maybe 200 years ago. Oh, I wanted to photograph them, but we were on their land, and experience has shown this would not be a thing they would probably appreciate. We’ll have to settle for the rodeo.

Sunday, June 16 – Well the rodeo turned out to be a bust. Actually what it turned out to be was a kids religious retreat that included cowboy/girl training. The won’t even be doing any actual training until Tuesday. It was a wasted day, and since we had already paid, we were stuck there. It wasn’t a bad place to be stuck, but with only a week left in the trip, we could have moved on and been in better position for extra days in the Whillamette. Mary doesn’t want to spend time or take a chance on not fitting into any of the BLM campgrounds, so we will end up in an RV park anyway.

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