We’ve officially made the turn eastward on our journey towards home. We crossed the Snake River in southern Washington near its confluence with the Columbia River and followed a portion of the Lewis and Clark Trail. I had one thing in mind when we stopped to tour the Whitman Mission National Historic Site. I wanted to purchase my Senior Pass, formerly called the Golden Age Pass. This pass is one of the special benefits of turning this magical age. For the measly sum of $10.00, I will have unlimited access to all national parks for the rest of my life, plus discounts on camping fees at parks and other federal campgrounds. Imagine my disappointment when I found out that Whitman Mission is a no-fee park so they do not sell the pass. What a bummer.
The Whitman Mission National Historic Site preserves the site of a mission founded among the Cayuse Indians in 1836 by Marcus and Narcissa Whitman. The mission was known as Waiilatpu, meaning “place of the people of the rye grass” was also an important station on the Oregon Trail. The mission operated until its violent end in 1847. That year a measles epidemic decimated the Cayuse, and Dr. Whitman’s medicine failed to help them. A band of Cayuse attacked the mission and killed Whitman, his wife and several others. The tragedy ended Protestant missions in the Oregon country and led Congress to create the Oregon Territory, the first formal territorial government west of the Rockies.
|Whitman Mission from Above
|The Oregon Trail Ran through the Mission
|The Great Grave Where the Victims Were Buried
We walked the trail which winds its way through the mission site and climbed the hill to the Whitman Memorial where we rewarded with expansive views of the surrounding countryside.
For quite some time I had heard wonderful things about Walla Walla, one of the Washington State’s best-known wine tourism regions. Therefore, the city was on my list of places to check out, and we headed that way. We drove through the downtown area and around Whitman College and were impressed with what we saw – a lively downtown with restored historic buildings and a beautiful campus. Our plan was to stop, walk around, have lunch and do a little wine tasting. Surprisingly, we never could find a place to park the RV. We’re not that big, but there seemed to be no legal place for us. We were so frustrated that we left town without stopping.
|Walla Walla Looked Like a Great Town
We drove on to Waitsfield, another quaint and up-and-coming town. Waitsfield was much friendlier to us, and this is where we stopped for lunch. I even found a bottle of Walla Walla wine at a market in town to take with us. I’ll just do my own wine tasting at the campground.
|Recent Rehabilitations of Downtown Buildings
Our drive through southeastern Washington was beautiful, particularly its fertile, rolling hills planted with wheat and other crops. The various shades of green painted a wonderful picture on the hillsides.
|Beautiful Rolling Hills
|It's So Green Here
|How Many Shades of Green Can There Be?
We found a nice campground for the first part of the Memorial Day weekend, and our plan is to stay here for two nights. Unfortunately, we are out of cell phone range, and although the campground has wi-fi, my computer is not picking it up. I’ll just have to wait to post our adventures from the last few days.