Oregon Trail: Day 1 – Stonehenge

Adobe summer shutdown. What a beautiful thing. Knowing it was coming we’d planned it for awhile. June can be an iffy month in Western Washington so we had decided back in February we were headed to Eastern Oregon: John Day Fossil Beds, Hell’s Canyon, high desert. It seemed like a good idea at the time. But we’ve been in a heat wave in Seattle with the hottest June on record about to be recorded. Looking at the forecast it looked liked it was going to be in the 100s most of our week. Since we had prebooked and prepaid our RV sites along the way we really had no choice but to proceed. We bought a few extra fans, brought an extra cooler, and headed southeast towards Oregon.

Friday June 26th – We left Seattle and stopped for lunch in Yakima – 102 degrees. A friend had recommended Miner’s Drive In – A Yakima institution. The place was packed. We had no idea what we were doing and over ordered. The place has rediculous portion! A single order of fries could have been shared by 4 or more.

   
 

After eating our fill we headed down highway 97 towards Goldendale, WA. Our destination: Maryhill State Park on the Columbia River gorge. 

Our first stop was Stonehenge, a war memorial started in 1918 and completed in 1929 and dedicated to the war vetrans of WWI. The replica is a complete Stonehendge and perfectly astronomically aligned to the solstice. It was built by Sam Hill, a Quaker, who made his fortune promoting the idea of roads and highways in the early 20th century. Its perched perfectly atop a plateau above the Columbia River with a stunning view of Mount Hood. 

    

  
The heat around the ‘henge was unbearable. So we headed to the Maryhill Museum of Art which hosts an eclectic collection of pieces connected to Sam Hill, the creator of the ‘henge. 

Maryhill Museum of Art is peculiar because it houses a large collection of Auguste Rodin’s works, including the only known plaster cast of Rodin’s “The Thinker” as well as many other sculptures and watercolors from the span of his work.

   
     After an hour of art history we headed to Maryhill Winery and amphitheater which has won the Washington State Winery of the Year for the past 3 years.   

The wines were fabulous and we ended up buying a Rose (once chilled to cool us from the heat), a barbera, and a reserve Zinfandel to drink on our upcoming aniversary. 

We left the winery and headed back to Maryhill State Park to cook dinner and take a cooling swim in the mighty Columbia River. It was a lovely, although hot, evening sunset and perfect start to our Eastern Oregon hotzone adventure.   

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