Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Day 14 -16

Tuesday, September 6th

Wine, Cheese & Chocolate & the 'Iconic Rocks' Tour

I have been looking forward to this tour since I found it on the internet 4 months ago.  Bob, my tour guide, picked me up at the campground at 9:30. We drove north on Oregon State Road 11 toward Walla Walla, WA.  Our first stop was Saviah Cellars.  I was introduced to Denise, the wine steward or sommelier.  Bob introduced me as "a person who contacted him months ago, and drove a 'bus', by herself, from New Jersey".  Denise was very engaging and wanted to know all about my trip and the tour I was taking down the west coast.  We talked as I sampled wines.  The final sample was from a grape  grown in the Walla Walla Valley Viticultural Area, specifically, very thin silt sprinkled over weathered basalt.  The wine had a very earthy note.  It would be a flavor that would take some time for me to enjoy.

My tour continued to Watermill Winery & Blue Mountain Cider Company where I tasted a variety of wines and hard ciders.  I picked up two bottles of cider; one cherry and one peach.  I'll share them in Florida with my Happy Hour friends.  You know who you are.

From there, we visited Don Carlo Vineyard, owned by the regionally famous Tim Kennedy and his wife Lori. Tim is famous for Tim's Cascade Style Potato Chips.  Bob (my guide) was unsure if Tim would be around but assured me that he was permitted to show the vineyard to his clients when Tim was away from the estate.  As we drove up the road, Tim was walking out of the building. He took the time to show me the 'iconic rocks' of the area and educated me on their importance to the wine industry here in Walla Walla. Tim generally does not do tasting at the vineyard, but since I was Bob's only client on this tour, he offered a mini tasting.  I liked the Cabernet Sauvignon and ended up buying a bottle.
Here is a photo of the 'iconic rocks' used as a wall between the parking lot and buildings.

Bob drove us into the town of Walla Walla.  He pointed out some interesting architecture and the Marcus Whitman Hotel.  We found Olive Market Place & Cafe where we shared a cheese platter that had four different cheeses, dried apricots, walnuts and a wonderful dark flat cracker that paired well with the cheese.  The cheese dairy advertised on the tour was unavailable for tours that day.  Bob improvised.  Good call.
When we finished our cheese, the next stop was Bright's Candies.  This store has been in the same location on Main Street, Walla Walla since 1934.  They were making chocolates behind a glassed in observation area.  I watched a bit until the aromas got to me.  I had to get some of that delicious chocolate.

Waterbrook Winery
We continued the wine portion of the tour traveling to Waterbrook Winery and then Basel Cellars Estate Winery.  Waterbrook is a lovely setting.  Outside the tasting area, is a large patio with Adirondack style rockers made from wine barrels facing a peaceful lake. The day was overcast, but the setting still lovely.

Our last stop was Basel Cellars Estate Winery.  This estate was built on the top of a hill for the owner's wife, who for some reason was not happy with it and ended the marriage. Go figure.  The wine steward was a bit distracted due to a wedding being held at the estate the next day.  The guests were arriving and I don't think they were quite ready for them. Anyway, my least favorite of the tour.

Bob finished my tour with a drive around Pendleton.  He took the time to show me the 'hot spots' in the downtown area.

When we got back to the campground, I offered to show him the inside of the Bus. I think he was a bit overwhelmed with all the residential amenities like the heated tile floors, fireplace, dishwasher and washer/dryer.
Wednesday, September 7th, I made use of the information Bob gave me the day before and drove downtown Pendleton to enjoy some of the sites.  First on my list was the Pendleton Wool Mill but ended up doing the Underground tour first due to timing.  I was too late for the 10 a.m. tour so I reserved a place on the 11:30 a.m. tour.

I spent the free time walking around seeing the sites.  My first stop was Hamley & Company. Hamley was first known as a harness and saddle maker, but the business soon developed and increased around its saddles and became known throughout the west as the maker of “the finest saddles man could ride.” The Hamley saying that became synonymous with Hamley quality:  "Quality articles are made for men who are tired of the extravagance of buying cheap things." I enjoyed looking at the beautiful saddles and browsing the western wear.  Hamley also has a steakhouse and cafe.  There was still time before the Underground Tour, so I popped into the cafe for coffee and a cinnamon roll.  Yum.

As I walked through town, I noticed a number of  bronze statues.  I discovered later, that there is a Bronze Trail depicting notable people in Pendleton's history.  I was able to photograph a few.
Kathleen McClintok Round Up Queen
Ester Motanic Indian First Rodeo Queen

It was time for the Underground tour.  The guide gave us an overview and we were led out of the storefront and down a flight of concrete steps to the tunnels.
Underground Tunnel

The Underground is a network of tunnels under the streets and buildings above. Some areas are basements which connect to the tunnels.  Many Chinese immigrants lived in the underground during the building of the transcontinental railroad in the late 1800s. We saw a bar which provided entertainment, a meat market and a laundry run by Hop Sing. There was even an opium den.
Hop Sing's Laundry

We were also taken above ground, to the Cozy Room a local brothel run by Madam Stella Darby. It is said that Stella took very good care of her 'girls'; providing church service on Sunday and an education in stenography and other skills so the girls could find respectable work when they felt confident to move away from their current line of work.

After the Underground Tour, I drove cross town to the Pendleton Mill. Enjoyed their tour and headed back to the campground.

There is a lot to fill you in on.  I'm doing really well with the driving. We have seen the Redwoods, rode the Nape Wine Train, hiked to Sentinel Dome in Yosemite NP and toured the Monterey Peninsula.  Tomorrow, 10/13, we drive to Morro Bay and tour the Hearst Castle.

More to come on all this in future posts.  Thanks for checking in.