The Teapot Dome and the Government Scandal


Teapot Dome Gas Station

What does a big government scandal have to do with a strange little teapot-shaped building sitting in tiny Zillah, Washington?

In 1915, President Wilson set aside the oil reserves in Teapot Dome, Wyoming and Elk Hills, California for the Navy to use as they were converting their ships from coal to Oil. Senator Albert Fall didn’t like the idea. When Warren Harding became president, he appointed Fall to the position of Secretary of the Interior. In 1922 Fall convinced the Secretary of the Navy to turn control of the oil fields over to him, and he promptly accepted bribes for the leases from wealthy oilmen. Once known, the Marines even had to be called in to settle the issue.

So even though the scandal did not directly involve the Zillah area, Jack Ainsworth built the 15-foot-tall Teapot Dome Gas Station in 1922 in his own version of a protest to the scandal, which some consider to be the greatest political scandal up until Watergate.

Trials on the scandal continued through the 1920’s, until 1927 when the Supreme Court ruled that the leases were not valid because they were obtained through corruption, and returned control of the oil reserves to the Navy. In 1929 Albert B. Hall was finally found guilty of bribery and sentenced to one year in prison and fined $100,000 (he accepted $400,000 in bribes).

The Teapot Dome used to sit next to Highway 12 but when Interstate 82 was built the dome was moved into the town of Zillah. The site even includes the original outhouse! However, the gas pumps are not originals. The Teapot Dome is now a visitor’s center. It was added to the National Historic Register in 1985 and is also on the list of the Most Endangered Properties List.


Moving the Teapot Dome Gas Station

To see this unique roadside protest to government scandal, take I-82 to Exit 52 to Zillah. Follow the road up the hill, staying to the right. The beautifully restored red and white Teapot Dome can’t be missed sitting on the left side of the road.

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Firefighters on the Butte: Watchers and Teachers

Fire Smoke

Fire in the lava “island”

Smoke in the distance. In the Bend, Oregon area this happens rather regularly. When that happens while we are visiting we like to drive up to a little cinder cone south of town because it has such a fantastic view, probably a couple of hundred miles.

This time when we got to the top, we saw a US Forest Service fire truck and several firefighters. They weren’t in fire gear, just wearing blue uniforms. Ironically, when we were here eight years previously, there was also a thunder and lightening storm and when it was over we went to this same cinder cone and there were firefighters on lookout then as well!

We stepped out of the truck to take pictures. The fire was an impressive sight from up there. It was in the “lava island” at Lava Lands Visitor Center (see the article posted March 24). We could see the smoke actually billowing up. We went up to talk to the fire crew, and one of them started explaining everything to us – which fire that was, why they were letting it burn, that there was significant lightening expected that day, that they had just gotten back from fighting the fire at Warm Springs. Anything we asked he answered and more.


Keeping watch

We somehow started discussing timber management and the differences in how timber grows on the coast and how it grows here. He told us that the trees are supposed to be close there but here they are naturally spaced about 40 feet apart. He said low underbrush naturally grows here and when a fire starts it burns just that lower part and doesn’t reach the canopy so the trees survive. He explained to us that past poor management over-planted the trees so now they are closer together. The firefighters are trying to play catch-up by thinning some trees but this is also a controversial practice politically.

He also explained that the practice of NOT putting out fires has been detrimental as it has allowed low undergrowth to get taller, and when it catches fire now it can reach the canopy and kill the trees as well. He believed he knows proper management techniques that would make the forests healthier as well as cost MUCH less and save taxpayer money, but that, again, politics interferes.

While he was explaining all this, he was also kind enough to open one of the equipment doors on the fire truck and took out a whiteboard marker and illustrated the tree and undergrowth for us. It was really quite educational!

Fire truck white board

Fire truck “white board”

Josh made himself at home while we were being “educated”. He talked to the other crew members, and they allowed him to climb on fire truck to take pictures from that vantage point.

Just before we left a state police pickup pulled up just to check on the crew and find out what they were seeing. He also told them that that a woman he talked to was a little panicked when she saw the smoke because she thought a volcano was going off!

We wondered how long that crew stayed up on that cinder cone watching for fires. We really appreciated their willingness to welcome us and take their time to educate us – and we were especially grateful for the job they do to protect beautiful Central Oregon.


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Islands in the Lava? – Lava Lands Visitor Center, Bend, Oregon


“Islands” of trees in the lava

Lava Lands Visitor Center is located about eight miles south of Bend, Oregon on Hwy. 97. There is a very small interpretive center, bookstore, trails, restrooms and picnic tables. The site is set up for visitors to Central Oregon to learn all about the volcanic history of the area known as the Newberry National Volcanic Monument.

Lava Butte is the focal point of this spot. The lava flow from this butte spreads out over nine miles in this area. There are “islands” of trees in the flow. “Islands” is the term the locals use. When we first arrived there was a fire from lightening and the news kept reporting that the fire was in an island in the lava flow. We wondered what that meant and finally found out when we visited the site.


More “islands”

To see this spectacular scene you can either walk one of the trails up to the top of Lava Butte or drive up in a car. There are only 10 parking spots, so when you enter the lower facility you are given a time slot and told where to park and wait. Then when it’s your turn you can start driving up to the butte (there is no cost for this part). It’s actually quite close and doesn’t seem very tall, at only 500 feet. The drive up is unique as it follows a beautiful red lava rock road that first weaves through a lava bed, then spirals up the hill.

Road up to top of the butte

Road up to top of the butte

Once parked in the parking lot, you can take a short, but rather steep walk up to the working Forest Service lookout. Inside the bottom floor of the lookout are displays on the walls above each window explaining each geologic feature you are seeing out that particular window. That’s when I realized there are a heck of a lot of buttes and mountains around there!

The views up here there are amazing! For such a short butte, you can see very far.


Amazing views!

There are two trails – The Trail of Molten Land and the Trail of the Whispering Pines – where you can take a leisurely stroll through the area, enjoying more views and looking for critters. What great names for trails!

Nothing cuter than critters!

Can’t resist the critters!

David enjoyed the walk on the trail.

David enjoyed the walk on the trail. Notice the lookout behind him.

After checking out the butte and the trails, you really need to stop in the visitor center and see the educational and interesting displays. There are four different short movies shown during the day that explain the different volcanic processes so they are worth seeing in order to learn more.

Lava Lands Visitor Center is a quick stop to visit while in the Central Oregon area, but an important stop that will help you understand the geology you are seeing. When you learn the story of how the landscape was created through such violent earth processes, you can’t help but view it in a different light and appreciation.

Lava Lands Visitor Center is a Forest Service Fee site so it costs $5 for the day or the $30 annual pass is valid there.

Lava Lands Visitor Center
58201 South Hwy. 97
Bend, OR 97707
(541) 593-2421


Categories: Keatons Out and About, Oregon, Outdoors, Parks | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

RV Adventures: The Great Wall of Poo


You’ll notice there are no other pictures in this story. I just wanted to portray a nice, serene setting first. You’ll soon understand why.

We headed out Thursday night to Long Beach, Washington just to relax and have some fun. Reserved a spot at the Pacific Holiday Resort (a Western Horizon resort) and found our spot about 9:00 pm.

We spent the next couple of days driving up and down the peninsula, eating out, learning about a haunted library and church, and hearing stories of bear problems (who knew there was a bear problem on the beach!)  The weather even cleared enough to ride go-karts and fly kites.

Ahhh, a nice relaxing weekend. Sunday morning we got up and got ready to go. David and Josh went out to break down camp and next thing I knew, I heard David cussing. Being the supportive wife, I just stayed inside doing what I was doing. Why get in his way if things weren’t going well? Then Josh was at the door saying in his low, monotone voice, “Mom, Dad needs some clean clothes.” Again, being the supportive wife, I didn’t bother to ask why I just gathered his clothes and handed them to Josh. I looked out the door and David was standing there with poo all over the lower part of his body. He was trying very hard to keep his voice modulated and controlled. He just said, “Can you also get me some soap and shampoo?”

That’s when he told me the gray water valve had worked its way open and the hose separated from the coupler as he was trying to put it away. He looked stunned, saying, “A great all of poo came right at me.” So now he was going to head down to the clubhouse showers. Thank goodness because I was secretly thinking, “Please don’t come in, please don’t come in.” This is why there are no pictures. Because even though I am such a supportive wife, I didn’t think it was a good idea to ask him to stand there while I took his picture because this would be an oh-so-funny story.

While he walked to the showers, escorted by Josh, I just waited in the RV at the dining table. A few minutes later I saw a maintenance man come up in a golf cart, going around to the dump site. I just quietly and slowing slid down real low in my seat, hoping he wouldn’t see me. I thought, “No way I want to deal with this!” Have I mentioned what a supportive wife I am?

A few minutes later David came back, still covered in poo, and started explaining the issue to the maintenance man. I asked why he didn’t shower and he took a deep breath and said it was closed for cleaning. The maintenance man thanked him for telling him, said a lot of people will just go off and leave it and not say anything. He said he could tell it was an accident. Ya think?!

David eventually went down to the clubhouse to take a shower. A few minutes later I walked to the clubhouse and Josh was sitting talking to the hostess. She looked at me and said, “Are YOU ok?” I said, “Oh, yeah, I just stayed out of the way.” She said, “That’s what I mean, sometimes we can bear the brunt of it, are you OK?” I repeated, “Oh, yeah” and just laughed.

When David came out of the restroom all fresh and clean, he looked at the hostess and smiled a sheepish smile. She looked relieved and said, “I’m glad you can laugh about it.” His reply? “All I can say is – I’m glad I didn’t have my mouth open!”

Categories: Keatons Out and About, RV/Camping | Tags: , | 7 Comments

Beginner Snowshoers – White Pass Ski Area


Daughter, Brandy, snowshoeing for the first time

“I love this, it’s like walking,” smiled my daughter, Brandy. “And I like being able to stop myself, not counting on boards strapped to my feet to stop me.” In case you can’t tell, she tried skiing last year. And didn’t particularly like it. Same with me. We’ve decided we have some sort of “hereditary” balance-and-control-challenge. So though we all tried skiing, it was not particularly successful. This year we wanted to try cross-country skiing. Everyone says we’ll like it better and can go on flatter terrain where we would be more comfortable. The only problem was there was so little snow this winter that it took forever for the trail to open. We finally decided to try snowshoeing, figuring it was less expensive plus we could check out this cross-country trail that was supposed to be nice and flat.

So on a recent Saturday we met Brandy and her boyfriend, Jason at the motel in Packwood and headed up to White Pass Ski Area – along with hundreds of other people who were there for the annual White Pass Winter Carnival. But it was actually not too bad, we found parking pretty quickly, and headed to the yurt. While skis and equipment are rented in the lodge, snowshoes and cross-country gear are rented out of the yurt across the street and behind the lodging. We just needed to rent snowshoes for Josh, David has an old wooden pair, Brandy borrowed a pair of Yukon Charlie’s from a friend and I borrowed a pair of Redfeathers from a friend. We noticed that the rental shoes appeared to be all Yukon Charlie’s. We paid $15 for Josh’s shoes, and $15 a piece for our trail passes.

Me Brandy

Brandy and Nancy snowshoeing for the first time!

Then we headed outside to put on our snowshoes – which is where I ran into my first problem. Even though Brandy quickly and easily got hers on and the back strap fastened, I struggle very much with mine, until I had to have Josh fasten them for me.

Leech Lake

On Leech Lake

Then we all headed off down towards the frozen and snow-covered Leech Lake and the trail that goes around it. The snow was not as expected. It was covered with a light layer of ice and so it was frosty and crunchy when we walked on it. As we started walking down the hill to the lake area, that’s when Brandy decided she liked it. There would be no way either she or I would have been able to comfortably go down that little hill on skis.

Trail 1

Trail along Nordic trail

By Brandy

Creek peeking through snow (photo by Brandy Kirkendall)

Even though there were so many people up there, there were very few people on the trail. We only ran into maybe four or five other small groups around the entire trail. So we had plenty of space to ourselves. The weather was agreeable and the scenery was beautiful and serene. We took two hours to go around the trail because we kept stopping to take pictures. Snow makes landscape look so different. A creek peeking out through the little white hills. Bare trees with snow-caps caught on the top of them. Everything looks clean and smooth.

Yes, after going down the hill to the lake, the first 1/3 or so of the trail was pretty flat. But then it started slowing climbing, and probably what other people would still consider flat, we decided would still have been too much of a hill for us. See, there’s that hereditary inability to appreciate hills, speed, and skiing..

The walk around the lake took the perfect amount of time (there was a restroom available about ½ way around if anyone needs it).


Restroom, if you can get to it

We enjoyed our walk, appreciated the views, felt we got a great workout and worked up a hunger. When finished, we headed back to the yurt to meet Jason for a lunch that we had packed. Time to take off the snowshoes and again I had a problem. I couldn’t get the back strap off and again had to have Josh do it. So bottom line, I would not get the Redfeather snowshoes because I obviously want to be able to put them on and take them off by myself, and Brandy had no problems with her Yukon Charlie’s and neither did Josh.


Inside Yurt

Since most of the people visiting White Pass Ski area head to the lodge to eat, we were actually able to get a table inside the yurt to enjoy our lunch. While we brought our own food, they do have some snacks and beverages available. It was also quite cozy and warm and the staff was very friendly and helpful with our questions.

We had such a successful experience that there has been a great follow-up. Brandy bought herself some Yukon Charlie’s, in a kit with the poles and a carry bag – and she bought a set for me for an early Mother’s Day present! How fun is that!

Brandy Josh

Brandy and Josh celebrating successful snowshoeing!

Categories: Outdoors, Skiing, Uncategorized, Washington | Tags: , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Lions and Tigers and Snow, Oh My! – White Pass Winter Carnival

ozLions and tigers and snow, oh my! OK, that’s not exactly how it goes, but when you combine 75 years of the Wizard of Oz with the White Pass Winter Carnival, that’s what you get.

This past weekend, March 1 and 2, the White Pass Ski Resort held their 28th annual Winter Carnival and decided to use a Wizard of Oz theme. This resulted in a fun and imaginative display of snow/ice artwork and great costumes.

Dorothy’s house was dropped on the Wicked Witch of the West.


Dorothy’s House on the Wicked Witch of the West

The Snow Castle (representing the Emerald City) incorporated the characters into the set – you can see the Cowardly Lion, Dorothy, the Tin Man, Scarecrow, Toto.


Oz Characters on the Snow Castle

You could watch the sculptor making creations with his chainsaw. A snow sculpture competition began the day, which explained why we saw people walking around with things like a snow owl and a snow dog.


Snow Sculptor

The Snow Castle is also a giant slide – for free! Josh spent about four hours sliding down that thing over and over.

Photo by Brandy 3

Snow Castle/Slide (photo by Brandy Kirkendall)

Since some of us older folks aren’t oblivious to the cold like Josh is, we went into the lodge to imbibe in some “anti-freeze”. While there we were entertained by “The Lollipop Guild” singing and dancing. They were quite a hit!

Photo by Brandy 5

Lollipop Guild (photo by Brandy Kirkendall)

Other outside activities include more carnival games for the kids and vendors were set up to display and demonstrate their new snow-related products. There was a Ski Patrol Poker Run, a ski competition for kids, an obstacle course, and face painting.


Kid’s Carnival Games

Evening events include a fireworks display and parade, which unfortunately we didn’t get to see because we had to leave before they started. But we hear they were wonderful.

Photo by Brandy 4

A good time was had by all! (photo by Brandy Kirkendall)

The White Pass Winter Carnival is very quaint and unique to see. I expected it to be much larger and completely jam-packed with people but it wasn’t. Since it was my first time going to it I don’t know if it was typical attendance or not. But I didn’t find it more packed than any other days when we’ve been there so I was pleasantly surprised because I was dreading terrible parking conditions and a huge crowd. But it was a lot of fun, not too big, and a hit with the entire family. We’ll definitely go back next year and hopefully take the grandsons!

For more information about White Pass Ski Resort go to

Categories: Festivals, Keatons Out and About, Outdoors, Skiing, Washington | Tags: , , , , , , , | Leave a comment


1-CartlandiaSignAhhh, the enticing aromas of BBQ, Thai, Asian, Gyros, Chicken and Waffles and more. This must be Cartlandia!


Just a few of the carts at Cartlandia

If you think it sounds like the TV series, Portlandia, you are correct. Cartlandia is a food cart area located in Portland, Oregon. Portland is becoming very well known for its food carts so of course we had to check them out. We were told about a couple of different areas where there were food carts so we drove around looking for them. Then we found one full block of carts. First we had to walk all the way around and see what all they had available, and boy, did they have a variety to offer. We wanted to sample a couple of items, but not eat full meals so we could keep sampling. The only problem was, this is Oregon, so it was pouring down rain. There was no place to sit and eat and we hate eating in the car. So we stood under the overhang of one of the closed carts and ate as quickly as we could. Then took off to look for Cartlandia.


Voodoo Doughnuts!

We found 82nd and followed it until we found Cartlandia at 8145 SE 82nd Avenue. It was off to the west side of the street and in a parking lot with a fence around it. It had a sign on the side of the building letting us know we were in the right place! The first thing we all noticed though was the bright pink cart – Voodoo Doughnuts has a cart there! Woohoo! But solid food first.


Grandson Anden and Daughter Brandy Getting BBQ

So we split up and all looked around at the carts to see what delights we could partake in here. There were not as many carts as the other site, but still enough variety to make us all happy. We all chose our food then went to the best part of Cartlandia – the Beer Garden!


Wine, Beer & Pulled Pork

It’s a huge, warm, dry tent where we could sit and eat. And they served beer and wine! What could be better? It even has a big-screen TV like a sports bar. But kids are also welcome there so we sat with our individual choices of delicious delectables and enjoyed a leisurely meal in the warmth of the tent. That alone made Cartlandia stand out from the other carts.


Beer Garden/Tent

I’m sure it’s great to hit the food carts on a warm sunny day, but it’s nice to know that Cartlandia is prepared for Oregon weather by providing the tent. While on this particular day there wasn’t as many carts as the other site, I imagine that during the better weather there would be more to choose from as the website says they have 28 food carts. And again the tent with seating and shade from the sun would be a welcome relief.


Beer Garden with TV!

It’s also next to the Springwater Corridor trail, a bicycle trail that runs throughout Portland. So you can take a nice long bike ride and stop and replenish your energy quickly and easily. There is plenty of room for bikes along with parking spots for 50 cars.

If you want to have a really different birthday party or special day, you can even book your event at Cartlandia!

To find out more about Cartlandia and the different foods that may be available there, check out their website at

Categories: Bicycle Trail, Food and Wine, Keatons Out and About, Oregon, Outdoors, Roadside Attraction | Tags: , , , , | 2 Comments

For The Kid in All of Us: Rock and Gem Shows

1-rock show

OAMS Rock Show

Besides actually going out and collecting rocks, rock and gem shows are a great way to get kids interested in rockhounding. They can see all the different kinds of beautiful rocks and the variety of colors. That can help them visualize what they are actually looking for when they are out collecting.

Over President’s Day holiday we went to Portland, Oregon to check out the rock show sponsored by the Oregon Agate and Mineral Society. We took my grandson, Anden, because he likes rock collecting and it has been the joy of my life to share my passion with him.

The show was held inside the OMSI (Oregon Museum of Science and Industry) hall and admission was free. While it was probably the smallest show I have ever been to, it was still packed with amazing specimens to see, rock-related items to buy, and demonstrations.

When we first walked in we were greeted with a “food table” – every item on the table looked like food but was actually some sort of rock. It was quite impressive. At another table young girls were making painted rocks and creating other crafts from rocks. There was a table with various rocks on it called the “Touch Table” to let kids know they should pick those rocks up and touch them all they wanted!


Rock “Food”

The table with samples of meteorites was a new experience for us. We had never seen one and were able to touch them and feel how heavy they were. There were little magnets available so we could see how magnetic the rocks were. They really looked quite different than I expected and I’m not sure I would recognize one out in the field if I came across it.


Meteorite with Magnet

At the back of the room were the demonstrations. That’s where we met 11-year-old Zach Taylor. He was making cabochons for guests. A cabochon is a piece of rock that is most often formed into an oblong piece that is then polished. It can then be placed into a necklace or other piece of jewelry. It was impressive to watch Zac expertly run the “Genie,” a grinding and polishing machine that has six wheels of varying roughness to shape the rock, then polish the scratches out, then finish polishing the stone. The finished product is truly a work of art.


Young Rockhounder Zach Taylor

Zach has always been interested in rock collecting and joined the Oregon Agate and Mineral Society about three years ago. One of the other members worked with Zach for a couple of months teaching him how to use the equipment and Zach has now been making cabochons for about two years. The field trips or “expeditions” as they call them, are what really get Zach excited. Zach and his mom, Mary, are excited for the next club field trip which will be to Lincoln City, Oregon to collect agates. This club really knows how to involve the kids!


Josh’s Finds

Moving on in the room, down the outside row of tables were vendors selling small slabs of various specimen of rocks. Josh had a great time picking out some great pieces to add to his collection. Another activity for kids was the “wheel” and for 50 cents kids could spin the wheel to win from a selection of rocks or rock pieces of art. Both Josh and Anden, spun the wheel several times. Anden was thrilled with his winnings but also “needed” to buy something. All those beautiful rocks are hard to resist! He saw a quartz crystal that he really wanted so of course Grandma bought it for him.


Anden and His Crystal

At the far side of the room were display cases with gorgeous collections. One of my favorites was the picture jasper just because I think it is amazing you can find rocks, cut and polish them, and they really do look like intricately painted pictures!

1-pic jasper

Picture Jasper

My other favorite collection was the sunstones. Sunstones are the state rock of Oregon, and there is land set aside in the southeast part of Oregon, outside of the town of Plush, where you can go to collect them for free. They are quite abundant so I would say you are guaranteed to find stones.


Rockhounding is a great way to connect with kids and to get them outside. It’s great for the kid in the rest of us as well!

There are many rock clubs all over the country, several in every state. And there are many rock and gem shows that you can attend.

Categories: Oregon, Outdoors, Rockhounding/Gold Panning | Tags: , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Holley’s Place – Old Style, New Treats

1-IMG_26691-IMG_2658As soon as you see it in its quaint little corner spot you are drawn to it. It truly looks like an old-time soda fountain but Holley’s Place is a yogurt shop. The bright colors of the goodies showing through the window along with the outside décor are unique. The south wall is the side of a larger building and holds several of Centralia’s famous murals. The storefront is right next to the old Fox Theater which is being restored and the new marquee sign that was just placed above it draws attention to not only the theater but the yogurt store.


Holley’s Place was opened two years ago by Holley Kaiser and her husband, Jamie. They simply decided that they wanted to start a business for their whole family to take part in, and there were no frozen yogurts stores in the area. When they were shown the space they were a little nervous. It had plaster falling off the walls and old cast-iron pipes. But they saw the potential and spent several months painstakingly fixing it up. They went to garage sales and estate sales and gathered up leftover items to sell themselves. After 14 garage sales they finally had enough money to buy the two ice cream machines.

Inside it is quite small (about 235 square feet). There is just one counter with five stools. If they look like originals from an ice cream shop it’s because they are. Holley and Jamie picked them up from an old ice cream shop in Seattle. Silver tin adorns the ceiling in more antique-style décor.



The counter is not an old-time laminate or metal though – it’s a beautiful misty-blue-green glass that seemed destined for the store when it was offered to Holly and her husband for free from their church.


But rather than be served by Holly, you get to decide how much and what kind of yogurt you want. There are two self-serve machines. This day one contained peanut butter and chocolate yogurt, and one contained sugar-free vanilla and sherbet. Holley likes to offer sugar-free and dairy choices for those who can’t process them.

You choose the cup size you want, fill it with however much of whichever flavor of yogurt you want. Then you head over to all the goodies to make more choices. There are syrups, pieces of brownies, gummy bears, marshmallows, Fruity Pebbles, Reese’s Pieces, Swedish Fish, Sour Patch Kids, nuts, fruit and more. If you can’t find something you like here, it would be unbelievable.


When you are finished with your selections, you set your bowl on the scales and pay for it by the weight. Then you dig in and enjoy your own amazing creation!


Holley is excited to be part of the revitalization of downtown Centralia. She says that in 1999 there were 21 taverns along the main part of town and that has tremendously changed. Owners of all the businesses in the downtown core are helping each other out, advertising each other, handing out fliers and gift cards. Even though her shop is small, she plans on staying there in her terrific location. Not only is she next to the Fox Theater, Holley’s Place serves as the concessionaire for it when movies are shown.

Holley has two favorite things about running Holley’s Place – that it is a business that her whole family can be involved in, and getting to know people in the community as well as welcoming visitors to downtown Centralia. It truly does feel like you are coming into her house and being welcomed, just as she wants it to be.


Holley Kaiser

Holley’s Place is open seven days a week except for Thanksgiving, Christmas and her and Jamie’s anniversary (April 10). Hours are Noon-8pm weekdays, Noon-10pm on Fridays and Saturdays. It is located on the corner of Centralia College Blvd. and Tower St. at 119 S. Tower in downtown Centralia.1-IMG_2656

Getting there: From I-5 take exit 81 and head east. Just keep following it, it will turn into Cherry St. Go to Tower St. and turn left. Continue north on Tower St. to Centralia College Blvd. Holley’s Place will be on your left on the northwest corner.

Categories: Food and Wine, Washington | Tags: , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Columbia River, Transportation Giant

big2_2Last weekend we decided to take a day trip to Astoria, Oregon for a quick getaway. There is a quite a bit to see and do there, but this particular day one fascinating thing was watching all the container ships in the Columbia River. I’ve seen them before, but never so many.

The Columbia River is the biggest river in the Pacific Northwest at 1243 miles long. It starts in Canada, flows south through Washington, then turns west and is the border between Oregon and Washington. There are 14 dams on the river.

Ships coming into the Columbia River have to pass over the bar, which can be treacherous in bad weather. The bar is where the mighty Columbia River meets the powerful Pacific Ocean, creating enormous waves. It is so dangerous that ships must have a Columbia River Bar Pilot (experts in crossing the bar) get on the boat and guide it through the bar.

Once over the bar they then pass under the Astoria-Megler Bridge which was built in 1966 and is 208 feet high.  Upriver the ships also have to pass under the Lewis and Clark Bridge at Longview which is 198 feet high. The Columbia River is 55 feet deep for the first 5 miles, then is 43 feet deep for the next 100 miles or so into Portland, Oregon. Neither of those depths seems like enough when you look at how absolutely HUGE the ships are that are in it!big1_1

About 3600 ships go through the Columbia River every year. Most of the particular ships we saw this day were Articulated Tug and Barges, basically a combination tug boat and barge. The tug can be detached from the barge if needed. I believe we also saw some General Cargo Ships which can carry logs or large amounts of other cargo.

We watched the large group anchored up out in the bay from the dock around the Columbia River Maritime Museum. They were just sitting there, no action, but just fascinating to see so many of them sitting out there lined up. You can see from the amount of red showing above the water that the ships are empty. We assumed they would be heading upriver at some point to load up with cargo. When they are fully loaded and heavy, they sit much lower in the water and the red part is nearly covered.

IMG_2813We went to Fort Stevens and that’s where we saw this ship heading back out to sea. As you can see from the small amount of red showing above the water line, this ship is loaded and heavy. Surprisingly, though, it moved amazingly quick even though it was loaded up.

Watching the boats we wondered – what kind of people worked on the boats, where were they from, where were they going, what kind of cargo did they carry, would we be using any of the items they were bringing in and out? We’ll never know but it was fascinating to see the importance of the great Columbia River as a massive transportation system and the amount of traffic using it.

Categories: Historical, Keatons Out and About, Oregon, Outdoors | Tags: , , , , | 4 Comments

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