Category Archives: WA State – Kittitas County

Olmstead Place State Park

IMG_3031On my way back from visiting dear daughter, I stopped at Olmstead Place State Park outside of Ellensburg (921 Ferguson Road, Ellensburg, WA 98926). I was pretty excited to be able to use my Discover Pass, but I didn’t spend too much time since I was worried (rightfully so) about snow on the Pass. The park has 217 acres and plenty of pioneer artifacts. Perhaps my favorite part was the red winged blackbirds. There was an entire flock of them on the overhead wires. More information can be found here.

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Yellow Church Cafe in Ellensburg

16941136686_aed78ba66c_kDrive to visit dear daughter, I stopped for lunch in Ellensburg and used Yelp to discover the Yellow Church Cafe at 111 South Pearl. Prior to being a cafe, the building was actually the Good Hope Lutheran Church for 40 years (sold in 1967) and there were several other uses. The Yellow House Cafe began in 1997 and the current owner took over in 2014. Beside the welcoming setting, the main star of the meal was the homemade bread of my BLT sandwich.

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Vantage Bridge

13195918303_680d30f79d_bTaking dear daughter home for Spring Break, we crossed the Vantage Bridge which spans the Columbia River and is part of I-90. This bridge was built in 1962 and is the second Vantage Bridge. The first bridge was constructed in 1927, but had to be replaced when the water level rose due to the new Wanapum Dam. It spans Kittitas and Grant Counties.

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Roslyn Historic Cemetary

9597328312_0b342e13ac_bI find the arrangement of the Roslyn Cemetery to be fascinating. It is actually 26 different cemeteries that reflected the town’s citizens in the late 1880s. The cemeteries include: Memorial Gardens, New City Cemetery, Lithuanian, Dr. Starcevich (Croatian), Veterans, Moose Lodge, Eagles, Selvio Pellico (Italian), Red Men Lodge, I.O.O.F. Lodge, Slovak, New Knights of Pythias, Old Knights of Pythias, Foresters, Mr. Olivet (African American) Old City Cemetery, Foresters, Druids (Italian), Cacciatori DAfrica (Italian), Serbian, Sokol Lodge (Croatian) and St. Thomas Masonic. Each of the 26 cemeteries has a slightly different look to it. Pictured above is the Veteran’s Cemetery. Some of those buried in these various cemeteries were coal miners who lost their lives through accidents in the mines. One of the photos below (with the swan) commemorates four young firefighters who lost their lives in 2001 fighting the Thirtymile Fire. More information about the cemetery and Roslyn can be found here.

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The Tav

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The Tav at 117 West 4th Avenue, Ellensburg, looks like an ordinary bar from the outside, but on the inside there is a delightful outdoors courtyard area. The food was typical pub fare, but they did a really good job of it. And the company was even better πŸ™‚

Ginkgo Petrified Forest Museum

9519078987_09b46847d8_bOn my way home from dropping dear daughter off at college, I stopped at the Ginkgo Petrified Forest State Park in Vantage, WA.There are over 40 species which have been petrified in the 7,470 acre park. Per Wikipedia the area had originally been lush and wet, but much of the vegetation was covered in volcanic ash and eventually became petrified. The park opened in 1938 and much of the work had been done by the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC). I didn’t realize that petrified wood is the state gem for Washington! The site is one of 594 properties to have the National Natural Landmark Designation. I would have liked to have stayed longer, but I wanted to get home, I didn’t have the right shoes for rattle snakes and it was really hot!

Two of the photos below are from the nearby gem shop, which was also very cool.

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Red Horse Diner, Ellensburg, WA

9504749486_28837e1860_bWe stopped at the Red Horse Diner because of it is a 50s style diner, but we loved it for its food! Dear daughter and I stopped for a meal here on the way to dropping her off at college and I stopped on my way back alone. It had been a service station and maintains the original pumps, as well as a bunch of fun 50s signs and paraphernalia. The Pegasus, the red horse, has been the symbol of Mobil Oil since the 1930s. The website for the diner is here.

9501927031_9ea64c5307_bThe evening view was lovely from their parking lot!

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Snoqualmie Pass, Snow in Spring

8705667889_c212816e38_bLast Monday dear daughter and I were traveling westbound across Washington State. I knew that I wanted to get over the I-90 Snoqualmie pass through the Cascade Mountains before 7 because I wanted the daylight and they were threatening long delays after that for avalanche control. By 6 we were stopping in Thorp. I filled up the tank and dear daughter ran into the Thorp Fruit and Antique Mall for snacks and a weather advisory. We had just passed a sign that said traction advisory and I thought that didn’t sound good. The guy in Thorp pulled up the WSDOT traffic cam for dear daughter and it did show snow falling, but he said we could make it. We had no chain or snow tires. After a few miles we had snow and soon after that it was sticking to the road. Soon we couldn’t see the road and we were down to two lanes. Trucks passing sent waves of icy snow onto my car. And then the trucks were required to chain up. Just before the summit, I passed a sign requiring traction tires, but alas no tire store to purchase them! We crept to the summit at about 30 mph and then started downhill. That was worse! Cars were fishtailing and going about 15 mph. At one point I lost control, crossed a lane and nosed into a snowbank. I looked around (thank goodness it was still daylight) and the guy behind me was also in the snowbank and the guy in front of me was all over the road. Really, at that point one has to keep going or plan to sleep in a really cold car worrying about another vehicle slamming into you. I backed up, practiced my deep breathing and kept crawling along. Finally the road cleared and suddenly it was over. The photos show the relatively flat part before it got bad.

Snoqualmie Pass began as Native American foot trails used for hunting game and gathering plants. In 1865 a wagon road was made to entice settlers to Seattle. In 1884 it became a toll road. The first car went over the pass in 1905 and by 1915 there was a new two lane road. It wasn’t until 1931 that the road was kept open all year round. In the 1950s and 1960s it was expanded to a four lane road (2 in each direction) and renamed to I-90 to be reflective to the national highway system.

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Thorp Fruit and Antique Mall

8695128683_64ac7f4cc4_b(1)Practically every time I go through Ellensburg, I stop at the Thorp Fruit and Antique Mall atΒ  410 Gladmar Road, Thorp. We usually stop for a coffee drink and maybe some cheese or a sweet. The lower level is full of local produce and specialty items and the upper level has antiques. The family run business began in 1944.

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