Our North American Trip - August and September 2006.
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Rotary Friendship Exchange Visit to Canada and USA:    Second Week, 9 Sep – 15 Sep 06
St Maries - Kennewick

(This will be updated as and when the opportunity presents itself, and we’ll add photos when time permits.  It could be a bit disorganised at times!!)

Saturday, 9 September
A fine sunny day, some cloud, had some light brief showers late morning – the smoke smog had noticeably reduced.  Temp not quite so hot today, high 20 deg C – a more comfortable temperature.

After breakfast Jo and Joan drove us up highway 95 to show us some of Coeur d’Alene as we only passed through the industrial area of this larger town on our way to St Maries the day before.  It was really nice to see some of the city as it’s adjacent to a very large lake, drove around the Casino and passed by the golf course.  We arrived at Rose Lake to meet up with the other NZ Rotarians and their respective hosts.  After 30mins they arrived so we had plenty of time to grab a coffee – had been starved of coffees for a while (Annette’s having to have double shots of coffee in her latte’s as they are not strong enough for her over here – for someone who normally has weak coffees anyway it’s a bit of a hoot).

We then drove to the “The Old Mission” in the State Park - we were given a very informative talk to by the local curator of the park– it stands on a hilltop, was constructed in n1850-53 by members of the Coeur d’Alene Indian Tribe and Catholic Missionaries (Idaho’s oldest standing building) – the missionaries helped the Indian people to their way of  life.  Parts of the building were built with straw and mud and can still be viewed in the back of the church – the accommodation next to the church was well maintained with many exhibits inside it.

The gift shop had some very nice silver jewellery on display for sale.

Time for lunch – had this at the “Snake Pit” at the Enaville Resort.  Well what an experience – inside the restaurant / café (call it what you like) it had memorabilia everywhere – hanging from the walls, from the ceiling etc.  A few stuffed wild animals and antlers, lots of sayings and lots of photos of earlier happenings – it really was a very interesting place to see.  Lunch was fun – very typical American (steaks, seafood, BBQ, Buffalo burgers, sandwiches, Rocky mountain oysters!).

Following lunch we drove to a small silver mining town of Wallace to have a tour of a silver mine.  While waiting for the tour we visited the local museum and viewed a film on the history of the silver mining in the area.  Time for the silver mine tour -  we all hopped onto the open tour bus and off we went for a drive up to the mine with the driver talking about the area on the way, on arrival there were heaps of Chipmunks feeding on some seeds close to the mine entrance.  Then it was photo time outside the mine entrance.  The tour of the mine was well done by an ex miner, during the tour he started up a few of the exhibits to show us how they were originally used, blocking our ears due to the noise.  On the way back to where we started off from we were driven around Wallace and shown some of the old and new housing in the village.

We all then duly returned to our host’s places and all joined up for a combined BBQ at Jo and Joan’s place in the evening.  It was great talking to many of the local Rotarians and respective partners.  Later in the evening we all ended up sitting around a fire melting marshmallows, adding a slice of chocolate then covering them with a Graham cracker!  Graham has found out that that the local IGA store has “Graham crackers” so I guarantee he will be calling in to purchase some tomorrow morning when we return to St Maries, prior to departing to the next town.

The Rotary Exchange visit to all the respective towns in both Canada and the USA have been absolutely wonderful – we arrive and within a short time we feel we have known the people for some considerable time as they have all been so friendly and helpful.



Sunday, 10 September
Another nice fine sunny day – the smoke smog now appears to have disappeared.  Temp up to high 20’s deg C today.

Once we arrived in Pullman there was a breeze and it cooled nicely in the evenings – easier to sleep at night.

Breakfast was French toast with Canadian maple syrup – yummy - so different to maple syrup one can buy in New Zealand.   Jo and Joan kindly gave us a wooden vase to take home, turned by Jo – the woods in it are: maple, red  &   woods).

Later in the morning we drove back into St Maries to be taken through the “Peet” shoe dryer factory by Trask Silva, President of the St Maries Rotary club.  It was so fascinating and we had no idea such a product was out there in the market place – they have recently found a NZ agent.  The product designer and factory owner also came to assist with explaining how it all eventuated and how many of the items were put together – he had also designed the majority of the machinery used during the production of the product.

We all quickly grabbed some food for lunch from Archie’s IGA supermarket (owned by one of the local Rotary members) hen hit the road for Pullman (our next rotary hosts), as by this time we were running a little late.

We duly arrived at Lou Ann Heroff’s place soon after 3pm.  As the afternoon went on other Pullman Rotary hosts arrived.  We all had dinner at Lou Ann’s place then went to our various hosts homes - our host was Hugh Imhof  (his wife Toni was in Seattle with work) and his dog golden Labrador “Happy” – he was such a nice well behaved dog with a tail of death, it wagged so hard that it hit anything that it passed.  The family also consisted of two cats.  His house was quite new with lots of space


Monday, 11 September
Another nice fine sunny day – the smoke smog has returned slightly.  Temp up to high 20’s deg C today.

After breakfast the six NZ visitors and their Pullman Rotary hosts met at the US Dairy & Agriculture Research Assn’s offices at the Washington State University to hear a talk from Ted Kisha, Geneticist on the US National Plant Germplasm System and the Pullman Gene Bank – Preserving Plant Biodiversity for today and tomorrow (storing seeds from all varieties of plants around the world).

Later in the morning we visited the Veterinary Teaching Hospital also at Washington State University – Dr Harmon Rodger, Hospital Director, Vet Clinical Services, gave us a most informative tour of the hospital showing us initially around the large animal part then the small animal area.  Such things as CAT Scans, MRI Scans and radiotherapy on cancer tumours are carried out on the animals at the Hospital.  It was so interesting seeing how they work with large animals eg, horses, in this environment.  Everyone was commenting how interesting the tour was.

We then met for lunch at the “Old Post Office” for lunch and joined several tables so we could sit outside.  The food was very enjoyable and well presented – not overdone with quantity which was nice.

After that we drove to view bears at the Bear Research Education and Conservation Program, also at the university.  They breed Grizzly bears and give the cubs to black bears to raise in the wild.  Most bears at the Research Education facility were either orphaned as wild cubs and would not have survived without their help or have been produced at the WSU from resident bears – all are untamed.

We then visited the Washington State Universities Ferdinand’s Ice Cream shoppe to have an ice cream each – they were very nice and creamy.  A had caramel and cashew nuts, G had chocolate – how unusual!!

Then home to catch up on washing, diary, photos etc in readiness for an early start tomorrow morning.

Hugh cooked us a really great steak meal with some local Walla Walla red wine and we had this sitting on the deck overlooking all the grain fields close by..


Tuesday, 12 September
Another fine sunny day – the smoke smog had returned slightly, but was very thick while travelling between Pullman, Walla Walla and Kennewick.  Temp up to low 30 deg C today.

Before we left Hugh gave us some cheese from the Cougar Cheese shop.

While we were packing up to depart “Happy” the dog came into our room and lay there until Graham took him outside to chase his ball down the hillside and into the grain paddock and didn’t stop until Happy had tired himself out - started to walk back instead of running.  He was a very nice friendly dog – we enjoyed his company while staying with Hugh.

At 8am we met up with the other NZ folk at Lou Ann’s place then left for Kennewick, via Walla Walla.  As we drove further south the smoke from the bush fires got thicker and thicker, as one of these fires was close to Dayton.  As we left Dayton there were four huge helicopters and several smaller ones parked close by the road, we assume they were being used for fighting the forest fires close by – we also noticed several signs in the main street thanking the fire fighters.  Once we passed Dayton the smoke smog lessened greatly to the extent that any smoke around the horizon was hardly noticeable any longer.

We arrived at Walla Walla with time to spare so stopped at the Information Centre to enquire where we could get a nice coffee – staff pointed us in the right direction and gave us some pamphlets.  After our coffee we put our Black NZ tops on and went to meet up with the Walla Walla Rotary folk in the Marcus Whitman Hotel – prominent highest building the City.  It was built in the early 1900’s and was well restored inside – it was delightful and we had a nice lunch with the Rotary folk.

After lunch we were taken around Walla Walla by two women to how us the historic buildings and artwork within the main centre – some of it was very impressive.  Following that we were driven out to the Walla Walla Museum – very interesting exhibits from past days.

Mid afternoon we departed for what is known as the tri-cities – Kennewick, Pasco and Richland but on the way we called into two wineries – Three Rivers (nice wine at reasonable prices) and L’Ecole No 41 (nice wine but expensive).

We arrived at the first Kennewick hosts home around 6pm – dropped Graham and I off and the lead host for the day then took the other four NZ Rotarians to their respective host’s homes.  At 6.30pm the other four New Zealanders, their respective hosts and other local Kennewick Rotary members arrived for a light tea and get together.


Wednesday, 13 September
A fine sunny then cloudy day - temp high 20 deg C today.  In the afternoon it clouded over and cooled to a more pleasant temperature – had a light shower during the evening.

After breakfast Arlan (Jim & Shirley’s host) picked us up at 9am then took us to the “Demonstration Gardens”, a Rotary project to set up gardens to demonstrate to people that they could grow any kind of plant in the poor soil they have around the tri-cities area.  When we saw these gardens, it was obvious to us the enormous amount of time and effort that Arlan had put into designing and planning these gardens – they were delightful and still looking good for nearing the end of summer.  Arlan’s wife Mary and Shirley followed us around in their truck (a ute to us) as Mary needed to go elsewhere before we would finish – Arlan commented, everyone in the USA has to have a “truk” (as they pronounce it) – some of the trucks they have are so huge one looks quite dwarfed standing alongside them

We then visited the “Grace” Centre – a volunteer medical centre for healing those in need, people who have no medical insurance.  Sandi (the Office Manager) and Robert (a past Rotary President) initially spoke to us about the clinic then Sandi showed us around – Sandi was so passionate about the clinic they couldn’t ask for a better person to do the work she does.  They have just shifted into a new building which has made life so much easier for all who work at the clinic.  The professional people who work there are all volunteers eg, nurses, Doctors etc – they have 500 volunteers who help at this centre.  They do their work from donations received from the public and grants.  A truly amazing facility for those in need.

From there we drove to the “Columbia Park” to view a large children’s playground that the Rotary Club had built – it was an awesome children’s playground that was surrounded by a wooden picket fence with names of people on each wooden paling who had donated money toward this facility.  We also viewed the Centennial Stage that the Columbia Central Rotary Club had built for the people of Kennewick to use for open concerts etc.  These completed projects are a huge credit to the members of these Rotary Clubs.  We then went to the Pasco-Kennewick Rotary Club to join them for their lunch meeting.

After lunch we did the “2006 Parade of Homes” tour, visiting six new display homes.  Most were huge homes with massive master bedrooms including bathroom and closet facilities – almost as large as the living areas in some homes.  In the kitchen of one home we noticed it had a double drawer F&P dishwasher and when I started talking with one of the representatives she pointed out that the stainless steel oven, microwave and range hood were also F&P products.  Some of the showers were huge and in some cases had 2 or 3 rose heads.  A took heaps of photos to refer back to as some of the kitchen and bathroom fittings and ornaments were very different from what we would see in NZ.  It was great to be able to experience viewing these new American homes.

On our way back to our hosts places we stopped off at the “Barnard Griffin” winery and tasted some of their wines.  We arrived back at our hosts home at 5./30pm, showered then were off out again at 6.15pm to another evening get together and light meal at the Pasco-Kennewick Rotary Clubs President’s home.


Thursday, 14 September
A fine slightly cloudy day with a few light showers in the evening – temp low to mid 20 deg C today. 

Arlan again collected us at 9am – first visit was to the Bingo Boulevard with a briefing on the community Projects and International projects the Columbia Central Rotary Club have recently been involved in – Sondra (our host) is President of this Rotary Club, they own the Bingo building and now have a large area that is spare due to smoking now not being allowed inside this public place so they are currently looking into refitting it out and move their weekly rotary meetings to this building.  This rotary club own the Bingo Boulevard and all the profits from Bingo are used for many different projects in the area as well as internationally.

We then visited the Columbia River Exhibition of History, Science, & Technology (CREST) museum – we were shown a film on history of how the Hanford Nuclear Project was first started and another one about the ice age – the floods of Lake Missoula.   We then attended the Columbia Central Rotary Club’s lunch meeting, which Sondra is currently President of.

After lunch we and several rotary members and the NZ exchange visitors were taken on a cruise by Jet Boat Tours – Columbia River Journeys for 40 miles up the Columbia River.  While cruising the river we saw many different birds, other wildlife and landmarks eg,  Osprey (large eagle like bird);  Common Merganser Ducks; Coyote (it caught a bird then took off); Mule Deer;  Egret (an almost extinct large white bird); swallow nests on the cliff edge; several nuclear reactor buildings (evidently there were 8 in total) at the Hanford Nuclear Site where plutonium was made for use in the first Atomic bombs (used in World War II), white bluffs alongside the river and a rookery of Great Blue Heron nests.

The jet boat had a “Hamilton” jet unit in it, so we soon told our driver and guide (Jerry) that they were originally designed and made in New Zealand – he looked with amazement at us.  We left at 2pm and didn’t return until 6.45pm so had long time on the jet boat – a few sore bottoms from sitting for such a lengthy time, but it was well worth it for the experience we all  had. 

The two weeks of the Rotary Exchange visit in British Columbia, Canada and Washington State, USA has been so interesting and enjoyable, if a little tiring.  Every club made a huge effort to show us as much of their local area as possible and sometimes our hosts were very keen to be with us on our tours as they had never done or seen what we were about to.  Two weeks was a good length of time for the exchange visit and we were very grateful for all the very friendly hosts we stayed with – they will be friends for a long time and we hope many of them will visit New Zealand in the near future as we would love to host them in our country, as many of the hosts we have stayed with here did not visit NZ in February earlier this year.

Throughout the two weeks of the Rotary Exchange it almost became a standing joke wondering whether the next group of people would be able to pronounce Annette’s name when she was introduced to them, as most had great difficulty with it.  We worked out that we put the emphasis on the first syllable of person’s name, whereas in Canada and the USA they put the emphasis on the second syllable!


Friday, 15 September
A cloudy day with some showers (the first rain people had had in the area for some months) – temp ranged from 6 (up Mt St Helens) – low 20 deg C today. 

After breakfast we took some photos of our hosts’ spaniel (Zoie), packed the car and drove to meet up with the two other NZ couples on the same Rotary Exchange visit.  Due to the unsettled weather Graham and I decided to travel a different route from the Shaws and Dearsleys to Randle due to the deterioration in the weather today, as this was likely to affect our viewing of Mt Ranier and Mt St Helens. 

From Kennewick we drove down the Columbia River, initially this route was very desert like then once we started to drive through the gorge the forest became quite lush.  Well through the forest we passed the John Day Dam, Biggs Rapids Bridge, a train bridge (with it’s middle piece raised), and Dalles Dam and bridge close by.  We stopped at the lovely little town of Hood River and had a bagel and coffee for lunch, had a walk up the street to find a bank to withdraw some cash (we had struggled to find time to find a bank since being on the Rotary Exchange trip) and found a Safeway supermarket to purchase some fresh fruit, nuts and “Cliff Bars” (nice wholemeal flavoured bars – Americans had recommended these to us to eating when one travels on an American airliner as hey only offer cold drinks and little or no food on their flights).

Further down the Columbia River gorge we reached the “Bridge of the Gods”, paid our $1 toll, crossed the bridge then left the river and started travelling up through Gifford Pinchot National Forest toward Mt St Helens.  This is one of the prettiest roads we have been on with lush green forests close to the road and a forever changing tree species, most being very tall and straight.  The weather was quite variable but Mt St Helens never showed her top through the clouds.  However we decided to drive up the eastern side of Mt St Helens to the Windy Ridge viewing point at the top – we got some great views of the destruction of the forests from the eruption and had several views of the log jammed Spirit Lake at many of the viewing points.

We reached the Hampton  House B&B in Randle at about 5.30 pm to meet up with the Shaws and the Dearsleys, who had arrived a short time earlier. 

After a relaxing drink we all drove to the Big Bottom Bar and Grill nearby – Graham had pork spare ribs which were absolutely delicious – he happily shared with others as he had so many!  .  We had a new waiter called Michelle (her 3rd day at the job) – she gave great service and joined in with our humour.  As the time went buy another local, Edie started to talk with us (her father had been to NZ some 20+ times – couldn't work out how he could immigrate and also bring his grandchildren with him so just visited lots) – she was such a hard case and appeared to have a very good job managing staff on a building construction job nearby at Mt Rainer.  She bought us a bottle of wine, then asked us if we could write our details in the visitors book at the restaurant.  While we were paying our accounts Jenny was chatting to another guy who takes visitors on Mule rides into the local bush area.  It ended up being one of the most enjoyable evenings we had had together.  Even the waitress commented that we had made her evening one of the most enjoyable ones she had ever had while working.  It sure was a great evening with heaps of laugher with many locals and staff.  When we returned back to the B&B the owners had an apple pie waiting to serve to us for dessert.

The owners of the B&B had two Siamese / Manx cross cats – both had short bob tails like the Manx cats have.  They also commented that they didn’t let their cats outside at all as their previous two cats were taken by Coyotes.  Periodically we saw the odd Coyote wandering around.  This was the same in the Anacortes (nth of Seattle) area as well.

All in all it has been a most interesting day, and the end of a marvellous two week Rotary Friendship Exchange..