Thursday, August 30, 2012

In Kennewick with Cathy

Today we’re at Emigrant Springs State Park in Meacham, OR.  But before I get into Emigrant Springs, I still have one catch-up post:  Our three-day return visit with Jim’s sister, Cathy, who lives in Kennewick, WA.   

The first night we were there, Cathy came out to the rig and brought dinner, including a chocolate pudding cake like their Mom used to make.  Jim loved it and wants me to make one (Cathy gave us the recipe) ... so I'm going to make a stab at it after I figure out the altitude adjustments I'll need to make for Salt Lake’s 4500-foot elevation. On second thought, I'm traveling in a motor home -- I'll make it all winter long when we're in Tucson!

Our second day we went with Cathy to the CREHST Museum -- the Columbia River Exhibition of History, Science, and Technology in Richland, WA. The main part of the museum explores the history of the Manhattan Project, which produced the atomic bomb used in World War II.

Richland is part of southern Washington’s Tri-Cities area (the other two-thirds are Kennewick, where Cathy lives, and Pasco).  During World War II, Richland was the bedroom community for nearby Hanford, which was purchased by the Army and used as the site where uranium was transmuted into plutonium.  The plutonium for the second bomb the US dropped on Japan -- called “Fatman” and dropped on Nagasaki August 9, 1945 -- came from Hanford. 

At it’s height, 51,000 people lived in Richland and the vast majority were working on the Manhattan project or had jobs that supporting those who were.  Today about 48,000 live there and the economy centers on high tech (including still on-going nuclear clean up efforts at now-closed Hanford) and agriculture, including wine and potatoes.  

On our third Kennewick day, Cathy again had us over for dinner (our only contribution was ranch potato salad Jim found and loves from a local grocery store called Yokes.  Jim loves that stuff) and we visited with her and grand daughter, Chloe, who was being watched by Grandma -- and whose first day of kindergarten is tomorrow.
Jim and Cathy with our tour guide, Mr. Lane, who lived in Richland as a small child during the Manhattan Project years.  Behind them is a test bomb; Mr. Lane said they are still found around Richland.  While many cities were involved in the development and production of the atomic bomb, the main ones were the Hanford site in Richand, WA; Los Alamos, New Mexico; and Oak Ridge, Tennessee.
Jim picking up wooden blocks with an arm like the one used to move contaminated materials at Hanford.  Cathy looks skeptical. 
We had lunch with Cathy at Richland’s “Atomic Ale Brewpub.”  One of the other diners had a dog tied near our outside table; Cathy asked the owner if she could give it some of her sandwich.  The owner showed us how his dog would keep a treat on its nose until told “OK.” 
While visiting Cathy we camped at Hood Park, an Army Corps of Engineer campground right on the Snake River.  Both Hood Park and the Hanford Project were planned by the Army Corps of Engineers.

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