After leaving Portland, I stopped over at The Dalles, Oregon, for the night so that I could take in an unusual war memorial across the river in Maryhill, Washington. In 1918, Samuel Hill built the first war memorial for WWI on the original site of the town of Maryhill. It’s on a fine hill with a marvelous view of the Columbia River Gorge and distant mountains.
Sam had visited the original Stonehenge in England where he was told that the crumbling stones were constructed by Druids as a place for human sacrifice. Sam decided that the sacrifices of the nation in WWI and the sacrifices at Stonehenge were similar, so he vowed to create a Stonehenge in the U.S. when he returned.
A Quaker, Sam wanted this to be both a testament to the strength and courage of the armed forces and the folly of any more war. He had originally planned to use large individual stones just like the Druids did, but the local stones just weren’t strong enough. So, he made it out of reinforced concrete. To get the dimpled and hewn looks in the stones, he lined the molds with crumpled tin.
Sam also received advice from astronomers from a local observatory who helped him calculate the exact positioning of the stones including the all- important altar stone.
He placed a plaque in the altar stone which was read at the dedication on July 4, 1918:
Oh, and did I mention the view?
In addition to the Stonehenge monument, a more traditional war memorial was erected off to the side in 1995:
I’ve added some more pics of the monument and surrounding area in today’s Photo Album.
Once I got out on the road toward Boise, I saw a couple of unusual sights. At first, they looked like trash landfills, but they were so far out in the desert that it would not be economical to drag trash out that far:
I zoomed in a little and, yes, looks like a landfill:
There was another one off to the left that looked about half-finished:
Pretty soon, I saw a sign that explained it:
THE U.S. ECOLOGY IDAHO WASTE SITE
We’re talking hazardous waste. A check of their website says that they get rid of hazardous and radioactive waste and store it in sealed units in these burial sites. I also saw a sign for the U.S. Army base at Umatilla, Washington which is a holding base for our military’s chemical weapons. Of course, it wasn’t open to the public and I couldn’t get close enough for a photo – but glad I never served at one of those places. I saw pictures on the website showing people working on old missiles in full gas suits. Ugh!
Last night, I attended a rodeo in Nampa, ID. Had a pretty good time. Never saw so many cowboy hats and sequins in all my life. The rodeo played to a full house – I got a seat about 6 rows up from the arena floor. It was great viewing but, as the night went on, we were treated to an increasing amount of an, ummm, ‘earthy, pungent’ smell. By the end of the show, I was having flashbacks to my early years on the farm (and I grew up in the ‘burbs).
Got to see the crowning of “Miss Rodeo Idaho”, Tricia Lynn Crump and some fancy ropework by little buckaroos:
I thought I fit right in, but I saw lots of people looking funny at my shorts and sandals. Maybe I shoulda wore spurs.
Saw some pretty outstanding rock formations as I drove through Idaho. Every once in a while, there would be a canyon or ridge with these massive black rocks jutting high into the air.
Some of them seemed like they were teetering outwards and could fall at any moment:
But none compared to this guy:
Named “Balanced Rock” (somebody put a lot of thought into that), it is over 48 feet tall, weighs more than 40 tons and is supported by a base that measures 3ft tall and 17 inches in diameter.
After marveling at this geologic wonder, I headed for another place of natural importance outside Twin Falls.
This is Snake River Canyon. Remember what famous event happened here?
Yep, this is what Evel Knievel attempted to jump back in 1974 in a rocket sled. It’s 3/4 of a mile across and he used a ramp to get some altitude for the jump. How did he do (this is a question for the young ones)?
Yes, that’s him floating gently to the bottom of the canyon as he barely went halfway across. They have a little monument at the visitor center near the jump site:
There are some good viewing platforms looking out over the canyon. To get an idea of how far across Evel was trying to jump, this bridge is 1500 ft long (about 1/4 mile):
There is a platform under the center of the bridge which is used for ‘base jumping’ or leaping off with a parachute. I barely caught a pic of one who had just jumped seconds ago:
Spending the night in Pocatello tonight then on to Blackfoot in the AM to see another cool museum. After that, down into Utah and all the wonders of that state. Don’t forget to check out today’s Photo Album (July 21).
Last Two Day’s Travel: 605 miles
Total Travel To Date: 10, 147 miles