First anniversary fun, part III: A stop-and-go in Walla Walla

One of my favorite things about flying general aviation is the ability to get to out-of-the-way places, places that are locked in by terrain and take hours and hours to reach. For instance, Half Moon Bay. By car from Sacramento, three hours, thank you Bay Area traffic. By plane? 45 minutes, tops. Or Mendocino. Four hours by car, thank you redwood forests. By plane? 45 minutes, tops. Magic I tell you.

After departing McMinnville, Oregon (see part I and part II), we made a short hop to Eastern Washington to visit the place so nice they named it twice, Walla Walla. I spent the better part of three years in the valley for college and I became intimately familiar with how irritating it is to reach the town. Tucked into the southeast corner of the state, Walla Walla is 10 minutes north of Oregon and 1 hour west of Idaho. There are commercial flights but be prepared to sell a kidney to afford it. Other options include flying to Portland or Spokane or Seattle and then driving 3-5 hours. Or there’s always the 12-hour drive option (from Sacramento). Via Air Redden? Three-ish hours door to door, and no hassle.

The visit was a whirlwind, mostly to check in on friends who are about to join The Parenthood. We didn’t stay long; just enough to see what’s changed in town (lots!), eat tasty food, pick blueberries and get addicted to a new board game. Our efforts to make the little human arrive early were largely unsuccessful, so we left a little defeated. We’ll have to work on our form for #2. Until then, photos!

Leaving McMinnville and heading 75 minutes East toward Walla Walla. Hello Mount Hood!
We flew by four or five peaks, the names of which escape me now.
Pretty sure this one is named after a president. Jefferson or Adams maybe.
The only thing I dislike about the Twin Comanche is the obscured view. Between the damn engines and the damn low wings, I can hardly get a good picture! (Waaa, I know, right?)
Lovely country.
Mount Hood. It’s unfathomable to me that people actually climb this thing. (Recall I am a snow hater)
The transition from lush green to high desert/grasslands is stark.
The farmland has its own dusky beauty to it though.
Near the Dalles I think. If you’re driving, this means you still have several more hours to go.
Love me some crop circles!
Walla Walla Valley.
Walla Walla. Dig those Blue “Mountains” in the distance. There’s actually skiing in the winter if you can believe it.
College Place.
Landing at Martin Field near the Walla Walla University campus. (I still stumble. It was Walla Walla College when I attended.)
Gorgeous Walla Walla wheat.
A quick tour of the Farmer’s Market, a new addition since I graduated seven years ago.
Mr. T and Kristi.
To market, to market.
Sweet peas!
Downtown Walla Walla has so many more restaurants and shops than I remember.
It’s so different now thanks to the wine explosion in town. Turns out Walla Walla is good for grapes as well as onions.
Mr. T is not amused as he holds down a chair at my former home/study space on Main Street.

 

Why the shocked face? Just because I practically lived at this Starbucks…

 

Kristi is a superb jewelry maker (check out her shop, Mischief by Loki, on Etsy). She sells online and at The Liberty in downtown Walla Walla. Trivia: Kristi made the necklace and earring set I wore for my wedding. Sigh.

 

Downtown Walla Walla.

 

Downtown Walla Walla.

 

This is Loki, Kristi’s 75-pound lapdog. Ah hem.

 

Lyla, an intense but sweet pooch composed of 65 pounds of solid muscle.

 

Our new favorite board game thanks to the Spurgisons.

 

Beautiful boy.

 

Who is kind of doofy. He’s a loveable trouble-maker and reminds me of Marmaduke.

 

That face! To get this camera-phobic dog to hold still (truly, he’s afraid of the camera), I’m holding his toy above my head. Moments later, I was clobbered. The things we do for art…

 

Shy and retiring, as you can imagine. I’m trying to find a saddle so Baby Spurgison can use one of these crazies as a miniature pony. It could totally work.

 

Whitney refusing to look at the camera.

 

Delicious Mediterranean fare. Get the pita bread. Get lots of pita bread.

 

This is the look I get when I ask “What’re you having?!” 18 times. His dish is *always* better than mine. Humph.

 

I’m loving this light.

 

Spurgisons!

 

Before leaving town, we stopped by a local blueberry farm. I was skeptical to start my Sunday at 6 a.m., but I would do it again in a heartbeat!

 

Blueberry picking machines.

 

Whitney demonstrates excellent form.

 

Kristi says the baby likes blueberries already.

 

Mr. T somehow caught some stowaways in his pocket. When he pulled out his wallet to pay, he had smashed blueberry everywhere. Consequently, he was thrilled at his choice not to wear the white shirt I packed for him.

 

An online friend said of this picture: “What lovely eyelashes they have.” Love that description.

 

Happiness.

 

The only downside? Spiders. Lots of spiders. Stowaway jumping spiders that flew home with us and didn’t present until I was scooping out berries with my hands. Ick.

 

26 pounds of blueberries which soon became gifts, crisp, ice cream, sorbet, yogurt topping, pancakes and frozen treats.

 

Best breakfast in town.

 

Martin Field!

 

Mr. T’s attempts to shake the baby loose in air failed dismally.

 

K and I met in high school, attended college together and have stayed friends despite pulling respective bridesmaid duty. 😉

 

I told K that if the baby came mid-flight, I’d be happy to catch it. She did not take me up on my Google M.D. services though.

 

Hazy day made for one bumpy ride home.

 

But first, we buzzed Whit and Kristi around town.

 

To the right, smoke from the fire department’s training fire.

 

Walla Walla General Hospital where K works.

 

Setting sail for home.

 

The last smile I made until we got home. Four hours of turbulence and headwinds do not a happy girl make.

Next visit, we promise to stay longer, see more friends and actually explore the town. Until then…

xoxo,
shawna

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