Richland, WA – 25 July 2021

Before we drive to Spokane, WA, we spend an hour or so at The Reach Museum in Richland, WA. This museum displays are about the unique geology and history of the Richland area – the Hanford Reach portion of the Columbia River and how nuclear efforts in WW2 put Richland on the map.

REACH Museum entrance

President Clinton designated the Hanford Reach National Monument in the 1990’s to protect it from ever having a dam built. Everyone is aware of the Columbia River’s many dams, most famous being the Grand Coulee. People in this area did not want a dam built, to protect a section of the river for wildlife. The displays tell the story from ice age to current time. Well done and interesting.

The other exhibit area covers the history of involvement of Richland in The Manhattan Project. Bottom line, this is where the plutonium came from for the Fat Boy bomb. When the Hanford facility was built, similar to Los Alamos, NM, the people living in the Richland area were displaced. A city was built and the work began. After the Cold War, nuclear weapons were no longer being built so they had to ‘clean up’ the area. The clean-up is still going on. There continues to be defense, government and medical research going on in Richland area. Again, this place is in the middle of nowhere! Here are a few pictures of the displays of interest.

And a bonus for my collection…..a national monument stamp.

A 2 hour drive to Spokane, return the car at the airport. The lack of Uber drivers we are told could cause you to be waiting for two hours. Luckily, an Uber driver shows up in 15 minutes and talks about how no one wants to work anymore but of course he isn’t from the USA – he recently emigrated from one of the former USSR “stans”?

At 6:30 pm, we meet up with our bike tour guides for a welcome and then dinner. The Davenport Hotel complex in downtown Spokane includes the Safari Restaurant/Lounge where we have dinner and the Peacock Lounge where we stop for a beer before. These hotels are much like The Plaza in New York and The Palmer House in Chicago, spectacular in their decor. Tomorrow, we start our bike tour!

And as a footnote to the pandemic, there continues to be a few masks being worn by people in downtown Spokane, even outside. Then, we see this man in the lounge, wearing his vaccination card around his neck – something new! Does it protect him?

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