Aboard S. S. Legacy-We are anchored in the Snake River at Lyons Ferry, surrounded by ochre cliffs of columnar and pillar basalt.
A slow – no wake area – jet boat tender takes us to the nearby Lyons Ferry Marina where our trusty buses are waiting to convey us on a 15-minute ride to Palouse State Park and Palouse Falls.
The countryside is empty save for the array of grasses, mostly cheat grass, and an assortment of buttes and mesas of varying sizes. Step-toe land, they call it and there is a beauty to its wide-open expanse.
The falls, almost 200 feet long, empty into a coulee and emerge as a small river. The surrounding canyon is deep and dramatic.
The park itself is simple, port-a-lets, picnic tables and nice shady trees. Welcome on a day when temperatures are expected to reach over 100 degrees (f).
Conveniently an hour after lunch is the swim in, an opportunity to dive into the Snake River. A few passengers and a number of crewmembers including captain Tim take advantage of it. Looked refreshing and fun.
We move farther up the Snake River, through two locks at 3 before the captain’s poker tournament deals in at the Pesky Barnacle Saloon, a bourbon and beer bar just off the dining room. I manage to win a pot, split a pot and stay in the game until for a good while. Captain Tim won but two women gave him a run for his money.
Our wine presentation this afternoon was a blind tasting of three roses, each different. A third of us liked the first, which we learned was from Provence, a larger number preferred the second, a Robert Ramsay from Washington crafted by Casey, our guest wine maker, and the rest swore by the third, a fruity concoction from Sutter Home, $2.50 at the gas station!
As Chris said, wine is made so many ways there is guaranteed to be one you like.
We also learned about corks vs. glass vs. screw tops, glass weight and other elements of the winery trade. Good session.
Dinner, flatiron steak, sea scallops and/or roasted acorn squash with grain salad and vegetables (our table tried them all), another winner from Chef Brendan, was liberally seasoned with laughter.
Lilly’s evening talk on “The River that Won the War,” was a fascinating look at the World War II efforts along the Columbia River from Kaiser Shipyards liberty ships – one every four days – to the Hanford Project, the world’s first plutonium conductor that produced the Atomic bomb that ended the war.
Hilarity continued late into the evening in the lounge with a group, male and female, that ranged in age from 38 to 82.