Monday, July 21, 2008

Americana 2: Roll on, Columbia roll on

(The Columbia River between Vantage and George, Washington)

Yes, there is a town called George, Washington. And the tiny town before it on the usual trip from Olympia to Spokane is aptly named Vantage, because it enjoys a view similar to the one above.

When I was a child, my family often stopped at Vantage on the way over to Spokane, where my paternal grandmother lived. There was an A&W hamburger joint perched over the river: arguably the best view from a fast-food restaurant in Washington State at the time, or ever.

I remember looking across the Columbia at a road that descended directly into the river. My father explained that that was where Vantage used to be, but that the town had been sacrificed to the construction of a dam -- the Grand Coulee? -- which somehow brought the water level up and put the town underwater. I knew that this was all planned and that it wasn't like a real flood, but the story still horrified me and I loved imagining that the remains of the town could be found intact underwater.

On last year's road trip from Olympia to Fort Collins, Colorado, it was interesting to see my French husband and daughters -- who had never been "East of the mountains" -- react to the drastic change in scenery once we got out of the somewhat wooded Ellensburg area.

"How can this be the same state?" they asked. "How can this still be my state?" I wondered.

Washington is often called "The Evergreen State," but obviously not all parts of the state were taken into consideration when choosing the nickname.


Randal Graves said...

Yeah, that's not trop verte. ;-) Nice shot nonetheless. The story about Vantage reminded me of this.

Betty Carlson said...

Thanks for the link, Randall. With global warming, a number of cities may end up this way - a cheery thought for your afternoon!

Margaret said...

Yes, the two parts of the state are very different, but I find beauty in each. Well, the part around Ellensburg isn't so great...I would love to be able to say that I'm from George, Washington, but alas, I live in Puyallup.

spacedlaw said...

The town is still there, underneath.
A little mossy, certainly but should still be intact, with fish for inhabitants now.

Tinsie said...

Gosh, that does look impressive!