An August 2006 trip
to Pendleton by btwood2
Quote: You know about Pendleton woolen blankets and shirts, you may have heard of Pendleton Round Up, but what is Tamástslikt?
Hotel | "Wildhorse RV Park"
Soon after our arrival, Bob noticed sprinklers watering strips of lawn between RV spaces. Ground water is a dirty word to my husband, as it makes spots on shiny surfaces (such as outsides of motor home and car) that require some vigorous rubbing to eliminate. Staff was more than accommodating, and assured him that during our stay, they’d see to it personally that the lawn on either side of us would not be watered.
A stay at Wildhorse RV Park includes additional perks: free continental breakfasts or $2 off any regular breakfast. We took advantage of this, as well as the free shuttle service 24 hours a day; just call from the office phone and golf cart will arrive shortly. The deep turquoise pool is refreshing, the hot tub is hot, and the machines at the laundromat all work. If you don’t have an RV but still want to camp, K Wáhn Waútukt Tipi Village adjoins the RV park.
Almost everything was in good working order. I washed and dried two loads of laundry without a hitch. One women’s shower was out of order, but the other two worked fine. The mechanism that makes bubbles in the spa wasn’t operative, but I was told the part had been ordered. Regardless, the spa was clean and hot and felt great even without bubbles. My only disappointment was that there were no recycling bins in which to discard our aluminum cans.
We arrived in early afternoon to an almost empty RV park; by nightfall, almost all 100 spaces were filled. Reservations would be advisable if arriving late, on holidays, or during special events. Reservations are essential during Pendleton Round-up! Rates are quite reasonable: $18/day for 30 amps, $20 for 50 amps, or $108 weekly, plus 7% tax. Monday-Thursday discounts (10%) are available for AAA, AARP, Good Sam, and Escapees members.
Member Rating 4 out of 5 on October 22, 2006
Wildhorse Resort & Casino RV Park
72777 Hwy. 331
Pendleton, Oregon 97801
The weather was quite different in August 2006: bright penetrating sun, inducing sweat only minimally alleviated by warm breezes. Unequivocally time for a cold one. Where to go? No question, the antique shop-owner confirmed the Rainbow was it. We cozied into a booth and soon I was talking with Bill, another customer sitting at the bar. A friend of Steve McGee’s, owner of the Rainbow since 1999, Bill informed us that the guy doing all the work in the window was none other than Steve. He’s going back to the future by recreating the front as it was in 1893, when it was known as the State Saloon and Banquet. The Rainbow claims the distinction of being Pendleton’s oldest continuously open bar/restaurant at the same location. And judging from the popularity of the place and the tasty jojo potatoes we had with our beers, it’ll stay open a whole lot longer.
Going way beyond appetizers and pub fare, you can begin your day at the Rainbow at 6AM for breakfast. Try their Heart Attack, half-pound hamburger steak, eggs and hashbrowns, or the Geezer (biscuits smothered in sausage gravy). Want to live a little longer? Omelets and senior specials offer lighter less artery-clogging fare. Lunch specials are offered Monday through Friday, but the regular daily menu includes a nice selection of hamburgers, hot dogs, and sandwiches. Dinner’s served from 4 PM on. Rainbow’s specialty is their pressure fried half chicken, with jojo’s, garlic toast, soup or salad, for only $6.95. Fish, prawns, steaks of various types and sizes, roast beef, and chef’s salad round out the menu.
Irish Cowboy Bar: Commenting on the prevalence of neon green and shamrock décor, I had a "small-world" experience when Bill told me he used to own Mooney’s Irish Pub in San Francisco. A few years before he bought the pub, my college roommates and I hung out at Mooney’s, practically groupies for Steamin’ Freeman and his band playing gypsy rock, but I digress.
Antlers and cowboy gear share wall- and shelf-space with ceramic leprechauns. The Rainbow boasts the most complete collection of Round Up All-Around Cowboy photographs since 1911, and is said to be quite the place for fun and "controlled chaos" during its two main events of the year: Round Up Week (second week in September), and Saint Paddy’s Day. Happy Hour runs from 5 to 6 PM Monday-Thursday, and again Thursday night from 10-midnight.
Member Rating 5 out of 5 on October 22, 2006
209 S. Main Street
Attraction | "Tamástslikt Cultural Institute I"
The one-way winding drive from the highway to Tamástslikt was purposely constructed curvy to set the mood and slow visitors down. This museum is not meant to whiz through in two hours. It was such a gift to us on our first visit in 2002, when we were stuck in Pendleton in a snowstorm. We took the entire day and savored every bit of it, taking a lunch break for bowls of the most delicious salmon chowder I’ve ever tasted at the Kinship Café, looking out the windows in fascination at ever-falling snowflakes and increasing whiteness of landscape. Then we returned, wandering through the remaining exhibits until closing time. Four years later, 2006, I wanted to recapture some of that magic.
The long, low-lying wood and stone building that houses museum, café, gift shop, and meeting facilities was designed by Jean Jacques Andre Consultants, the architectural firm who designed the Royal B.C. Museum in Victoria, among others. In Wallulapum, the language of the Walla Walla, Tamástslikt means not only to translate, but also to turn, turn over, or turn around. This aptly describes the experience of visitors who take their time to immerse themselves in the world of the Cayuse, Umatilla, and Walla Walla tribes, as they were, as they are, and as they will be.
Although the Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla are composed of three distinct tribes, who lived along different tributaries of the Columbia and Snake Rivers, they shared the Blue Mountains to hunt. The Umatilla and Walla Walla are Shahaptan speakers, but Cayuse language was more isolated linguistically. The 6.4 million acres in northeastern Oregon and southeastern Washington that was the homeland of the Confederated Tribes is called Nicht-yow-way.
Tamástslikt Lobby is the only indoors area of the exhibit halls and rooms where photography is allowed. The entrance lobby is a large light room with big windows and flagstone floors. But most notable is the mural of Wyám (Celilo Falls, on the Columbia River) taking up an entire wall, Núunim Lawtiwáama (Our Friends).
Honoring Wyám: Against a backdrop of foaming falls, hundreds of silver salmon shimmer, each bearing the name of a Tamástslikt donor. Wyám falls not only provided excellent fishing, but was also a trade network and yearly gathering place. With the coming of the highway, Celilo Falls became a major tourist attraction. In 1957, the Dalles Dam completely inundated Celilo Falls, destroying the village and fishing industry there, forcing many to relocate, and ending a way of life forever.
Hours: 9-5 daily Admission: $6 adult, $4 senior/student.For more information, call: 541-966-9748.
Tamástslikt Cultural Institute
72789 Hwy 331
Pendleton, Oregon 97801
Attraction | "Tamástslikt Cultural Institute II"
Nawinathlanmi Lati't means Indian Paintbrush, and was on display in the changing exhibit hall. Paintings, charcoal and pencil drawings, and photographs, many of them colorized, showed images of Indian people and landscape.
Who we were: The magic really begins entering the permanent circular exhibit areas. Motion-activated devices cause rustling sounds, bird and animal calls, and in the background, the beating drum. Natítayt (the people) fished, hunted, gathered roots, tanned hides, created beautiful objects, and never wasted anything. Shahaptan names of things are presented above English. The plateau seasonal round puts it all together in drawings: "The Earth and myself, of one mind".
Nowhere is the concept of Naý-mu (kinship) better expressed and experienced than inside the full-sized tule mat winter lodge. I sit and listen to stories and songs, some by men, whose voices come from my left, others by women, from the right side of the lodge. Some teach lessons, others are creation stories, many involving Coyote. As I listen to how Celilo Falls was created, I hear geese honking from far away. I hesitate to leave before hearing all the stories and songs. But the clock is ticking, and regretfully I step outside the lodge to continue on.
Horse culture is expressed in a diorama of mounted riders. All too soon following the horse, imported by Spanish to the New World, came a much less welcome European invader: microbes. Smallpox in the 1770’s, measles along with the huge wave of immigrants in1847. Viewed as an intrusion by the Plateau tribes, open resistance began with the killing of missionaries Marcus and Narcissa Whitman. The Treaty of 1855 confederated the three tribes and relegated them to a tiny land base, the Umatilla Reservation.
And the horses are fading… The pealing of mission bells, hymns, and hammering predominate as I pass through displays about Indian boarding schools, more loss of land, and passage into modern times.
We will never fade. This sentiment predominates present and future of the circle of displays, many interactive. The Warrior tradition is poignantly expressed on an interactive screen by World War II, Korea, and Vietnam veterans. On another screen, drumming, singing, dancing and gifting at pow-wows and celebrations.
Knowing where you come from: I watch a movie about preparing black lichen for use in soups and gravies. From how it’s gathered, wrapped, buried, then smoked, with elder teaching younger. Outdoors in Naamí Níshaycht Village, I walk on a timeline path past ancient pit houses, a tule mat longhouse like the one inside, to more "modern" canvas teepees. During festive events, these are peopled by tribal members, demonstrating cultural practices.
Let ‘er buck! The bucking began in 1910 on the same rodeo grounds the Round Up has been held on ever since. Surviving through fires, world wars, the Great Depression, and even a cowboy strike, Round Up celebrated its 96th year in September 2006. The 8-day event takes place the second week in September, beginning with a Saturday parade and concert. Sunday through Tuesday events feature a Hall of Fame banquet, cowboy shows, golf tournament, and Professional Bullriders Classic.
The rodeo events run four days from Wednesday through the following Saturday. And there are enough categories to excite any fan: bareback riding, saddle bronc riding, Brahma bull riding, calf roping, team roping, steer roping, steer wrestling, barrel racing (the only women’s event), Indian relay races, and wild cow milking. 2007 Round Up rodeo ticket prices range from $14-$23 (prices are up $3 from 2006), with Friday-Saturday and North Grandstand tickets in the higher range. As of October 14th, 2006, 11 months in advance, prime North Grandstand weekend tickets were already sold-out!
Happy Canyon Pageant and Dance runs concurrently with the rodeo, next door at the Happy Canyon facility, beginning at 7:45pm from Wednesday to Saturday. The current script for the show began in 1916, and portrays early American Indian culture, the coming of Lewis and Clark, followed by emigrants, clashes between Indians and whites, and finally, the rowdy goings-on in a wild West frontier town. Dance, gambling, and saloon open immediately after the show until 2am. The Happy Canyon Gambling Act was passed by Oregon legislature in 1971, which legalizes gambling for certain Oregon non-profits.
Pašapawakmuykša – "they’re making the horses buck"! Without a doubt, Indians can be cowboys and cowgirls, too. At age 53, Jackson Sundown, Waaya-Tonah-Toesits-Kahn, a Nez Perce, won World Championship in bronc-riding at the 1916 Round Up. All-Indian rodeos are where it’s at for many of today’s best riders and ropers. At Round Up, Indian encampment sets up every year next to the grounds at Roy Raley Park. It’s for gathering, selling arts, crafts, and food, and sponsoring a pow-wow and beauty contests.
Book early if you want to attend Round Up. Motels, lodging, and RV parks are reserved way ahead of time for Round Up week. However, local residents will rent out rooms or even in some cases, their house. Pendleton also creates about 1000 extra dry (no hookups) camping spaces for RVs and tents.
Pendleton Round Up Hall of Fame can be found in its new location across the street from the rodeo grounds.
For more information, call (541) 276-2553, toll-free (800) 457-6336.
Member Rating 3 out of 5 on October 22, 2006
Pendleton Round Up
1205 S.W. Court
Pendleton, Oregon 97801
In all fairness, I took my walk in mid-afternoon, probably too early for the getting-off-work biking/jogging crowd. There are many access points to the parkway, but I got on it just past the pretty river bird mural, by South Main Street. I walked roughly a third of a mile east to Lee Street Grade, where the river is crossed by a historic 1909 bridge, fabricated by Columbia Bridge Company in Walla Walla. At this point, one can continue east another mile to just past where Wildhorse Creek empties into the Umatilla and the parkway ends at the Little League Ballpark. Or, do as I did, and take SE 8th Street to SE Court Avenue downtown, and turn left to the courthouse, to check out an old clock with a story.
The old courthouse clock: Pendleton’s fancy French Second Empire-style courthouse had to have a quality clock in its central clock tower, so in 1889, a Seth Thomas Model 17 counter-weight was ordered from Connecticut, along with a half-ton bell from Baltimore. Ravages of time and numerous fires took their toll, however, and in 1954 the old courthouse was torn down and a new one built. The clock was put in storage and all but forgotten for 33 years. Renewed interest and vigorous fundraising at the clock’s centennial in 1989 brought the clock out of storage and back to life in a tall, modern archway on the corner in front of the courthouse.
Parkway west: Cutting back onto the parkway from Main Street and heading the other direction, I passed murals, backyards, strategically placed benches for resting, shady underpasses, more bridges, and eventually the back of Round Up rodeo grounds. The river itself flowed languidly and sparkled in the sun, fringed by lush green riparian growth, occasionally so profuse as to obliterate views of the river itself.
Salmon are back: The Umatilla is a good habitat for birds in all four seasons. A painted mural on a wall edging the river on SE Byers tries to include most bird species that could be spotted, as well as fish under its surface. Largely thanks to the efforts of the Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla, salmon have been restored to the river after a 70-year absence.
Umatilla River Parkway
along Umatilla River between Hwy 37/Westgate and Byers Avenue
Trade blankets were Pendleton Woolen Mill’s claim to success and fame. When the Bishop family bought the old defunct scouring mill in Pendleton in 1909, they brought a history of weaving expertise and merchant savvy from both sides of the family. The three Bishop brothers not only renovated the building, but more importantly, sent pattern designers out to Indian communities to learn their design preferences. Eventually they widened out beyond the Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla to the tribes of the Southwest and the Plains, for additional blanket designs. Result: the already popular blankets became even more so, and their quality has become legendary.
On the tour, you’ll see the wool-making process and learn about the Jacquard looms the Bishops used to produce their blankets. Its double weave basically made each blanket reversible as well as extra warm. If planning to take the tour, wear sensible shoes (you’ll be climbing stairs). In 1929, men’s sportswear was added to the Pendleton line, contributing woolen plaid shirts that last several generations. I wore my father’s two old Pendleton shirts well past my college years. Women’s wear was added in 1949.
Wool and weaves: I had no idea how many different woolens there are until touring and shopping at Pendleton Mills. Beyond the double-sided Jacquards and men’s sports shirts mentioned above, there’s practically no end to the types and varieties of woolens from most rugged to dressiest, even a stretch-wool containing spandex.
The 1980’s saw Pendleton’s expansion from specialty into retail. Currently, they have 8 production facilities, 75 retail stores, plus a full online catalog. Pendleton is still privately owned and managed by the Bishop family.
For more information, call (541) 276-6911.
Pendleton Woolen Mills
1307 SE Court Place
Been there, done that. On our third visit to Pendleton in 2006, a brochure for the tour shows a pigtailed Chinese man smoking an opium pipe, with smoke wafting behind a cowboy, face shaded by his hat, holding a full-house hand of poker, and next to him, a supposed "lady of the night". At $10 for 90 minutes, no doubt they deliver what they promise – the tour, not the whore, that is: "a lively look into Pendleton’s infamous and entertaining past". But we’d been there, done that. We were ready for something less, uh, touristy.
Giving credit to the Man, I gotta say that my husband Bob found the real Pendleton underground, one that is happening today, and may be more like the historical underground than anyone wants to admit. For while I was off walking up and down along the Umatilla River, Bob bumped into a young man who was living in a historic riverside building, and as he loves to do, began to talk with him. Somehow the conversation led to discussion of Pendleton’s underground, and Neal (the young man), offered to show Bob his little portion of it.
Life under the sidewalk: Bob was taken down into the basement, which extended out underneath the sidewalk. Neal had been quite busy refurbishing this space, partly lighted by sunlight coming in through a sidewalk grate. Though having more of a funky-chic unfinished look what with uncovered pipes and fixtures suspended along the ceiling, the subterranean dwelling had quite a bit of character. Chairs, dinette and frig made up a kitchen area, alongside living area with trundle bed, easy chair, shelving, wall hangings, and aquarium, with matching fish mural painted in one corner wall, even a small workshop!
And if it rains? was my first question to Neal, when I arrived on the scene. Ingeniously, he’d placed a planter underneath the grates. I later learned that these sidewalk vaults as they’re called architecturally, were more often covered with cast iron panels fitted with clear or purplish glass lenses, to allow passage of light, but not rain, flood, or cold. Patented by Thaddeus Hyatt in 1845, and used in cities from East to West coasts, they were intended to provide safe, inexpensive daylight to increase the usability of basements. When they broke or deteriorated, however, they were more often covered up with asphalt or concrete sidewalk.
Crabby’s is another real underground business: saloon, steakhouse and dancehall, with their Hole in the Wall Kitchen. We ate lunch there years ago in 1989, and enjoyed huge hot mama burgers this time for dinner. One-third-pounders are smothered with pepper jack cheese and jalapenos, guacamole on the side, along with a mountain of crinkly fries.
Spin and Win: Descending the steps to Crabby’s you enter through a heavy, beat-up wooden meat-locker type door, and find yourself in a big dimly lit cave, with rough rock walls. There are several pool tables, bar and dining area, and beyond that, the dance floor. Midweek early evening to take advantage of Happy Hour, it was quiet with only a few other customers. Happy Hour means the bartender spins the Spin and Win wheel for you, with a chance the pointer will stop on half-off or quarter-off drinks or pitchers. No such luck for us; we paid full price. But it was a huge pitcher.
Underground city? Pendleton Underground Tours website states that underground tunnels, dug by the Chinese between 1870 and 1930, cover over 70 miles underneath Pendleton's historic district, and included living quarters, opium dens, and even a jail. Lack of historical documentation is attributed to the premise that no one wanted to talk about it. Undeniably there was a Chinese community in Pendleton in the late 1800’s, and undeniably prejudice and discrimination against the Chinese ran high. However…
A more likely reality is presented by Patricia Wegars, PhD, from the University of Idaho. Dr. Wegars has extensively researched Chinese history in the West, and has uncovered no evidence of such. In cities where Chinese owned or occupied buildings, they often utilized basements, sometimes partitioning them into smaller rooms. They also may have feared to venture out after dark due to the real threat of violence against them.
Rodeo, New Mexico