Friday, April 12, 2024

Historic road trips

Staff Writer | March 14, 2024 3:21 PM

QUINCY — The Quincy Valley Historical Society & Museum will be back on the road for 2024 with a series of tours and lectures detailing the geological and human history of the region. 

Seating on the bus is limited; interested people can go on the museum website and purchase tickets. Ticket prices vary depending on the tour and whether or not the tour includes lunch, said QVHSM Director of Operations Harriet Weber. 

Weber said the tours are going further afield in 2024 with the help of a sponsorship from accountants Clifton Larson Allen. The sponsorship has been a big help.

“We’ve been able to do more really interesting things,” she said. 

The museum also partners with the city of Quincy. 

A look at the flowers, sagebrush, bunch grass and other plants in the rangeland around Quincy will be the subject of the first bus tour, scheduled for April 27. The speaker for “Home on the Range” will be Quincy High School senior Levi Kukes, a two-time FFA “Top Hand” for the Western Region. Late April is wildflower time, and Kukes will share his knowledge of the flowers, grasses and other desert plants and how they fit into the landscape.

Weber will team up with Royal City farmer Sam Krautscheid on May 18 for a tour of the Royal Valley in its early days, and the stories of some of its high hopes, some of its busted dreams, and some of the people that made it. “Ghost Towns and Giants” introduces people to Low Gap and Corfu, the Frenchman (or not) for whom the Frenchman Hills are named and the Hutchinson Brothers, who made a go of it in a challenging location. The tour also includes the Ice Caves and a long-decommissioned ballistic missile silo.

Central Washington University geology professor Nick Zentner will talk about the geological history — the turbulent geological history — of Central Washington in a lecture May 22 at the Douglas County Museum, 124 W. Walnut St., Waterville. Zentner is the host of the PBS series “Nick on the Rocks,” which is the title of the lecture, Weber said. There’s no tour, she said, just the lecture.

History was made in the desert along the Columbia River in the early 1940s, but things were going on before the Manhattan Project. 

“There were the whole towns of White Bluff and Hanford out there,” Weber said.

Residents lost their homes and farms — and their towns — when Hanford was chosen as the place to manufacture atomic bomb components. “Before the Bomb — Old Hanford,” scheduled for June 8, starts at the National Park Service location in Richland, then will visit what’s left of the townsites. 

The 1855-58 Yakima War is the subject of a tour and lecture July 13. “The White Soldier Comes” starts at Ft. Simcoe in White Swan, later the site of the Yakima Indian Agency. Todd Thaemert is the speaker. 

A contemporary Quincy business is featured July 27, when Alison White and Heather Folks-Lambert provide a tour of Amway.

“We're taking a field-to-factory tour,” Weber said, “We’ll see the whole process.”

“Seed to Supplement: Botanical Extracts and Tea Ingredients in the Columbia Basin, Trout Lake & Amway” starts with the company’s production fields near Ephrata and follows what’s grown there through the production process.

If enough people sign up, a tour of the Boeing 777 facility in Everett is scheduled for Aug. 10. People must sign up by mid-May to ensure there’s enough money to hire a charter bus, Weber said. 

“Railroadin’ to the Inland Northwest Rail Museum,” scheduled Aug. 24, is a field trip to the museum in Reardon, looking at the traces of the rail lines built across the Central Washington Desert on the way. The trip includes a ride on the rail museum’s narrow-gauge railway. Dan Bolyard is the speaker.

The season finale is a walk through the landscape near Thorp and Roslyn with hiking and skiing guide Tami Walton. “Autumn Walk in the Kittitas” will be Oct. 19. The tour also includes a stop at the Thorp Grist Mill.

Quincy is the longtime home of Christmas lights, and the museum will host Christmas light tours throughout December.

Cheryl Schweizer can be reached via email at

    Museum tour participants listen to a lecture on the geological history of Central Washington on the spot of the Ice Age Floods in 2023.
    Cactus flowers bloom near Quincy on a QVHSM tour of desert flora and fauna in 2023. The first tour of 2024 is scheduled for April.
    Quincy museum participants pose with an ancient artifact, a 1940s telephone, during a tour of the Hanford nuclear site in 2023.