Goldendale Campout & Star Party, 5/30 - 6/1/14
Posted 25 January 2014 - 11:04 PM
This year it will be the weekend of May 30 - June 1, a full week earlier than last year. We're gambling slightly worse odds on the weather in exchange for guarantied longer hours of darkness. As always, don't feel restricted to those three days. You'll be welcome to arrive earlier or stay later. The Honey Bucket should be delivered and snatched the Wednesdays before and after, unless the vendor has changed its schedule.
Directions to the Property
The two main routes to the property are (1) over Snoqualmie Pass then south; and (2) up the lazy River from the Portland area, then north. From Seattle/Tacoma, Snoqualmie is somewhat faster, assuming no problem with the road. On the other hand, if it's warm and dry then a guy going east along the Columbia will probably get a helpful push from strong tail winds. Take your pick, name your tune.
Also, those going from Seattle/Tacoma LP-opolis should note: It's my habit when going to G/dale from home to check for traffic snafus. I once avoided a 3 hour backup over Snoqualmie with a last-minute check.
First the Snoqualmie directions.
• From Snoqualmie go through Ellensburg, then south through Yakima on I-82, then watch for signs to Hwy. 97 South and to Goldendale. You can leave I-82 in two places: around Union Gap and a bit farther south, going through Toppenish. Follow Hwy. 97 south over Satus Pass.
• Turn right (west) as you get to G/dale, on to West Broadway St. (“SR 142” – and Dairy Queen on corner). In a few blocks notice a grocery store on your left, for future supplies. They have good seafood (oysters!) on Saturdays. Travel exactly one mile from the highway, then turn left on South COLUMBUS Ave.
• Travel south on South Columbus Ave. exactly .41 miles, then turn right on West Railroad St.
• *** Turn left at the stop sign after 1/4 mi. or so.
• You will soon come to a "Y". Stay to the Left; this is where your road becomes Horseshoe Bend Road.
• There are a couple more “Y”s in the road. Always stay on Horseshoe Bend Road, which will mean keeping Right at the “Y”s.
• Notice a prominent and lonely stand of trees ahead of you and on the left of the road. Just after you crest a hill, just past the trees, turn left onto Pinto Drive. The turn is .5 - .6 mi. after the intersection with Erickson Rd. As you go through the gate look to your right across the swale and you’ll see camping activity, your destination. Pinto soon makes a 90* bend to the right and becomes Apaloosa Court. Just after the road crosses the drainage and starts up a hill, turn a hard right onto an “offroad” graded but unimproved drive, and follow it to the camping area.
And from the Portland area:
• Follow I-84 East from Portland, then go North on Hwy. 97 at the Biggs Junction, which is east of The Dalles. Follow signs to Goldendale.
• Turn left onto East Simcoe Drive as you approach Goldendale.
• Follow E. Simcoe Dr. to the T-intersection and turn right onto So. Columbus Ave.
• Go 4 or 5 blocks, passing a gas station on your right (usually cheapest gas in town,) then turn Left onto West Railroad St.
• Follow directions beginning at the *** above.
The coordinates (at mouth of Pinto Drive) are:
45* 47' 44.31" N
120* 57' 18.23" W.
There are a couple of motels in G/dale for non-campers. History indicates about a 50/50 ratio of astronomers to people just out to enjoy a camping weekend with friends. There's much to see & do in the area, as subsequent discussion in this thread may illuminate.
We'll be on the cusp of May changing to June. In May, Ave. Hi/Low temps are 75*/49*; in June they're 81*/55*. Record Hi/Lo in May are 99*/32*; in June they're 108*/41*. Average total precipitation for May is 1.0", with 23 sunny days; the June average is .83”, with 26 sunny days. Please pack for cold nights. When we first did this several years ago it fell on the 1st or 2nd weekend in May; a friend's dog water dish froze all the way to the bottom and a couple of people shivered all night.
Pack for a significant wind chill if the wind decides to blow, and believe me, the wind can really whip up! Plan your tents/awnings setups to survive in and provide shelter from the wind. Pre-treat your dogs for ticks.
Shopping and water in Goldendale, 15 min. away.
Plan for a Potluck Saturday, and doubtless there will be other group dining.
There is no water at the property, so carry in your own water. Please plan to pitch in something for the Honey Bucket; $5/person would be about right. Please, no open fires or charcoal BBQ’s (gas all right.) A neighbor sells what may be Washington's best eggs.
Non-astronomers will be warmly welcomed, but remember, the focus of nighttime activities will be astronomy. Please be prepared to use only red or red-covered lights, flashlights and headlamps after dark, inside and outside tents. Dark is the Night Queen. (If you don't have a red flashlight, pick up a roll of tail light repair tape at an auto parts store to cover your white light in several layers.)
If you plan to use a generator (other than wind or solar) please camp in the area near the observing pads 150 yd. away at the top of the hill.
I'd welcome posting of photos from prior events!
Posted 26 January 2014 - 12:30 PM
Posted 26 January 2014 - 11:05 PM
And Saturn will be in the sky too...
Oh how interesting -- Memorial Day weekend is actually the previous weekend? I always thought Memorial Day was at the very end of May. But that's good -- less traffic to worry about. Maybe i'll just request the whole 4-day week off at work.
What are the bugs & mosquitoes like at that time of year?
Posted 27 January 2014 - 12:04 AM
Posted 27 January 2014 - 12:04 PM
It'll be nice to see you, Cliff.
My oh my. This is becoming the Woodstock of astro get togethers.
Jackie, I'm appointing you Transport Czar, in charge of arranging chopper service for getting the bands in and out.
Thanks for the pix, Emery & Robert! It hadn't occurred to me to work around Memorial Day weekend, so I'm glad we're avoiding it, by good luck alone.
Flying pests are nearly non-existent. Ticks can be a problem, so if you walk through brush be sure to inspect your socks & under your pants legs.
What are the bugs & mosquitoes like at that time of year?
Posted 27 January 2014 - 12:30 PM
Posted 27 January 2014 - 04:13 PM
Seriously, glad to have this on the calendar!
For those that don't want to camp, I've stayed twice at this hotel, about 15 min from the observing site. It's nice, super convenient with a Mini mart & McDonald's next door, but a little spendy.
Posted 27 January 2014 - 10:02 PM
Posted 28 January 2014 - 12:11 PM
Steve, best arrange acoustic bands.
And I want to acknowledge a moral and inspirational life that ended yesterday at the age of 94: Pete Seeger's. Thanks for everything, Pete.
Posted 31 January 2014 - 03:16 AM
Posted 31 January 2014 - 11:51 AM
Posted 01 February 2014 - 05:55 AM
Shots from June '13
Posted 01 February 2014 - 05:56 PM
Posted 02 February 2014 - 02:19 AM
Tom, I'm delighted you'll be making it. You too, Stacy.
And thanks for the pix, guys!
Posted 03 February 2014 - 02:57 PM
Posted 03 February 2014 - 04:03 PM
Posted 03 February 2014 - 04:31 PM