Saturday, October 23, 2010

Where we stayed - Tri-Cities Area

For this trip we used two guides books:

  • Cruising the Columbia and Snake Rivers by Sharlene and Ted Nelson with Joan LeMieux.
  • Boaters Guide to the Columbia and Snake Rivers
Both are 'Out of Print', but can be found on Amazon.   We found both books useful, but to be honest I liked Cruising the Columbia and Snake Rivers better as it talked not only about stops, but a little about the history as you cruised past it.  Make sure to get the 2nd (revised) edition.

TriCities:  We stopped overnight at three places:  Metz Marina (at Clover Island), Columbia Point Park, and the Richland Yacht Club.

Metz Marina - This is really the Port of Kennewick Marina and the bay hosts a USCG station, a marina and the Clover Island Yacht Club.   Over the past 4 years, this area has been totally refreshed.  I wanted to post some photos from Google earth, but the image is the old one :-)   To get there, your enter the marina bay and motor past all the new covered moorage and to the last row which is boat houses.  Turn a hard right and the guest dock is the back of these boat houses.  Currently there is a large gap of water, and then the Clover Island Yacht Club starts with their rows of house boats.  There is 30A power on the dock as well as water.  Pump out is over by the Coast Guard station on the Fuel dock.  Price is $10 / night which includes power.  You pay at the port office which is at the top of the ramp, if it is a weekend place your money in an envelope and put it into the blue box on the outside of the office.  This is a very clean and very new facility, has restrooms and showers as well as trash and an oil dump.  Perhaps the BEST feature is again at the top of the ramp:  Ice Harbor Brewing Company.  A great local brewery, and they will sell 6-packs out of coolers there!  Groceries are a bit of a walk, about 1.5 miles down 'Washington Street' to the Red Apple.  (Make sure to note 'Two Guys Stripping' along the way - Kristi sure did.).  An Ace hardware is about 1/2 mile down the same road.   There are a couple of restaurant at the top of the ramp, both are OK, but their price reflects their location.  Overall we liked the newness of this facility, reasonable price, Ice Harbor Brewery.

Columbia Point Park and Marina in Red -
 Richland Yacht Club are the docks to the left..
Next we moved up river some to the Columbia Point Marina.  This is actually a public dock at the Columbia Port City Park - But wow...  There are about 35 slips with on-dock power and water!  An issue for us is we could dock at perhaps two places, and in each case we took up 3 'spaces' :-)   This is really designed for 20 - 25'  or so boats.  But what can we say.  During the Summer understand it is busy, but when we arrived there was only one other boat.  As with Clover Island, there has been a LOT of construction around this area in the past 4-5 years - mostly Condo's.  We had plenty of depth, around 8', and it is well protected.  Perhaps the best about this area is a Starbucks is just a 10-15 minute walk away!  Plus there is a WinCo and Dollar Store there as well!  And the restaurats Anthony's is right at the marina, new, well staffed, good food - though it also is priced to reflect is location, I would say it is a much better value than the Clover Island places. Kristi and I enjoyed a good dinner there, and even purchased some Wine that we had sampled during our Wine Tour.  There is a pump out, but we did not try it as the dock was a bit short for us...  And will say the restrooms and Showers, though present, are a bit ruff - we basically did not use them.  Was also able to find a WiFi!  (Not so at Clover Island marina)  Overall:  What can we say:  Price is - get this -  free!  ($4/day during summer).  And this includes electricity!  Walking distance to shopping and Starbucks.  Recommended, though suspect the summer might be difficult to get a spot, esp for larger boats.
Anthony's at Columbia Point Park

Richland Yacht Club:  This shares the same 'bay' as the Columbia Point Marina.  Kristi was stopped by a couple walking their dog - the 'Viking', turns out he was a member at the Richland Yacht Club,  and he invited us to a Friday Night pot-luck.  During that time the folks invited us to be their guests until the storms pass over.  Kristi and I are very appreciative for this gesture as to be honest this location is much better than Clover Island - Starbucks, WinCo, WiFi, etc.  Wonderful new facility, nice people, and we are grateful to them.

There seemed to be several small docks all along the river, mostly private but some seemed to be associated with parks.  Not sure about overnight at them, but would certainly be interesting to stop for  a day.  Also noted several boaters poking around the islands just below where the Snake joins into the Columbia.  Though the charts show skinny water, there were larger boats in there so perhaps some local knowledge would be able to point out some interesting anchorages.

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