A Traveler and his Cat exploring America.

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Odessa, Washington

We spent two nights at this little town in east central Washington. It was settled largely by German Russians (or Russian Germans) and was named after the town of Odessa in the Ukraine. 
 The current population is 1000 give or take.

I took a walk downtown, all two blocks of it.  There was one grocery store, two eateries, a coffee "haus", two gas stations one of which out of business, two banks, one dentist, one health care service, one hair salon, a hardware store, two lawyers and a "town marshal".  Now when have you last seen or heard of a town marshal?  A couple streets over I discovered what was the only hotel which is now a private residence.  Long ago if you stepped off the train in Odesssa for whatever reason you would, you didn't have too far to walk to your accommodations.  I saw a house for sale nearby and realized there was no real estate office in town.  No motels either.  Imagine that.

Despite its smallness Odessa had an impressive modern school complex, a nine hole golf course and an aqua center.  Few small towns can boast that.  There even was a museum open on Sundays from 
1-3.  Too bad it wasn't Sunday as I am sure the museum caretaker would have been thrilled to see me step through the front door.

Each year the town hosts their Odessa Deutschesfest with several thousand visitors arriving from all over the world to experience a traditional German festival.  There are lots of German food and beer to be had along with some good old polka music, and a long list of games and events.   I'm not sure if this has anything to do with Deutschesfest but it was the only unusual item I spotted downtown.
An accordion would be more fitting.
(Where do they put up all those people with no motels or hotels?  Nearby towns there aren't any.)

 So you might ask what brought me to Odessa where we stayed for two days.  They provided a place for tourist camping free of charge at their nice little city park.  I have come across a few of these community offered tourist camping places in my travels, mostly in the mid-west with Texas having probably the most some of which even include free electricity and water hook-ups.  More small towns really ought to do this sort of thing for travelers bring with them lots of money...
except for this one.

Now you could stay here, a small town city park for a couple of days couldn't you?

As you can imagine I saw all there was to see in Odessa in no time at all, so what did I do to pass the time away.  For one I watched the trains.  We were only 50 yards away from the train tracks and I could see them roll by right out my window.  In a 12 hour period 18 trains rolled through with only 3 of them being at night so they were not a bother and besides, I like trains.  It was those darn doves in the trees overhead with their incessant cuckoo-coo that was annoying.

Now here is something I learned.  One of the trains was all tanker cars.  I noticed on the sides of the cars they had TCBX, UTLX or TILX followed by a number.  I was curious as to what the letters meant and got online.  Well! Not only did I learn what the letters stood for but I discovered there is a site where people track railroad cars by their numbers, take a photo of the car and log it in on the site as to the date, time and location that car was spotted!  That left me shaking my head for a awhile wondering why?   I'm sure there is some sort of satisfaction in seeing a railroad car you spotted in your town later on be discovered clear across the country by someone else such as yourself who has nothing else to do but track down train cars, but for me I don't see it.  Oh well, I am sure there are less exciting hobbies one can have.


  1. As for where all the visitors stay there's this on the Deutschesfest website: "About 700 RV's are parked all over town, many of them on grassy Finney Field, the Odessa school's playfield. Senior citizens arrive by the busloads from Spokane, Tri-Cities, and Wenatchee. Many visitors pitch tents in tree-shaded Reiman Park, while a few who have reserved a year in advance are lucky enough to find motel accommodations at the Odessa Motel or park their RV at Odessa Golf Course".

  2. Great interesting post John.

  3. Interesting post. I always thought Odessa was Russia, or now Ukraine, but German? Maybe in WW II. Borders change a lot nowadays.

  4. Odessa seems to be a charming little town and if I lived nearer I would definitely want to visit Odessa Deutschesfest! There's nothing like some German sausage and beer and a singsong to pass a fun evening.

  5. There are ship spotters who do the same thing. It's kind of fun to follow a ship you saw in SF Bay make its way through ports around the world.

  6. You should see all the train watchers lined up next to the tracks in Daggett, CA. It's a great train intersection and folks are there with their notebooks trying to spot and record something they haven't seen before.

  7. Here's how to cut your electricity bill by 75%: DIY HOME ENERGY.


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