Crowds flock to Columbia River as temperature flirts with 90

By Dave Kern, Columbian assistant metro editor


photoVancouver's Ryan Amrine, 24, plays catch Sunday with girlfriend Jenni Freeman, 23, of Vancouver at Frenchman's Bar.

(/The Columbian)

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Frenchman’s Bar Regional Park

What: A 120-acre spread on the Columbia River about two miles west of Vancouver Lake Park.

Where: 9612 N.W. Lower River Road

Age: Dedicated in 1997.

Amenities: Shelters and picnic sites;

play equipment; walking and bicycle trails; eight sand volleyball courts; outdoor amphitheater.

Fee: $3

Website: http://cityofvanc...

Sun worshippers frolicked Sunday at Frenchman's Bar Regional Park on what was the busiest day in years at the Columbia River spot.

"I'm ready for it," Jenni Freeman, 23, said of the bright sunshine. "It's kind of an extreme skip from the rain. The rain a week ago to 90 now."

It felt like 90 but the National Weather Service said the mercury topped out at 88 at Vancouver's Pearson Field.

Freeman was playing catch with her boyfriend, Ryan Amrine, 24.

"I love the sun," Amrine said. "It's so beautiful out here in the summer, so green. Makes that rain worth it."

Nearby on a park bench, Ray Gatlin, 63, and his wife, Iris Sadove, 64, of Portland were taking a break from their bike ride.

"I'm not taking vitamin D. I'm getting it," Sadove said. The native New Yorker has lived in five states and said she thinks the

Northwest has the best climate. "You can deal with the rain," she said.

Waiting for a volleyball game, James Meushaw, 35, of Vancouver announced, "We are happy to be here and we will not complain about how hot it is." His girlfriend, Nataliya Garasimchuk of Vancouver, was soaking up sun next to him at 3:25 p.m.

More than 500 people paid $3 per car to get into the park.

"This is the busiest I've ever seen it," said Briana Bristow, park fee collector for Vancouver-Clark Parks and Recreation. She said she's worked at Frenchman's for the past four years and said most warm days draw crowds of about 300.

Nick Fandell, 33, of Vancouver said he and friends were at Frenchman's because, "Wintler Park was packed."

That park is also on the Columbia River.

He said activities for the afternoon included, "Throwing the Nerf Ball, a little Frisbee, just hanging out with friends, the quintessential summertime … finally."

His buddy, Bryan Smith, 29, of Vancouver was easy to spot with his 10 tattoos.

He said his favorite is the one on his left side that says "Braydin" for his 3-year-old son. Another large work memorializes three friends who died in accidents.

He said the art on his back represents a guardian angel.

"I let him (the artist) do his thing. It took two days, about 22 or 23 hours."

He's also got an M tattoo for his mom.

Looking around the park, with his girlfriend, Ashley Morgan, 24, at his side, Smith said, "This is nice, man."

Fandell offered, "I'm single and a Taurus."