I’m not sure when I first met George Ing, but it was many, maybe 25-30 years ago, not sure where it was, but probably at a swap meet. Needless to say the discussion started with antique cars and then drifted into fruit growing. George was the manager of a large fruit orchard in White Salmon, WA, that was owned by a group in Seattle.
During the discussion George invited me and Mary to come up for a visit. Somewhere along here Del and Mary Nell entered the picture. I don’t remember how. Anyway, during our visit the discussion turned to a visit by the club to the orchard. A date was set and I put the plan together to take the club for the visit. Arrangements were made for some qualified drivers for large vans. George had several vans available from the orchard and these were the vans to be driven.
When we arrived at White Salmon we were loaded up in the vans for an extended tour of the orchard. Included was a visit to a large guest house in the orchard used by the owners of the orchard. We also visited a “test” orchard that George had established to experiment with various fruits. At the end of the tour of the orchard we partook in a lunch by George and Muriel. At the end of the tour George had prepared many sacks of fruit that was placed on a ledge around the manager’s house, which we were allowed to take home with us. A great time was had by all. (Anyone here tonight that was on that very first tour?) More about that later.
The tour to Ing’s became an annual thing for many years.
George had saved up a goodly sum of money, some of which he made by traveling the world holding seminars on growing fruit. He invested this money in an unbelievable mountain location on which he built a mansion from the large timbers used in abandoned sawmills. As the home progressed in completion George started the movement from White Salmon to the new house. George had several antique cars and trucks which he had stored in Gaston Oregon. As the storage buildings were completed at the new location George approached me about moving all his cars from Gaston to Hood River. I needed help to do this and found Jim Schoffstoll as my helper. It took us many trips, but the task was completed in a reasonable time. George was very happy with our movement and as a result offered me the job of maintaining the cars/trucks we had moved to Hood River. Again I called on Jim to help me on this project and we accomplished this for several years. During this time we continued the annual tours up to George’s place.
This was a very active time for large tours to various places. While on an All Cal tour I received a phone call from Lee Wilcox advising me that George Ing had died. A very sad day. We returned in time for the service for George and many members made the trip to Hood River.
This was the end of the tours to visit with George, or was it?
Several years went by without any contact with the Ings. One day Mary and I were passing through Hood River and had some spare time. We decided we would drop by the Ings place and pay a visit. We pulled up in the driveway and found a “Young Life” session in full force. Melissa saw us in the driveway and rushed out to greet us. We had a great visit and at the end I had the nerve to ask about the tours we used to do. Melissa responded with a resounding YES and we started to make plans for the tours again. To help me with the parking and placement of the cars Jim Schoffstoll joined my team again in this job.
The tours have continued for several years with me leading the tours for probably 30 years. I have varied the tours as much as possible and have finally run out of fresh ideas. Now back to those people that made the first tour to White Salmon. If you made the last tour in October this year you have attending my first and last tour. I am passing the Apple core over to Jim who will now be the tour leader for the Ing tour. Jim, if I can be of any help, just ask.
~ By Ray Holland
Ray and Mary Holland have been active members of the Columbia River Region of VCCA since 1975. Over the years they have led a number of tours for the club. They have also participated in a number of national Four Cylinder meets and the National VCCA meets.