Our Past | 1986: British family visits Waterville wheat harvest

Selected by Karen Larsen
Empire Press Correspondent

These excerpts come from an article about an English family that came to Waterville to experience the wheat harvest. The article was published in the Aug. 14, 1986 edition of the Waterville Empire Press.

English Couple Has Chance to Experience Wheat Harvest

An English couple and their two children have been able to spend a month in Washington state seeing many sights and experiencing things many natives never have a chance to do.

The couple, Ron and Judith Caunt of Ulverston, England, swapped houses and cars with a Mill Creek couple and have spent their holiday, as the British call a vacation, touring the state.

They were able to experience the wheat harvest in Douglas County thanks to their temporary next door neighbors Guy and Janet Riegel.

Guy is the cousin of Camille Viebrock and Carmen Nelson and Janet is Susan Coonan’s sister. Both of them were raised here in Waterville and now Guy is executive director of the Agriculture and Stabilization Service for Snohomish County.

Guy and Janet thought it would be interesting for them to see how wheat is harvested, so called upon Denny and Camille Viebrock and Carmen and Neil Nelson who responded immediately with an invitation for a tour, dinner and overnight stay.

Last Saturday the Nelsons and Loebsacks were harvesting by the Viebrock place, so the Riegels and the Caunts drove over. Everyone was able to ride in a combine and a wheat truck if they wanted to. They also toured the area to see the vast fields of wheat that surround Waterville.

Ron said he was very impressed with the harvest although it was easier to ride in the combine than it was to stand and watch as Saturday just happened to be a very hot day with temperatures ranging in the 90s.

After their stay in Waterville, the Caunts were planning to return to Mill Creek via the North Cascades Highway.