20110918

Grand Coulee, Washington, 9/13 9/15



Our site at Steamboat Rock St Park (nice!). Buck mule deer out for an evening stroll (cool!).

See the little red arrow? It's pointing to Jimmy on his bike at the base of this huge basalt mesa. Gives perspective! Another gorgeous sunset.


Dry Falls, south of the dam and our campground. And the story about Dry Falls.

We wanted to visit Grand Coulee Dam on our way south. First we picked a site at Steamboat Rock St Park and it was a fine site, tho I doubt it was worth $36. Washington St Pks have become expensive... so we elected to only spend two nites here. We biked around the whole area a couple of times and hiked into "the bush" in search of ducks on Lake Thompson. As soon as they saw us, all the feathery critters flew to the far (inaccessible) side of the lake - phooey! We did spy California quail and lots of mule deer. Coyotes yip-yip-yipped that first nite, always an attention-getter. They left lots of tracks and scat, too. Jimmy grilled one of our last pkgs of Yellowstone River trout from the freezer that nite. Maybe coyotes can smell delicious dinner aromas when they trot past hours later?

The next day we visited Grand Coulee Dam on the Columbia River, run by the (Federal) Bureau of Reclamation, and joined a (free) tour, inc a trip across the top of the dam. Looking over the edge to the water below invites vertigo and a "good grief!" reaction! I took pictures, but the dam is SO big, it overwhelmed all my photos. You can look it up online if you want to learn more. I will say it's a gravity dam... and it's the big daddy dam on the Columbia River. Generates lots of watts. We returned to the Visitor Center that evening to watch a really interesting film about the creation of the coulee (see website below). At 8:30 pm, a laser light show followed on the dam, backlit by water released along a wide stretch of the dam. We had a great day here. Managed to get two wks worth of laundry done at a local laundromat, too!


A few miles south of our C/G is Dry Falls St Pk, and we stopped there when we left on the 15th. We now know a lot more about Glacial Lake Missoula than we did a few days earlier... all fascinating natural history stuff. As we drove on toward Potholes St Pk, where we hoped to stop for the nite, a haze seemed to hover about the hills and mtns... and when we arrived at Potholes that afternoon and opened the RV door, a heavy smoke odor smacked us between the eyes. We couldn't stay. We drove west, now into a fierce headwind, and later than we like to be "on the road," finally crossing 'ol Columbia River again to stay at Wanapum/Ginko St Pk (we were here last May). We sought refuge from the wind which howled all nite, glad to be settled. We spent a comfy nite in Tergel overlooking the beautiful Columbia.


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