Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Seattle to Grand Coulee Dam on Route 2

Marianne has a forum friend who lives in Yakima and we were invited to spend a night at her house. By the way Yakima is pronounced Yak-i-ma, not Ya-keema.

My father was a civil engineer and worked for Queensland Railways but his real passion was for dams. I noticed on the map that with a detour we could go and see one of the world's largest dams, the Grand Coulee.

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We headed out on Route 2 East towards the mountains. We who live on the east coast have a tendency to say west instead of east when we head away from the coast when we are on the west coast. Since it was the start of the Labor Day long weekend, there was plenty of traffic but not enough to slow us down too much.

The pass over the mountains. The Amtrak train line runs parallel to the road.

On the west side of the range, grass was green. This would change after a while.

Marianne was going 'hog wild' with the camera so there are loads of photos taken through the windscreen. It took quite a while to crop and adjust them on the computer. 

Eventually we reached the other side of the range and the hills became brown. I would have to say that drive on Route 2 was one of the best I have ever done. After a while the traffic thinned out a bit and I could enjoy driving around the curves.

Our host had mentioned to us that when he was young the area east of the mountains was just a desert. Irrigation changed that and the region now produces vast quantities of fruit. It is now a large wine producing area.

 It was much hotter east of the range. It was in the 70's back in Seattle but over 90 in this area. Naturally the humidity was much lower in this desert climate. We were glad to have our bottles of water even though the water became warm after a while.

Tractor making dust.

I don't what the local term is but in Australia we would would use willy-willy for these small tornadoes.

Electricity towers. We had to be getting close to the dam.

The Columbia River down stream from the dam.

Finally, the Grand Coulee Dam. To be honest it wasn't as high as I thought it would be. No doubt if I was at the base and looked up I would have been more impressed. The Hoover Dam is much more impressive, probably because of its height.

We stopped at a lookout point above the Columbia River on our way down to Yakima.

The river below the dam is a playground for power boaters. We did not see any sail boats or house boats which seemed a little odd.

It was a long drive to Yakima but the scenery was spectacular. That drive on Route 2 had to be one of the best I have ever done.

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