Sunday, 2 January 2011

Trip to Washington and Oregon, October 2009 Day 9

We were getting close to home now. The Washington map was dug up again and we picked a route. It would be nice to visit our dear old friend Linda on the way home, so we aimed for a border crossing that would take us past Greenwood, B.C. The most logical place was Osoyoos, back on Highway 97. The day started out like the photo below.
 I like to document the river crossings. Traveling through Central Washington one is bound to cross the mighty Columbia at least once. Below: the bridge between Wasco, OR and Goldendale, WA.
The picture has no artistic merit, but that's what it looked like.
As far as we could tell we were traveling through hilly desert, with the odd patch of irrigated pasture or orchard. We were resigned to not seeing much that day, but the skies cleared near Yakima. Driving into the Yakima valley from the South was very different from the other approach. A mellow agricultural valley surrounded by deserty ridges. If Mount Adams was visible from that angle it was hiding today.
On the way down we had taken the canyon route from Ellensburg to Yakima, this time we took the high road. Both choices were just right. First some more desert.
Remember we live in forest country. Open desert is a treat.
Coming into Ellensburg from Manastash Ridge you get some splendid viewpoints.
And on the other side of the valley we find....surprise.....More desert!
We wanted to cover a bit of new ground instead of just following Route 97 North, so we turned East at Ellensburg, direction Vantage. At Vantage one has to cross good ol' Mother Columbia again.
We didn't stop at the petrified forest there. We saw it years, nay decades ago on a trip with the kids. We cut North-East over a corner of the agricultural plateau. Past Ephrata to medicinal Soap Lake, and on to Lake Lenore.

This is a fascinating area. We swam in Soap lakes years ago, on that same trip with the kids. It is weird sticky mineral water, supposedly with medicinal qualities, that is easy to float in. That time we had come from the baking oven of Moses Lake and Odessa. The great municipal park on the beach was a welcome oasis. This time it was just a place to stop for lunch and use the facilities.
On to spooky Lake Lenore. Even if it is fresh water in a parched land, there is something about that stark landscape with its black rocks that creeps me out. I would never pick it as a vacation spot, but if I lived in Moses Lake in August I'd gladly go for the day!

Just before we hit Electric City and the Grand Coulee Dam we turned onto road 17, straight North. This took us through some farm country and some ranch country and eventually past the Chief Joseph Dam back onto Route 97.

The fruit belt looked quite different in the gloomy weather. Any pictures taken were sacrificed the next day to make room for views from above Osoyoos. Anyway, we found our old spot from day 1 on the Okanagan River in Tonasket and settled in for our last night.

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