Tuesday, June 5, 2012

WASHINGTON STATE

Seattle Space Needle


Seattle offered another opportunity for a little reunion of World Cruisers.  Alan flew up from Colorado to join us in visiting Bob and Infa.  We had a wonderful 3 days together.  Since Alan had not been to Seattle before, we had to see the Space Needle (built for the 1962 World's Fair) and go to Pike Place Market -  not a great idea on a holiday weekend!  




 Bob, Infa at their beautiful waterside home with Alan & Ron



On Memorial Day, we dropped Alan at the airport and headed to Woodinville, Washington for 4 days at the lovely Willows Lodge, a luxurylink package. 
Alan, Geri & Alan
Gardens at Willows Lodge"
Unfortunately, the weather wasn't great (we were still in the Pacific Northwest), but our accommodations were beautiful, nice little town, lots of wineries (they are everywhere!) and great walking paths.  







The climate changed when we crossed the Cascade Mountains into the Wenatchee Valley, "Apple Capital of the World."  The area boasts 300 days of sunshine and 9 inches of rain (Seattle has 37). 
Our suite at Willows Lodge




Ohme Gardens overlook Wenatchee Valley
The town of Wenatchee sits at the confluence of the Wenatchee and Columbia Rivers.  Yes, we are back on the Columbia River.  From its source in Canada, the Columbia runs 1,214 miles to Portland, Oregon and the Pacific Ocean.  




There is a wonderful view of the town, the Cascade Mountains and the river from the Ohme Gardens, an alpine rock and flower garden situated on a bluff overlooking the valley. 
Wenatchee's 10 mile walkway along the Columbia

 Ohme Gardens
Rocky Reach Dam 
Fish Ladder at Rocky Reach Dam
There are 11 dams on the  Columbia River in the US and 3 in Canada.  We visited the Rocky Reach Dam while here.  It has a fish 






bypass tube allowing young fish to continue their journey to the sea.  It also has a fish ladder for mature salmon to return to their spawning ground. 

Grand Coulee Dam
Banks Lake
Next stop: the town of Coulee Dam to see the Grand Coulee Dam.  The building of the dam began in 1933 under FDR.  It is the biggest dam in North America, one of the largest concrete structures in the world,  and the largest hydropower producer in the US.  It supplies power to 11 western states.   
Basalt cliffs


Dry Falls
Dry Falls


Building the dam was a godsend for the area.  It employed 7,000 people and turned an arid landscape into more than ½  million rich, fertile acres.   Today the Columbia Basin produces everything from A-apples to Z-zucchini, and more potatoes than neighboring Idaho.  The Hoover Dam is higher but Grand Coulee is more than 4 times as long.The dam siphoned off part of the Columbia River to create Banks Lake.  We drove the 30 mile stretch between Coulee City and Coulee Dam alongside the lake.  The scenery is magnificent.  As we learned in Oregon, this area was covered in lava millions of years ago – 3 miles thick in some places.   The glacial floods caused by water breaking through the ice dams of Lake Missoula carved the cliffs and riverbed, the canyons and the coulees.  Coulee means ravine or deep gully.   One of the most amazing remnants of the Ice Age is Dry Falls, so called because there is no water.   However, it was once the greatest waterfall in the world.  14,000 years old, Dry Falls is 3½ miles wide making it 5 times wider than Niagara Falls as well as  2½ times higher. 


SIGNS WE'VE SEEN ALONG THE WAY: People say I have a bad attitude.  I say, screw 'em.