Spokane Valley, Washington

 We drove 376 miles yesterday (give or take) and stayed at a KOA in Spokane Valley, Washington. Originally, we thought we might go all the way to Coeur d'Alene, Idaho, about 30 miles east. Then, we thought better of it. An extra 30 miles today sounded better than an extra 30 miles at the end of such a long haul the first day.

We drove out I-84 through the beautiful Columbia Gorge National Scenic Area. To our jaded eyes (having traveled this road approximately 3 million times), there is nothing to see except trees. However, I did hang my head out the window long enough to snap this image of Multnomah Falls. The image is not very impressive. You'll have to take my word for it, however, that the falls are definitely worth a trip should you ever find yourself in Portland.

Trees pretty much line the road on both sides until you reach Hood River, Oregon, where the landscape starts to clear out. There's a wide place in the river here that is well known for its windsurfing. 

You may recall images of John Kerry windsurfing here during the 2004 presidential campaign. Here's one of the more iconic images of Mr. Kerry.

When you get to The Dalles, Oregon, the landscape is almost devoid of trees, and becomes much more arid.

The Dalles has an interesting place in Oregon history. You can read more about it at that link I've given you.

There is a lot of wind power here too. With such flat land, the wind does blow.

We stopped at a rest stop here to give the kitties a skritch and stretch our legs. Gracie seemed pretty comfortable. We found her sleeping on the bed. Smitty was a little more freaked out and was hiding behind the bed. Recall that the last time he rode in the trailer, he got chased by some bad woofies when he jumped out of the door unexpectedly. Believe me, we're being super careful when we open the door this trip. (Smitty wrote a blog post about his excellent adventure there at that link I've given you.)

And because we're really roughing it when we go camping, we made ourselves some espresso while we were stopped,

and snacked on the pile of cherry tomatoes I picked just before we left.

We crossed the river into Washington around Umatilla, Oregon

The bridge is less than thrilling there,

but you can get a good view of McNary Dam as you cross over. There is lots of hydroelectric power being generated along the Columbia River.

You cross over again near Kennewick, Washington, although this is an area where the river sort of loops back on itself. It heads north in Washington, and ceases serving as the border between the two states.

From there you can look off in the distance and see this really swell modern bridge. (We like bridges as much as we like tunnels.)

From there we traveled up US 395/I-90, which is at the edge of The Palouse. (You can read about previous travels through the heart of The Palouse right here. We traveled along seeing idyllic little farms like the one in the image below.

I posted the image below to Facebook and told folks you'd have to be crackers to live here. Ha! (Sorry to put you through that again, Facebook people. I'll warn you to close your eyes next time by saying, "Caution: Bad Joke ahead." It was really too good not to say it again, you know.)

When we travel through these little towns, I like to pull out the AAA tour book to see if there's any information about the place. The town itself isn't all that remarkable except for the fact that it is just south of the area known as the Channeled Scablands. This is actually quite interesting (to me, at least). I watched a documentary program about it once. This is an area that was essentially denuded of all of its topsoil during the cataclysmic Missoula Floods that occurred when an ice dam burst during the last ice age. If you have any interest in geology, you'll enjoy reading more about this area at that link I've given you. 

When we started getting into the landscape more representative of the "scablands", we stopped at a rest stop to try to get a picture of it. It's an area better seen from the air, but I can show you what we saw. Look to the left, and you see this:

This is just below the town of Sprague, Washington. That's Sprague Lake in the picture. Look to the right and you see this:

I took a panorama of the area, but these end up fairly small. Remember that you can make the image larger by clicking on it.

What I really wanted you to know about the landscape is that it is yet another take on the shapes of valleys and how their formation determines their shape. Valleys formed by rivers are V-shaped, like the Grand Canyon. Perhaps you recall that when we traveled to Glacier National Park in Montana, I showed you how valleys formed by glaciers are U-shaped. Here's an image to demonstrate what I'm talking about:

They look a little as if they've been scooped out with an ice cream scoop. By contrast, in the scablands, the valleys are rectangular in shape, characterized by steep walls and deep flat floors.

We were fairly close to Spokane at that point, and we continued on to our the space we reserved at the KOA before we left home. And there, I was delighted to meet up with Kate, who blogs at Katie Mae Quilts. Kate and I met up just for fun. She was so helpful in giving me information about quilt shops and road conditions in the area, that I repaid her kindness with a jar of pasta sauce.

You can tell which one of us is Kate. She's the one who doesn't look like she's been sticking her head out of a moving car taking pictures of the landscape.

She brought along her two energetic little men, William and Russell (Russell is the one on the right). Russell is just about to start the 4th grade. William, at age 2, is the one who keeps Kate's days from ever being boring. Kate also gifted me with one of her NewFO's for August, this cute cat quilt. Take a look at that fabric that says "I love birds." She couldn't be referring to anyone in my family, could she?

It was great fun meeting up with one of my bloggy friends.

And after Kate & Company left, we had dinner and pretty much collapsed. It had been a long day, and we were hungry and tired.

Smitty wanted me to end by telling you that he wasn't "freaked out" as I reported earlier. In fact, he wanted everyone to know he'd been in Spokane, and so he snapped this selfie.

Oh yes, I included this picture of us traveling alongside the train (sorry about the glare) to remind myself to tell you that campgrounds tend to be built in one of two places: along the shoulder of the interstate, or along the shoulder of the railroad tracks.

During the evening, we could hear a far-away train whistle (horn...whatever), and we congratulated ourselves for choosing a park that wasn't too close to either the freeway or the train. Ha! Around 9:00 the real train experience came when a train rumbled through not 50 yards from where we are. And let me tell you, it was loud and long. Approximately one hour later, it went through again. We wondered if it was going to go through all night long, but we didn't hear it again. I'm not sure if that was because it didn't come along, or because we were so tired we were sleeping like logs. In any case, I just wanted you to know that the freeway/train track rule still applies.

Before the day is out, we will have traveled in three states. And with that, it's time to get moving.

14 comments from clever and witty friends:

Kate said...

See, this is why I like your travels. I knew we have a ton of lakes because of the glaciers, but I didn't know about the Scablands. Fascinating! And it was so nice to meet you!

Kate said...

You made a lot of progress yesterday. Love seeing your pictures. We've been to parts of Oregon and Washington, but not where you were yesterday. Thanks for sharing. Safe travels today.

gpc said...

As always when you travel, I am filled with envy . . . but happy for you. :)

Cathy said...

I remember one time camping right beside railway tracks. I can't remember if we didn't know they were there, or if we just didn't think much about it. Well, hubby and I and our 2 kids were sound asleep in the middle of the night, when all of a sudden we were all woken up by what sounded like a train horn heading right into our trailer. It took us all from sound asleep to wide awake and sitting up in our beds and ready to run!! It's one of the memories that we all still talk about.

Vroomans' Quilts said...

Love traveling with you - the photos are terrific.

ana-ane said...

¡¡Ooooh!! Barbara creo que tus vacaciones van a ser un regalo para mi, me encanta USA y con tus viajes haces que yo disfrute como si fuera el tercer pasajero de tu caravana.

El Quilt que te ha regalado Kate es muy propio para ti.


Valerie Reynolds said...

What a wonderful adventure you had. Thanks for sharing!! (as an Oregon resident myself I can esp. enjoy the beauty of the places you showed)

Brown Family said...

Beautiful photos. Thanks for letting me travel along!

Lyndsey said...

Great photos. I'm off to find our large atlas as switching between the map on google and your blog is exhausting. I knew I should be better organised for my armchair road trip with you.

Tami C said...

I've been enjoying your trip so far and I didn't have to stick my head out the window to see it all!

Dana Gaffney said...

I think the waterfall is lovely in the first picture, even the highway pictures look so pretty to me with those mountains in them. Keep them coming.

Diane Wild said...

Wonderful images. Keep those kitties inside. Didn't the train shimmy and shake the trailer?

kc said...

I always love traveling along with you and seeing all the sights, and you're so kind to provide the history and geology of the areas you see. The Dalles sure had a long & interesting history!

Thanks for the sacrificial hair-do, it's really not as bad as you might think, and the pictures are sooo worth it!

Our very first workamping adventure was in Branson, MO, and the train came over a bridge and 'round the bend, then RIGHT BY our site, not 25 yards away. Yeah, we didn't know it at the time, and it was up on an overhead embankment, but when it came screeching through at 2 am, we were absolutely terrified! Eventually, we got used to it, but we never did get over the tornado siren, located on the same little embankment. Happy & safe trails and tails!

quiltzyx said...

My house is quite close to train tracks and TWO crossings. There is at least one engineer who blows the horn/whistle from one side of the first crossing until the other side of the second one! Makes it tough to hear the TV sometimes. But since heavy (full) trains shake my mobile home, I don't usually notice any of the smallish (3.0 & less) earthquakes anymore.

As usual, love all the travelogue & pics along the way. You take such good care of us!

When I clicked over on the Dalles link, I noticed that there is a newish breed of cat that originated on a farm there, the LaPerm! Here's a link for you: