Anthony’s on the River
The Peacock Bar, Davenport Tower
Where To Next?
Now our plans are much more fluid. We are a few hours drive from Seattle. We could drop south to Tacoma or we could go directly to Canada and visit Victoria and Vancouver. We remembered to pack our passports which are necessary to cross back into the US from Canada. I’m not sure if Canada requires that we show our passport. Not that long ago a valid driver’s license was all it took to visit Canada.
Ellen just mentioned getting past the Cascades sooner rather than later. The weather now is comfortable to warm afternoons. She may be concerned that the weather could change making Snoqualmie Pass difficult to dangerous. Though an abrupt change in the weather is not likely, there is more to see and do around Seattle and Canada than here in Spokane. The state park and smaller campgrounds mid-state are (mostly) closed. We’ll push on.
Cog Moose “driving” Washing State
While some cities are fighting their scooter infestation, Spokane appears to have embraced it. There are white and lime green electric scooters parked all over downtown with more cruising by on the sidewalks. I almost tripped over one parked facing the street. Shouldn’t they be parked along side a building and not taking up half the sidewalk? An article about this: Lime Bikes & Scooters. Here’s one rider’s experience: Not Ready for Prime Time.
Flat Ancient Lava Fields West of Spokane
Spokane to Bellevue
There is nothing to be seen in eastern Washington west of Spokane. The interesting landscape of mid-Idaho gives way to a vast plain covering half of the state. Nothing. But knowing that vast plains indicates vast lava flows in the geological past, I found the landscape fascinating. More to the west the plain gives way to undulating hills, then the Cascade Mountain Range.
We could see a Gorge, “What’s This?”
And an Overlook Walkway
The Wapanum Dam below the I-90 Bridge holds back the Columbia
I-90 follows the Columbia River for a while then crosses a bridge near Vantage Washington. East of the bridge, the Wapanum dam holds back a massive lake that floods a dramatic gorge. The Columbia River (or perhaps a glacier, or both) cut this gorge through the lava layer eons ago. We stopped at an overlook to soak in the view.
Dates are Scratched Off, Someone wrote “Information Aversion” in answer!
I assume whomever scratched off the dates on the above plaque is a “fundie” who believes the earth is 6,000 years old and will have none of this “millions of years ago” scientific mumbo jumbo. Sad, though perhaps understandable. It is easier to discard what doesn’t fit into a world view than to critically analyze that world view. “Don’t bother me with facts, I know the truth.” must make life so much simpler.
Resistance has its Rewards? RESIST!
Approaching the Bridge over the Columbia River
Ginkgo Petrified Forest State Park
This is a geologically fascinating area. The Ginkgo Petrified Forest in the Wanapum Recreation Area near Vantage could be fascinating to visit. We stopped by and walked an interpretive trail that had excavated some 22 trees: there were Ponderosa Pines, Walnut, and Ash in the seven we saw. The trees are in a shallow grave under a few feet of lava and practically no topsoil. The petrified forest looks to be huge, though very little has been uncovered.
Twenty Two Excavated Trees on the Interpretive Trail
Before we reached the petrified forest, I thought we were in a vast plain created by an ancient lava flow. My reading about the geology and volcanology of Yellowstone made this seemingly apparent. Finding the petrified forest confirms my suspicion. That vast plain of nothingness may hold geological records of times past buried within.
The petrified forest has a variety of mummified tree types. Unfortunately, steel grates are necessary to keep tourists from hacking parts of the tree off for a souvenir. We didn’t do the full 22 tree tour and stopped at nine or so.
Walnut, Close Up
A Furry Friend, Close Up
Though fascinating, the Ginkgo State Park is also barren, desolate, and uninviting. It’s a good place to stop for a while, not so good for an overnight or a few days camping.
The central Washington State plain gives way to undulating hills that gradually go uphill and lead into Snoqualmie Pass in the Cascades. The grade going east to west feels moderately steep. I passed a number of trucks who had passed me in the hills. Once through the pass, the downhill grade goes on seemingly forever. I’d guess it’s nine miles downhill. For some reason, traffic for the Auburn exit was backed up three miles. At that point I-90 was four lanes wide. The exit lane was at a stand still. I moved into the 2nd lane from the left to be safe. Sure enough near the exit there were people in the 3rd lane at a stop trying to break into the exit land (effectively barging the exit traffic). Past the Auburn exit, there was no backup and light traffic. In the east going direction traffic was heavy. I glanced at the artery the Auburn exit fed. It was a mess. What happened or what is the event that caused such a seemingly inexplicable delay!
We’re Following Peak Foliage Color West!
Nine Miles of Construction
All Downhill From Here!
We were headed to downtown Bellevue. I hoped to see Microsoft’s campus and to visit the Bellevue Nespresso shop for some “mail in” recycle bags. (our used coffee pod collection is becoming unmanageable). As Ellen does, Ellen researched campgrounds ahead of arrival and spotted a small campground on a lake, Vasa Park Resort, in Bellevue. She called a few times and got no answer. We decided to drive to the park “to see”. Taking exit 13 from I-90 in Bellevue, I was faced with a narrow road and traffic. The lane in my direction was mostly flowing nicely. Traffic in the other direction was backed up. This was a novelty I had not seen since leaving the Bay Area. Civilization is great, but has its flaws.
“Make Hay”, Glad he turned off
A few miles up, the road ran along a lake and there was our turn-in. It was a tight turn past a partially open pair of gates. I pulled to the side, parked, and we headed to the office. We could see a few motorhomes down by the lake though the park/campground seemed mostly deserted. We walked in to find Susie sitting behind a desk. “No, we’re mostly closed for the winter. The soil gets soggy by the lake and we’ve shut off the water. I don’t have anything for you.” We were not surprised, but a bit disappointed. Susie said, “let me call around and see what’s available” We thanked her for doing this and waited while she called. “Yes, the campground in Bellevue just down i-90 has sites available, but I don’t feel right sending you there. They want $50 for the night and they are right off the freeway and don’t have a view.” I said, “that’s ok if that’s all that’s available” Ellen didn’t look happy, but was willing to move on. Susie said, “Well the water is disconnected, but I could give you a site here.” Ellen, “Oh, we’ve done without water a number of times this trip. We’re fine without water” Susie, “take number 16 down by the lake. It has a beautiful view. Go just past the laundry room with the blue door there , oh the door is probably open, just go past and you’ll find 16.”
Vasa Park, Bellevue, WA.
“Home”, Sheriff’s Swift Water Rescue trailer and SUV in Background!
Wow, Susie didn’t have to do this. She could easily have sent us on our way. We thanked her profusely. Ellen launched into a description of our trip to pick up Li’l Beast in Connecticut during the worst winter in the last decade. -7F temperatures and us with a motorhome and nothing more: no dishes, blankets, towels, or food. Susie described visiting Minnesota in the dead of winter with –10F temperatures without wind chill and –30F with. I think being understanding in situations that are inconvenient to us serves our interests far better than being demanding, or whining, or upset. As much as we had wanted to stay, we knew it was Susie’s decision and treated her with respect in spite of her initial, “No, I have nothing for you.”
We walked around Vasa Park (it is quite small) then settled in. We have 20 amps, not 30, and that’s ok. We have no water hookup, and that’s ok. We have a wonderful site on the lake in Bellevue. What more could we want. There’s a skeleton sitting at a picnic table across the way. He’s just sitting there waiting for Halloween.
The park and campgrounds are deceptively vacant at this time of year. Susie chuckled when I asked if they fill in the summer. “Yes, we are full every day”. “Do you take reservations?” “It is the only way you’ll get a site, call well ahead.” And we will when we head back to Yellowstone next fall.
For a day that was mostly blasting through some miles, today was informative, fun, and rewarding in a very understated way. Blasting is not the right word. I used cruise control set at 60 mph. I let the world pass me by as I cruise along with no need to adjust my speed.
Ellen cooked a very yummy dinner tonight: sautéed peppers and mushrooms with one of the sausage cheese frittatas. It turns out the frittata is more like falafel with a heavy dose of dukkah spice. There is some sausage in there (little) and no cheese. It was great with the veggies. We had just a bit of the Baily’s Cream Cheesecake. Wow. If you’re in the Spokane area visit Europa Restaurant and Bakery for their desserts. We did not eat there and cannot make a recommendation regards dinner or lunch, but… if their meals are anywhere near as good as this Baily’s Cream Cheesecake, well we will eat there the next time we find ourselves in Spokane.