Friday, March 19, 2010

Eastern Washington Meanderings

Topographical maps have always fascinated me. I find wonder in the idea that the lines and contours of the earth are able to be transferred to a two dimensional "picture" I can study. Today it would have been wonderful to have a topographical map to look at as we traveled the blue highways of the northern areas of Eastern Washington from Republic to the Methow Valley where we are now nestled in at the Chewuch Inn, in Winthrop, for the final two days of our mini vacation. But let me return momentarily to Sleeping Lady Resort and share a few images I captured there to remember our time spent among the whispering, long needled pines. Can you see the sleeping lady lying along the crest of the mountain? She's a little difficult to make out but once you "see" her she's quite clear. We bade her farewell, not unwillingly, when we found that the resort was to be the site of a meeting of about 200 trial attorneys for the next 3 days! The energy would certainly have been different that when we shared the entire place with a delightful Feng Shui practitioner who was there in Leavenworth to help a couple site a new home they will be constructing!
I wanted to share the image I captured of part of a spectacular glass sculpture, created by Dale Chihuly and his team of glass blowers and installers, specifically for the view of Icicle Creek that it overlooks from the top of a granite boulder. I loved this detail of the light showing through the more than one thousand "icicles" created by the glass blowers. We left Sleeping Lady sure we will return there for another quiet retreat. But now we know to ask with whom we will be sharing the facility!

Peter wanted to see Grand Coulee Dam on this trip and so it was to that direction we headed
through some of the most stunning scenery. I don't do well when trying to describe incredibly beautiful scenery ... suddenly adjectives seem irrelevant or wrong somehow. I will allow a few of the images to speak for themselves.We traveled east around
Wenatchee,took the road north and then east to Coulee City.

Between Coulee City and Electric City we passed the famous landmark of Steamboat Rock state park: we were unable to determine just what it was in
this monolith that caused it to be named for a steamboat!

On up
the eastern shore of the huge lake created by the dam, pausing for lunch at Electric City ... we shared the bar with a wonderfully colorful group of locals gathered to have lunch at the Electric City Grill. It was around 1pm when we had lunch there ( not choosing either the Breaded Gizzards or the Bar Kicken' Broasted Chicken!) and we were a bit nonplussed to see a woman sit beside us, order a "vodka and seven" and watch the young waitress pour at least 2 1/2 ounces of vodka into the glass and a tiny bit of "seven" ... 7-up! We were reminded of our good fortune in life. Electric City is not a place either of us would have chosen in which to live. Grand Coulee Dam is certainly grand and impressive to see. Photos that we might have taken wouldn't do the mammoth structure justice. Only a small trickle of water issued from the dam and as we have seen every place on this dry side of the state, the water levels in the lakes appear to us to be very low.

Driving on through Wilbur to Creston,
we found the wonderful piece of folk carving pictured here beside a restaurant that was shuttered and abandoned. Turning north our route took us alongside the huge Roosevelt Lake ( created by the Grand Coulee Dam) to Gilford where we crossed the FREE ferry to Inchelium and from there north on a brilliantly constructed road to the point where we joined Highway 20 westbound to Republic. The scenery along this drive was diverse and so beautiful - and we found Republic to be a very interesting town and the motel we chose spotlessly clean and comfortable. Republic at about 3,500 feet was crystal clear air and very chilly.

At the Tamarack Cafe we partook of a splendid pizza and engaged in conversation with a delightful group of sophomore and junior high school students, from the local school. We were amazed at their willingness to chat with us and even more amazed when the mobile phone of one rang, and she got up from the table and went outside to answer and have her conversation!!!!

Breakfast next morning at the Sportsman Cafe was as enjoyable for the conversation we had with the locals as it was for the good rural food.
Before leaving Republic we ventured into the local thrift shop where just about anything you could want was available: we paid for our 2 teaspoons and a wonderful down vest and packed and were on our way.
Wauconda Summit on the road to Tonasket was quite snowy, and beautiful, on both sides but the road clear and dry. Meandering waterways we saw along the way were varyingly snow embellished and there was certainly more snow on that pass than any we have traversed. Driving over Loup Loup summit was also very snowy but the scenery spectacular and we virtually had the road to ourselves only rarely seeing another vehicle as we drove down into the stunning Methow Valley: it was almost six years ago that we were here for 4th of July celebrations.

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