My friends David and Tina spent the day helping me move a truck to the east side of the state.
It's common for the clouds to really bunch up here at Mt Washington, just past North Bend.
There is a belt along the western edge of the Cascades that is a rain forest like you can see in the Olympic Mtns. (Hard to tell from the highway.)
Past Mt Washington, the clouds loosen up a bit. Dirty Harry's Balcony (named after a bad logger, not Clint) is the hill straight ahead.
The first mile of the trail up there is an old logging road that is so washed out it's like walking up a rocky creek bed.
But it has it's charms too. You should ask me about them - it's a good story.
Westbound I-90 looks more dramatic on a cloudy day like this.
At Snoqualmie Pass, the day is looking brighter. Guye Peak looms large, but it's just the big toe of Snoqualmie Mtn.
A few miles past the pass, patches of blue sky appear.
Nearing Thorp, between Cle Elum and Ellensburg. I looked over my shoulder to catch a glimpse of Mt. Stuart (in the clouds on the left).
Looking ahead towards Ellensburg, it's a beautiful sunny day. "Keep right except to pass" is a reminder we all need occasionally.
What is that thing? A barbeque or smoker?
Before Ellensburg there is a place where a portion of the Yakima River is beside the highway. Water levels look high right now.
Which makes me wonder, maybe we could try a guerrilla launch from here. Have the rafts inflated and somebody else drive the RV...
Still hours of driving ahead until we reach Spokane.
Looking down Canyon Road in Ellensburg. The highway to Yakima snakes up the hill on the left. Yakima River Canyon, which will also take you
to Yakima, is the notch in the hills to the right of the road. We stopped at the gas station here.
Back when you used to see these things all the time they were usually beat up and filthy because they were owned by hippies who weren't into clean.
It's kind of nice to see one tricked out and looking immaculate.
Approaching the Columbia River Canyon. Where the winds are almost always blowing.
The bridge at Vantage (the town to the left).
I sit up and grip the steering wheel tight when I cross this bridge. Ever since the time my van got hit by a sudden gust of wind so strong it jerked the wheel
out of my hand and for a second I had no control while travelling at 65 mph towards the barrier. That woke me up.
A quick look up the river. Didn't realize it until now, but you can see the little town of Sunland Estates from this bridge.
Someday I'd like to buy a little house there, because it's a perfect place to go after a concert at the Gorge Amphitheater.
We stopped at the scenic overlook.
The Columbia River Gorge. Quite impressive.
When travelling east, the scenic overlook includes one of Washington's best display of outdoor art. Wild Horse Monument.
Apparently all the money went into the sculptures, and not a dime was spent building a trail up to them. These user built trails are rough.
Definitely not wheelchair accessible!
I like how it seems the horses are running up and stopping before this young family.
As you get closer you can see they are three dimensional. Not just flat cut-outs.
Yeah, a bench to sit on might be a nice addition up here too.
So much movement built in. Very nicely done.
The lead horse, overlooking the gorge below.
Cropping pictures into a panoramic style works well here.
The little town of Vantage in the background.
The lead horse has some extra decoration, very pretty. Just like Tina!
Walking back to the parking lot.
Back on the road. Around the corner we will be out of the gorge.
And right into farming country.
There are lots of miles with no facilities. The signs do a good job of letting you know where the rest areas are.
Every trip I try to get the perfect picture of this old barn. Maybe next time.
On any road trip, the mile markers play a huge part in my driving experience. For example, this doesn't look anything like where I'm going.
But since there is a 202 mile marker, I'll tell myself something like this: "I'm at 202, but I need to exit at 270, that means I have 68 miles to go.
If I were doing 70mph I'd be there in under an hour. But since I'm doing 80 - heck, I'm almost there!"
Or to pass some time away I'll try to calculate exactly how many more minutes it will take to reach the exit. Mental games help the miles roll by.
I think a 100mph speed limit would work here. Or how about an Autobahn lane with no speed limit! Have certain zones where you can merge in/out.
When I see evergreen trees popping up again I know I'm getting close.
Not so many fir or cedar trees like the west side, it's mostly pine on the east side.
There is a little road on the strip of land between Willow Lake and Granite Lake and it's close to my place. Someday it will make a nice bike ride.
In Spokane I'm amazed when I see massive locomotives up in the air like that.
Spokane has an interesting skyline. I like how they still have lots of brick buildings. Unlike Seattle which has an "out with the old, in with the new" philosophy.
Good sandwiches here. People with classic cars like them too. The temperature was in the mid 90s and we were happy to sit outside to eat.
On the drive home. A clump of trees in the middle of nowhere is how you can tell where the farm houses are.
The next several pix were taken by David in the passenger seat. Thank you!
I think I can tell where five farmhouses are in this picture. And one of them is miles away!
Or is that furthest speck a silo? Where there's amber waves of grain there is usually a silo nearby.
One of those country roads that goes from one end of the county to the other. And maybe through the next one too.
Looks like the horses have a big stack of hay for the winter.
David really wanted to catch Bob's Cafe in a picture. He got it! Hmm, did I just figure out the ML logo - does the white triangle symbolize the moon?
A popular bus stop in Seattle will have a rain shelter built there. Here in Moses Lake they have a picnic table and shady trees. Sweet!
A fine picture of a fine machine. I like how the blue sky is reflecting off the chrome and paint. (Look at the front hub or mufflers.)
A good day for boating on Moses Lake.
Sunflowers getting watered.
A sign at the westbound Columbia River scenic overlook.
They didn't just build a trail on this side, they paved it!
Tina enjoying the magnificent view.
A wildlife sighting! (On a volcanic looking rock.)
Crossing the bridge again. If you can see tiny houses and trees at the far end of the river, that's Sunland Estates. (300+ days of sun/ year)
Vantage has a park with a fountain on the riverside. Those roads to the far right look like prime 4-wheeling. My map says just drive thru town!
We're cruising along great, just past Thorp, when BAM, a traffic jam to go over Snoqualmie Pass - over forty miles away! Kept expecting
to see a traffic accident, but there was none. This is the day me and Tracy made facebook comments about the lousy traffic.
Rugged Mt Stuart is out of the clouds now.
Was expecting to be home by now. Still not over the pass.
At Snoqualmie Pass the highway opens up to four lanes, it's downhill, and the traffic just disappears.
Clouds are swirling around Guye Peak and Snoqualmie Mtn behind it.
Nearing North Bend. It looks like once we're out of the mountains we'll have a little sunshine left in the day.
We drove a little under 600 miles today, and it was big fun.
- for more pictures return to -
- to home page -
© 2012, by Robert Baker. All rights reserved.
Personal use okay. Except friend pictures, you have to ask them first.
Contact firstname.lastname@example.org with questions or comments.