Such amazing scenery! We have travelled from Seattle to Canada many times before but never have we come this way—it is highly recommended! We selected this route in anticipation of 1) enjoying the sunshine of Eastern Washington and #2) seeing the Grand (emphasis intended, as Alan keeps reminding me) Coulee Dam. What we didn't anticipate was the beauty of the drive from Moses Lake to Grand Forks.
Starting out in Moses Lake, we hopped on the “Coulee Corridor” (Scenic Drive Movie coming soon!), Highway 17 North toward Soap Lake. The beauty really does start at Soap Lake—driving through the coulee (which Alan learned is an ancient river bed formed by melting ice from the Ice Age) is quite impressive. Just open, rolling hills above you as you drive near the bottom of the coulee—it’s like driving through the bottom of the Grand Canyon but on a smaller scale. A must stop is Dry Falls, and you all know me, I am not fond of tourist-y stops, but it really is something to see. (It is filmed as the ending of the Scenic Drive, but the light was getting low so I don’t know how much of the grandeur made it through the lens.)
After all this natural beauty, the Grand Coulee Dam, although enormous, was a bit of a let-down for me. It is not pleasing to the eye like Hoover Dam, having at least four different sections with variable-looking concrete finishes. Not pleasing to the eye at all. But the Visitors Center is worth a stop to see all the photos from the 1940’s and the equipment used to build the behemoth.
After that man-made marvel (ahem), we set out along Highway 155 north to Nespelem where Simon (our GPS unit) directed us onto a questionable looking road: The cut-through to Highway 21 (cuts through the Colville Indian Reservation.) This stretch was sketchy—a nice road, but this time of year it held a bit of ice and snow so it was slow going. But I love, love, loved the area leading out of Nespelem: So gorgeous with their soft amber hills beautifully defined by the occasional copse of pine trees.
Once we joined up with Highway 21 North, it became quite tree filled (i.e., can’t see much) until you leave the Reservation, then you are treated to some of the most gorgeous river-side farm land I have yet to come across. There is not much in terms of services up this way, so make sure you have a full tank of gas when you leave the Grand Coulee Dam area.
Our second day (Coulee City to Grand Forks, B.C., Canada—my homeland!) we drove 120 miles, arriving around 3:00 p.m. at the Victorian Motel and RV Park, whose highway-front sign promised, "The most friendly staff.” They did not disappoint (although try finding an unfriendly Canadian! Even the border patrol was nice.) The water is turned off at the pitches this time of year but the electricity, showers and bathrooms, as well as the fly-fishing store, are open year-round.
Since we left Coulee City with a full tank of water and an empty grey tank (yes, we are learning! See Carpe Diem posting) we were good to stay with just electricity. We pulled in (over the ice and snow berm), turned the heater on, took the dogs for a short walk (along the Trans-Canada Trial in which Alan refuses to believe--yes, despite signs--won't he be surprised by that link!), then returned to a toasty Salt for sun-downers and chips to celebrate Salt's foray into a foreign country.
I do love my homeland. I’m just saying.