August 11-21 2008: West Coast US Tour

Central Washington

This year's summer holiday was  a 2 week road trip from Victoria to way of Salmon Arm!  The idea was to take the coast as much as possible, enjoying the scenery at a leisurely pace and hopefully make it down to Southern California to see my brother.

Turns out 2 weeks is not nearly long enough to make it all the way down there if you want to enjoy the drive.   Rather than rush it, we took our time and turned back in Northern California - leaving lots of terrain to explore some other time.

No summer holiday is complete for us without a visit to Osoyoos, if there's any way we can swing it!  The above is our campsite right on the lake at Nk'mip campground, still one of my favourite summer fun campsites although it's getting kind of expensive these days.

From Osoyoos we headed south to cross into the US at Oroville WA.  I always pay close attention to the road, as this photo shows, when I have not driven it before.

Having never really been to Central Washington, other than very briefly transiting it about 18 years ago, I wasn't really sure what to expect.  Probably more or less the same as souther BC.  Not so.  It was a really surprising place, and in a good way.  We had hot weather and total sun, which is no doubt the way to experience this landscape.  This was taken at the Chief Joseph Dam.

As I said, the landscape is very different from southern BC!

Roads like this make me want to explore.  Biking it would be great., but you better pack a lot of water since it's hot and there are very few towns.

This and the next photos were taken at Dry Falls on the Grand Coulee.  We came across this by complete accident - just picking a road that looked like it was a bit of a shortcut as we wound our way down to Portland.  It's over 5km wide, 120m deep and has a very interesting story behind its formation.

Taking the road down into the Coulee was pretty cool.   I had no idea such a large canyon existed in WA.  This kind of scenery went on for several km.

We got a tip from a local for an unmarked campsite near Yakima.  Not bad - right on the river!

Hills like this have always made we want to hike up them.  At Cheryl's suggestion, we climbed one that was across the road from our campsite (that's the van down there).   I'm really glad we did since the view was phenomenal!

This was looking north up the river.  Nice place to have a vineyard, I'd say.

Dry, treeless mountains are very cool in my opinion.  Seems like you'd have endless hiking or mountain biking potential.

Glee due to the possibility of being the first person up this hill (this week, maybe).

Next day, we followed the road south through the Yakima river valley.  Very pretty drive.  So much nicer than blasting down the interstate although much slower.

Getting close to the Oregon border.  We crossed the Columbia river a couple of times, including at this bridge.  

I think we're in Oregon at this point but that's Washington across the water.  I like how there are vineyards where the slope is gradual enough to allow for it.

Train tunnel right through a rock.  Nowhere else for it to go, eh?

This was getting close to Hood River, which seemed like it would be a very cool place to stop and explore.  It's a windsurfing/sailboarding mecca and they were out there enjoying the strong steady winds when we went past.  But, we decided to keep moving to Portland for the night since we have friends there that we were looking forward to seeing.

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Central WA


Oregon Coast

Northern CA

Port Townsend