I’m out to prove that it’s a big dam country.
This morning started out rainy in Duvall.
Made the first route call based on which dam I wanted to see. Grand Coulee, very cool, very big, but I’ve Seen It.
So I chose a new (to me) dam whose name I liked. Priest Rapids Dam near Desert Aire, WA.
But first there was the pass to get over. Bleh. Heavy rain, massive road spray and Washingtonian’s who can’t seen to figure out that if the wipers have to be on double march maybe turning on the headlights/tail lights would be a good idea. The rain turned to sprinkles around Cle Elum and stopped around Ellensburg.
First dam of the day — Wanapum Dam on the Columbia River north of Beverly WA. There’s nice interpretive center featuring exhibits about the Wanapum culture.
There’s also a picnic area and this odd remnant bit of a generator(?) There is a ton of red/silver tattle tape on thin wires strung across the river just down stream of the dam. Have no idea what for…
Down 243 to Desert Aire. Ummm, what can I say. The Realtor on the billboard outside of town would like to sell you a place in Palm Springs too bad he’s in Desert Aire. Had a passable ham and cheese on rye at the Sandtrap Lounge and started out for the next dam.
Unlike Wanapum you can’t get past the first gate at Priest Rapids.
I got a bunch of shots from near the gate and then headed back up the hill to the highway.
Stopped at the top to catch a few more and got the fright of a lifetime. Buzzed — low — by this.
(Click on it to see a much larger version — What Was That??)
He flew over going east, rolled up long the hill line and came back around. Buzzed me again. Headed to the hills and slid up and over and back down out of sight. Criminy. Maybe I shouldn’t be taking unauthorized dam pictures…
Trundled down 24⁄240 through Hanford — that’s a desolate stretch of land. Scary signs too.
At Pasco I had to make a decision. Start on a tour of Hwy 12 by heading down to Wallula. Take 124 east through Eureka and Prescott to hit 12 at Waitesburgh. (no point in that one) or head up the Pasco-Kahlotus road and try to find the Lower Monumental Dam on the Snake River. It’s a long lonely trip up that way… So that’s what I did.
Knew I’d made the right choice when I managed to get this shot by just stopping in the middle of the damn road.
To get to the dam you make a right turn in the middle of nowhere and fall off the edge of the earth into a canyon.
There are lots of these odd blocks of rock.
Whee. There’s a nice little park (and privy) near the river. Not much to the photos though. The road across the dam is now closed and you can’t get to the down river side at all.
Arrived in Kahlotus and made a right turn onto 260. Made another right in the middle of nowhere onto 261 and headed to Starbuck. Here I learned two things.
1- GPS don’t consider cardlock fuel stations to be gas stations and do not show them in their lists. Panic!!! The nearest gas is in Connell? 35 miles west(!)of here? Feh. Not to worry because:
2- Every little teeny burg in the west has a cardlock and they all take credit cards. And they only have 87 octane, off-road diesel, and on-road diesel. I did not have the nerve to ask the guy filling the road grader with off-road diesel if that was legal.
Okay and a third thing 261 is one of the best unknown roads I have ever been on. Long gentle sweeps with awesome views and some seriously wicked twisty bits that make your lunch ask for a ticket on another bus.
From Starbuck a left onto Hwy 12 and I’m headed into the last hour of the day. And the first cop. Me, I’m doing 62 in a 60 and nod politely as he goes by the other direction. La, la, la. WTF he’s in my mirror with his blinky lights going. Crap — there’s no one out here but me. I pull over. He pulls over. Dude pops right out of the car so fast I’ve barely got the window down. “License, registration, insurance.” I’m completely clueless where this is going. “Where’s your front plate?” Oh bother. I fumble something about I never got one from the seller and yes sir I’ll look into it just as soon as I get home. Some more lecturing and then “I’ll just give you a warning.”
Catch and release. I guess.
Saw signs for two more dams that I’ll have to grab some other trip. The Little Goose Dam and the Lower Granite Dam.
Did find this little oddity. The pillar is obviously hollow and the little vent fan on the top was merrily spinning in the breeze. What exactly it is signaling and to whom I do not know…
Time to quit for the night… Besides it was starting to rain again.
I thought you were doing this tour on a BIKE! 🙁
“Oh bother!” said Poo, as he stuffed the next severed head into the burlap sack… ready to hurl the lot of them over the edge of the damn, into the rolling waters below.
that was an intruder. vietnam era bomber and elint aircraft. (see flight of the intruder). 260 to 261is the best stretch of road in central WA and well known to the WL CtS crowd. you should’ve taken the lower granite dam. it’s open until 5p on fridays and you can cross it.
highly recommend the spiral hwy!!!
Um — while the State of Washington has seen fit to issue me a license to commit 2‑wheeled mayhem that does not mean that I am actually capable of said. But it’s a really cool car. (Hangs head in shame.)
Depending on where the little silo/shack could be a radio nav-aid. There are a gazillion of them in the back of beyond — of various kinds — and some of them have wind and/or solar back-up power.
Gooz is on the right track. It’s the current 4‑seat electronic jamming/radar killing version of the A6 Intruder: the EA6B Prowler. The whole west coat fleet of them is based in Oak Harbor on Whidbey Island.
Eastern Washington has some surprises that is for sure! I have a place in Desert Aire, near Mattawa, and we see the jet’s doing practice all the time, its pretty cool. Check out more info on the area at; http:/www.desertairetoday.com
Thanks for the post, looks like you were riding in style.
I’m of two minds about approving these sorts of comments. Gwen included a link to a pitch page for the development. On the other hand the stuff in the History of Desert Aire section is pretty interesting. So here for your use is a link to the interesting bits. http://www.desertairetoday.com/desert_aire_history.php
I reserve the right to change my mind about approving comments from people I don’t know.
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