Friday, April 24, 2015

Three days in Soap Lake

So what’s been going on.  Well Tuesday we did the ride to the Grand Coulee Dam and that was good, Wednesday it got cloudy and cold and today it was much the same.  Rats….we’d hoped to do a few more rides on the bike while we were here but….that’s the weather for you. 

Yesterday we drove into Ephrata which is about six miles away and picked up a few things at the Wal Mart.  When we got back Eric decided to go for a short bike ride and ….I opted out.  I went for a walk instead. 

Today…still cloudy and cold so no ride.  Eric loaded the bike as we are leaving for Kelowna tomorrow, I did the laundry, he road his bicycle and that was that. 

I did have a soak in the hot tub before dinner and it was nice.  I also mentioned that the park has a new owner and there are many improvements and upgrades being made.  I will make no comment about the park while it is being redone as that wouldn’t be a fair evaluation.  We like it here and will stay again in the future. 


That’s us up the road.IMG_3589

The new playground equipment by the lake. 

A pretty spot.

Tomorrow …Kelowna and it looks like we could hit rain.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

A ride to the Grand Coulee Dam.

It cooled down and was “really” windy overnight. 

This morning it is still windy and cool but at least it’s sunny.  What to do….what to do. 

First off lets talk about the “Smokiam” RV Resort.  The name was apparently changed to an Indian word that is supposed to mean healing waters in the Colville Indian language.  There was a push to rename the lake as well.  Apparently the bid to change the name of the lake failed and it remains Soap Lake.  In my mind Smokiam is  just an unattractive name and….who’s to say the Soap Lake Resort ..a.k.a. as Smokiam RV resort won’t fail again. A big tadoo about nothing.  

So….after lunch we geared up for a motorcycle ride.  Once again without heated jackets we wouldn’t be able to ride at this temperature.  When you are whizzing along the highway at 60miles an hour it’s a lot colder than standing still.

IMG_3554  This link talks about the scenic corridor from Omak, Washington to Othello, Washington.  Soap Lake is at the south end of the Grand Coulee Canyon and we are going to ride up it to the Grand Coulee Dam. IMG_3555

Lots to look at as you ride along. IMG_3556

That’s Lake Lenore on our left as we head north. IMG_3557

Blue Lake is now on our right.


That’s Dry Falls off in the distance.

We continued on through Coulee City and then north along Banks Lake towards the Grand Coulee Dam.


There must have been a lot of blasting to put a road through this mountain of rock.  IMG_3561

That is Steamboat Rock off in the distance. For the history of the geology of the area read this….

Banks Lake is still on our left.  It was created when the dam at Coulee City was constructed.IMG_3563

Coming into Electric city.  IMG_3564

Here just as you enter the town of Grand Coulee you can head east to Wilbur on 174 and then continue on Highway 2 to Spokane. IMG_3565

Grand Coulee.


Grand Coulee Dam. IMG_3568

When we were here a couple of years ago there was a huge amount of water being released….not today. IMG_3569

Just past the dam you enter the pretty little city of ….Coulee Dam. IMG_3571

The town was created in 1933 as a headquarters for the construction of the Grand Coulee Dam.  It was sold to the public between 1957 and 1959.  Immaculately kept and pretty as a picture on the west side of the river.


Over the Columbia River and here we turned around to head back.  You can continue on highway 155 on a scenic route to Omak Washington.  We did that a few years ago but there was a blinding rainstorm and we didn’t see a thing!


Eric thought we should take a look at some of the State Parks and see if we wanted to stay at a future date. IMG_3576

Here we are parked at a Steamboat Park boat launch….illegally!  In all of these parks you are only supposed to enter if you have a Discovery Pass.  $10 a day or $30 for the year.  IMG_3577

Hurry up Eric….we might get caught in here. IMG_3578

Riding into Steamboat Rock State Park.  Turns out there was a free day sign posted so we don’t have to worry about getting fined.  It all seems ridiculous if you just want to have a look. IMG_3579

See that big cut through the rocks….a huge prehistoric waterfall at one time. IMG_3580

The Arrow leaf Balsamroot is in full bloom here.  IMG_3582

A beautiful big state park with full hook ups and over 300 sites. The water at the edge is the Devil’s Punch Bowl which is an inlet on Banks Lake. IMG_3584

Back on the highway heading home. IMG_3585


Lots of farming here and small calves are everywhere. IMG_3587

Coming down from Dry Falls with Park Lake on our left. 

At this point we had a look at Dry Falls State Park.  Not as pretty as the Steamboat Rock State park but nice. 

So….a good day and home by 4pm. 

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Meridian, Idaho to Soap Lake Washington

The little pile up of markers at 4 on my map are where I have to encourage Map Point and the GPS to travel the route I want to go.  They both think they know better!  We like to travel the east side of the Columbia River and we travel from the Stanfield exit to get to the Columbia Highway on “Kathy’s Bypass route!” 

> Mainmap

We left Boise/Meridian about 8:15 am yesterday and it was sunny with no wind.  Tuesday had looked like the best day to travel as Wednesday had wind in the forecast and …..we hate wind!


Hooked up and ready to go. IMG_3523

Looking toward the exit from the park and the flag is limp….just the way we like it!


Heading down to the Snake River just before Catfish Junction which is just south of Huntington.  Fellow RVers Croft and Norma have stayed at the Catfish Junction RV park and liked it.  IMG_3527

South of Baker city.  We’d like to stay here some time but….it’s usually too cold. Right now….unusually warm. IMG_3528


We fueled up in La Grande.  Onward to Deadman’s Pass and then Cabbage Hill.


It is 17C ….we usually pass through this area at just above freezing….7C would be a more usual temp.  Just lovely!IMG_3531

Coming up and over towards Pendleton and we are sharing the southbound lane as we head north.  The northbound lanes were closed for about 15 miles as they repave. IMG_3532


Back onto our two lane northbound lanes and we share it with a truck carrying hay. IMG_3534

Over the pass and heading down Cabbage Hill at a steep 6% grade. IMG_3535

From Idaho north there is smoke everywhere.  It is coming from wildfires in Siberia with a little dust thrown in from China.  You couldn’t see the hills in most areas that we passed through.  It affected Washington, Northern California and Oregon.IMG_3536

Down from Cabbage Hill and heading north through Pendleton, Oregon.  This is one of the worst areas for wind….today….none!IMG_3537

Pendleton is worth a look sometime although we usually just pass through.  IMG_3538

Leaving Pendleton.   I carefully cleaned the windshield when we fueled up in LaGrande but the bug hatches splattered us along the way. 

At Stanfield, Oregon we left I 84 to head north on 395 and then onto my shortcut on South Edwards Road north to the Columbia River Highway.  


South Edwards is a rural farm road that is an easy shortcut.  Here we see Bison. IMG_3540

Pretty. IMG_3541

And then a herd of belted Galloway cattle a very old breed that originated in Scotland. IMG_3542

  Very distinctive.


Heading along the Columbia Highway. IMG_3544

Stopped for lunch.  You can’t see much downriver because of the smoke. We are either in Oregon or Washington here…close the to the border. IMG_3545

Looks like there is nothing past that spit of land but it’s just the smoke. IMG_3546


Once again….pictures of the geology.  IMG_3548

It is a very interesting landscape….at least to us!IMG_3549

Green here as well. 


You can see the pulp mill in the distance.  Stinky.  IMG_3552

An old stone bridge no longer in use.

We left the Columbia highway, travelled north past Othello,Washington  stopped for fuel in Moses Lake and were into the Soap Lake Resort about 4:30pm.  A long day but we had no issues which is a good thing. 

The Soap Lake Resort is now the “Smokiam” RV Resort and is under renovation.  It has another new owner with big plans and you can look at their website if you are interested.  We booked three nights for $45 with our Passport America discount. 

A very windy night.