Route 20 through the northern cascades is amazing, and somehow we had more beautiful weather today. One sign we saw labeled this part of the country the American Alps, and I doubt its much of an exaggeration.
Our goal for the day was to cross the rest of Washington, and land somewhere near Lewiston, ID, where we have an appointment at a motorcycle shop to change rear tires tomorrow morning.
Coming down out of the mountains into Winthrop was like riding into a western movie set. The town almost didn’t look real, like you could just walk around the building fronts and not find an actual building. We stopped just east of this gas station at a grocery store to re-stock so we would have enough food with us to eat in camp for the next several days.
Continuing east, the landscape in eastern Washington turns to desert. This is the part of the country where you can find the nations largest hydroelectric projects. First up for a quick visit was the chief Joseph Dam.
This one turbine uses more water than just about all the hydro we’ve done, and there are 27 of them in use at chief Joseph, making something like 2.6 GW.
The next stop was Grand Coulee, which makes almost 3 times the power.
It was also pretty hot at this point, so we didn’t linger to take photos. Instead, we cooled off in the air conditioned visitor center for a few minutes before continuing east.
We stopped for a quick, late-afternoon break in Colfax, WA. Many towns have a little park or memorial, often memorializing a war, veterans, or possibly a notable person. Colfax has this:
I also noticed that my tire wasn’t going to make it as far as we’d thought two days ago.
That’s pretty bad. My rear tire was basically toast at this point. Fortunately, we were within about 50 miles of where we were getting new tires. I rode pretty carefully (and not over 60 mph) the rest of the day, and it held out.
We ended the day by crossing over into Idaho and riding through Lewiston looking for a campground.
After striking out in town, we crossed the river into Clarkston, WA (get it? Lewis and Clark? They are really the same town, right on the state border), and found a decent spot at the Chief Timothy State Park. The spot would have been a lot nicer if it weren’t for the large extended family that showed up after us, and set up camp on all sides. They were really noisy, and carried on long into the night. Kevin got up at 1am and politely asked them to quiet down, and they did (I’m very proud of how polite he was at that point). Tonight wasn’t the best nights sleep of the trip.
7/27/2012 – 368 miles. Its best just to hurry up and get across eastern Washington.