September 9, 2005
Our first day was pretty much a travel day just getting out of the populated areas. We had the truck hooked to the fifth wheel and were ready to roll when we got up. We pulled away around 7:30 AM and hit the road. Traffic was bad when we first started out but it soon cleared up. If only the weather would have done the same thing! We drove in rain from Kirkland to almost Ellensburg, about 90 miles, then it cleared up. Eastern Washington always has dryer weather than the Seattle area because the Cascade Mountains wringing the moisture out.
Interstate 90 took us straight east across the Cascade Mountains through Snoqualmie Pass which is 3022 feet high. It's a beautiful area with several ski resorts which were not running, thank God (no snow). Just beyond is a large reservoir, Keechelus Lake, which was almost empty. We've had a long dry summer and it's really taken a toll on this reservoir.
When we crossed the Columbia River the wind was howling. At Wild Horse Monument, just up the hill from the bridge on the east side of the river, we stopped to check the view. Our best guess was that the wind was blowing somewhere between 40 and 50 miles per hour. The view was spectacular despite the wind trying to knock us over.
We stopped at a small rest stop near Schrag, Washington in the middle of the Palouse country and had lunch. The Palouse is a beautiful low rolling hill farm area that is really quite beautiful. There was a big article in National Geographic magazine that said there was no place on earth like it. While it looks a lot like some of the farm lands in the Midwest it truly is different. Here's a picture of Interstate 90 heading east through the Palouse.
As we got closer to Spokane we started to see the long needle pines and the hexagonal columnar Basalt rock formations that define the area. The rocks in this area have always been a nuisance to the farmers until landscapers discovered the neat shape of these hex shaped pillars. Now the farmers harvest the stones and make more money then they did on their crops.
We (Ken) cut it a little close on gas and we filled up in Spokane. We tried to make it to Idaho where the gas would be about $.25 cheaper but decided that there just wasn't enough gas to go the next twenty miles. We managed to put 32.5 gallons of gas into our 30 gallon tank, close enough! Gas was $2.96 per gallon so our first fill up was over $95.00.
At Coeur d'Alene, Idaho we headed north on highway 95. It's a two lane road that has many wide passing areas especially designed for all the logging trucks in the area. It worked great for us because we don't push it very hard and like to let everyone go around us. Forty five minutes later we were in Sand Point, Idaho, a pretty town that has really grown up. We were on a roll so didn't stop to see the sights. We snaked our way around the north end of Lake Pend Oreille and headed straight for Island View Trailer Resort.
The trailer park is on the lake and has a lot of long needle pine trees. They have a small group of docks on the water to tie your boat to. The most surprising thing was all the deer. They were all over the place! They were white tail deer and there were a number of fawns. The people that live around here have really high fences around their gardens to keep them from eating everything.
After a walk to the lake, a nice steak dinner and a relaxing evening we hit the sack.