Grand Coulee Dam
We left the fairgrounds about 8am. happy to be gone. There is going to be some sort of car race function and the place is crawling with racing types. The guy next to us talked on his cell phone ‘til 11:00pm. He really didn’t need the phone. I’m sure whoever he was talking to could hear him without the phone. Also there was some sort of preliminary thing so there was loud racing much of the evening.
Drove east on Washington route 2 toward Wenatchee, right through the heart of Washington’s apple growing area. Lots of apple trees. Other fruit as well. In the middle of the area is a small town called Cashmere. Town is probably unknown to most but something that is made here is VERY well known. A block off the main street is a small building that houses a two room candy factory and a store. The factory is where Aplets & Cotlets (and varieties of the same) are made. All the Aplets & Cotlets you have ever seen or eaten were made in this small building. We tasted (and tasted) the free samples and had a tour of the production area. It was a weekend so we did not see candy being made, just the equipment. We then tasted some more samples [ :) ] and had to buy a selection from the source.
Back on the road to Grand Coulee. Passed endless fields of wheat, far more that we ever saw in Kansas. This area is a far cry from the ancient forests we left two days ago. It is rolling, dry landscape that is periodically cut by rivers. Sometimes the rivers flow through steeply sloped canyons with strips of very fertile land at the bottom of the canyon. The apple growing areas are this kind situation. Not the huge, wide orchards of California’s central valley. Other times the canyon walls are vertical and may run for miles. The reservoir behind Grand Coulee Dam is several very long fingers of water instead of a broad lake.
We found a RV park only three blocks from one of our favorite Mexican restaurants. The park isn’t much but it has the basics AND one other perk – a shuttle to the dam to see the laser show. We spent some time in the afternoon computing and then went to dinner. The restaurant is called La Presa. It is clean and neat without a lot of Mexican frufru decorations. Just good food. One thing I really like to see in a Mexican restaurant is a plate of food that has obvious different items on it. Sadly, there are many places where everything on the plate runs together and is pretty much the same color. You sort of take their word you are getting what you ordered. La Presa’s meals have distinct items, don’t run together, have color variety, and large portions. And the plates are huge and covered. Last time we were there we asked for our customary pitcher of frozen margaritas. They told us they did not serve by the pitcher but they did have several sizes of individual servings. We said we would each like a large. They looked at us a bit strangely and asked if we were sure as the large was pretty good size. We assured them large would be fine. When the drinks arrived we understood their concern. The glasses were probably quart size or better. About half a pitcher per drink. Guess it intended to be shared. We were fine with them as the amount was about what we normally got. And the margaritas were very tasty. No change this time. Got the look and the concerned question. We told them we had been there before and knew what we were getting into. Still big and very good.
Back to the carbus to wait for shuttle time. The shuttle left before sundown so we could spend some time at the visitor center prior to the show.
Here is the view of the dam from the visitor center.
Grand Coulee Dam is a mile wide and Lake Roosevelt behind it is over 150 miles long. Every night during summer a laser light show is projected on the dam. The dark part of the picture above is the spillway. Normally it is dry as water is going under the dam through the three power houses. Just before the show the gates are opened. The water flowing donw the dam provides a white screen for the show. The show is not limited to the spillway area though. At times there are lights dancing from one of the dam to the other – one mile.
Here is the dam after dark with the spillway still closed.
Here is the dam with the spillway running.
Some shots of the show.