June 22, 2015, Wilbur, WA- The day started with getting laundry done, in Monroe, at one of the more expensive laundromats I’ve seen in a while. It uses an Easy Card, so the fare is purchased in advance, for laundry supplies, washer and dryer. I did everything in one load,as is my wont, when on the road.
I passed Travelers Park, before turning right onto Highway 2 East.
On the way out of town, I gave a short ride to three people, who my intuition said, correctly, were good risks. They had no interest in me, other than to know why I was here, from Arizona- a reasonable query of a stranger. Eight miles further, I let them off, at a place called Gold Bar.
My next stop, however, was a tough little town called Skykomish, which has about 500 people who still support a weekly bus service to Monroe and have their own school district. It was founded as a rail stop, by routing engineer John Stevens, for whom nearby Stevens Pass is named. This old building used to be Skykomish Hotel.
The rest of the town also has a frontier air about it, still.
I had lunch (leftover lasagna) at a picnic table facing the main street. Then, it was on to Deception Falls.
This popular trail, at the foot of Stevens Pass, offers the three cascades of Deception Creek.
Note the relative purity of the water.
The trees provide variety in the scenery, especially as they lean,
serve as springboard stumps,
or act as nesting pots for new trees.
or, still as a place to drive piles.
Meanwhile,back at the falls:
There was a plenitude of visitors, yet much of the time, I found myself alone, as most people gathered at two overlooks.
The road led next to Leavenworth, not the Federal prison, but the touristy mountain community, about forty minutes from Wenatchee. The Wenatchee River is a major comfort, for locals and visitors alike.
I stopped just long enough to walk along the river a bit, and to buy some coffee from a local grinder, Square 15. It was to be a gift for my friends in Reno. The faux Bavarian scene can be taken in small doses.
I stopped in Wenatchee,for about two hours, long enough to marvel at the clear air (compared to the smoke which brought me here in prayerful service, three years ago) and to enjoy a fine Hispanic-fusion meal, courtesy of two friends.
I shall send them some Arizona treats, very soon.
The rest of the evening entailed driving down from the central Cascades, and into the western edge of the Great Basin. Some outlying areas reminded me of the Great Plains. There are patches of desolation.
There is a worrisome dryness.
The coulees of the Columbia River, and its tributaries, provide irrigation water, regulated by a series of dams.
One of these is Dry Falls Dam, about a mile south of Grand Coulee.
No, that’s not a fresh-water dolphin, in the river above.
I settled in on a grassy patch, at a little RV park called Country Corners, and slept fairly well, except there was this event called Aurora Borealis, and my tired self couldn’t leap out of the sleeping bag and take a shot or two. Perhaps one or two of you saw it.