Saturday, June 2, 2012

Grand Coulee Dam Area

image(Jan) We were on our way from Seattle east when our Pressure Pro alerted us to a low tire on our tag axle. Chuck discovered a 3/8 inch bolt had been driven into the face of the tire. He removed it and plugged it. That got us over the pass but soon we were losing air again and it became apparent that a new tire was in our future. Actually two new tires. The size that was on our tag axle has been replaced with a different number/size so we drove into Wenatchee to find a a truck place that could help us. TDS fit the bill; they had what we needed. They were out the next morning to replace the tires and get us back on the road.

Later that afternoon we stopped in Manson on Lake Chelan to see our buds Diane and Jim. They were busy moving a storage shed on their property but had time to visit. We enjoyed a great Mexican dinner together downtown and then visited some more back at our rig.

036(Chuck) We had planned to take Highway 2 across the Northern region of the US on our Eastward journey. One of the highlights scheduled was the Grand Coulee Dam and it was well worth the visit. It is a gravity dam built on the Columbia River . It is one of the largest cement structures in the world and the largest power producing facility in the United States . It was completed in 1942 and is also a source of water for agricultural irrigation. The visitors center was a good experience, in addition, a little WWW research was very helpful.

While we were at FisherBakers, Jim mentioned that we should be sure to stop and see the Dry Falls . He briefly described the Lake Missoula and the events of 12,000 years ago. While in the area, we learned that Coulee means loosely “dry watercourse”. This is one of the largest known and is the Grand Coulee . The dam actually sits at the North end of the Grand Coulee . There is a story here and it is worth looking up to understand it well. In short it goes like this: Between 17 and 11 million years ago there were huge lava flows that engulfed 63,000 square miles of the Pacific Northwest.image These deposits were up to two miles thick. During the last Ice Age a sheet of ice up to one mile thick moved South into the area. One of the leading fingers of this ice sheet dammed the existing Clark Fork River and formed what has become known as Lake Missoula . This lake covered a significant part of Western Montana . Several times in history this lake burst through the ice dam and flooded and reformed again. Dry Falls is the remains of a gigantic waterfall that dwarfed present day Niagara Falls . Dry Falls is 3.5 miles wide and has a drop of over 400 feet. Several hundred feet of water made this plunge over the falls. It is estimated that the flow of the falls was ten times the current flow of all the rivers in the world combined.

We are deviating from our Highway 2 route tomorrow. We leave Post Falls, ID (Cabelas) and will go South and follow Highway 12 through Idaho to Missoula, MT. Bruce and Dee recommended it as a great journey and I am sure it will be a good route.


BJ said...

I was so excited to see your post today. I use to live in Grand Coulee and Electric City. I use to walk across that Dam five days a week for exercise. That was before 911 though. When I lived there, you could go down inside the dam. There was like a museum in one of the rooms... So interesting about the building of the dam. When I lived there they had the light shows but they weren't like they are today. Still beautiful though. I loved living in Eastern Washington. Even though, I have lived most of my life in the Pacific Northwest, I love the desert. Thank you for sharing your pictures with us.

Margie said...

We have taken that route several times. Really like that country. Have fun, safe travels.

Nancy said...

"ten times the current flow of all the rivers in the world combined"!!! Thanks for the amazing history lesson. Loved the post and the photos, as always.

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