Crusin the Coulees of Central Washington - ClubTread Community

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post #1 of (permalink) Old 12-30-2007, 04:39 PM Thread Starter
High on the Mountain Top
 
Join Date: Jun 2004
Location: Beaverton, ON, , Canada.
Interest: Woodworking, Hiking, Backpacking, canoe tripping, motorcycle touring, fishing, etc. ...etc. living life outdoors is what it\'s all about!
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Default Crusin the Coulees of Central Washington

Well, ever since I blew out my left knee back on Dec 5,(suspected Class 2 torn ACL) I've been going a little 'stir crazy'. I am still awaiting a MRI, but that may be some time off yet!!
For the 1st week after treatment at Emerg., I was hobbled with a leg brace/crutches and was very uncomfortable doing anything, except laying in bed. After spending a week in that contraption, I was sure relieved when I could do away with that and get around on one crutch and taking it slow and easy. Still was a pain to go anywhere, especially at this time of the year, what with everyone in such a rush to get their gift shopping done.

One afternoon, I got a call from my US mailing address, informing me a package had arrived and I decided that seeing as the knee was on the mend a bit, I'd take a quick trip south, spending 48+ hours, so I could bring back my 'package' duty/tax free.

Temps looked quite reasonable, so I decided I'd sleep in my van and do a little bit of touring. I planned on stopping in Oroville to pick up my package and then head down the back roads and end up in the Wenatchee/Leavenworth area for the 1st night.
Leavenworth was in full winter holiday mode and I enjoyed the lights and people sledding in the central 'square'
The next day, I headed over to East Wenatchee and head along SR 28, past all the columnar basalt along the side of the highway, over to Quincy. From there I decided that seeing as it was such a beautiful day, I'd head over to Ephrata/Soap Lake and head north on SR 17 on what is known as the Coulee Corridor Scenic Byway

As soon as you head north from Soap Lake, the views are impressive. With the light skiff of snow adding highlights, you pass by Lenore(Lenore Lake Caves) and Blue Lakes, ending up this section of the road, at Dry Falls area of SunLakes State Park, on Park lake.










Once you come to Dry Falls, head right(east) along US Route 2, across the top of Coulee City Dam and then turn left(north) on SR 155 and head toward Electric City and the Grand Coulee Dam.
The views here are no less impressive, as you approach Steamboat Rock State Park, just south of the dam, on Banks Lake [8D]







This stretch of road is not busy and offers many recreational opportunities. I was checking out facilities for future trips this summer, that I'll take with my motorcycle. Looks like an absolutely lovely circuit.

I headed north on SR 155, after I crossed over the dam and headed to Omak, where I spent the night. The next day, I headed back toward the border crossing at Oroville/Osoyoos, by way of Loomis, passing by lovely Palmer Lake and following the Similkameen R up past Nighthawk and back into Oroville. I satisfied the border guards questions and was soon back home, delighted with this trip, after being couped up inside my apartment, for what seemed like too long a period.

Dusty

.... back at it! ....
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post #2 of (permalink) Old 12-30-2007, 06:11 PM
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nice photos Dusty

> Loomis, passing by lovely Palmer Lake and following the Similkameen up past Nighthawk

Do you have any photos of that part of the trip? The Silnahekin valley between Palmer and Nighthawk is a gorgeous area. And of course the Similkameen tugs at my heart.

So is highway 97 in good shape in the winter? I'm thinking of heading down to the Methow later this winter, and taking highway 3 in Canada, then taking the 97 down to the 20 looks like a better alternative than any others.

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post #3 of (permalink) Old 12-30-2007, 07:36 PM Thread Starter
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Sorry Seawall, no photos of that stretch. [:I]

The evening before, a new Low Front moved in, bringing snow showers with it, heavy at times and I was just putting along @ 40-50KPH, enjoying what scenery I could see, in between low visibility times, so the camera wasn't deployed. I only saw 4 other vehicles between Riverside - Nighthawk and one of them was a snow plow at one of the intersections near Lake Wannacut. I truly love exploring the side roads on the dry side. [^]

As for your planned route, I think that's a wise move as 97 is in good shape and the 2 nights I had heard that chains or all/4wheel/drive vehicles were required through the major passes(I90 # 2 etc)

Taking 97 to Pateros and then heading up the bottom end of the Methow would be another alternative to Loup Loup Pass on 20 if it's snowing.

Dusty
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post #4 of (permalink) Old 12-31-2007, 02:29 AM
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Nice photos! Too bad about your knee. Seems that everyone is busting their ACL these days.
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post #5 of (permalink) Old 01-05-2008, 03:40 PM
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Pictures with blue skies [:0]! Nice relaxed trip Dusty
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post #6 of (permalink) Old 01-05-2008, 11:11 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks Spunky, it was!
Gotta love the 'Dry Side' for it's uniqueness and stark beauty. [^]

Dusty
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post #7 of (permalink) Old 01-06-2008, 09:20 PM
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Nice pictures! Sorry about your knee! Great to see you out and
about. Now you have Time to get online or look at magazines for all that gear that's waiting out there to be looked at. [^]
Get better. What an interesting place!
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post #8 of (permalink) Old 01-06-2008, 10:29 PM
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Interesting area and nice shots. Those waters look cool. Thank you for sharing.

K
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post #9 of (permalink) Old 01-16-2008, 05:39 AM
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Cool TR! I've been curious about the Soap Lake area for some time..
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post #10 of (permalink) Old 01-16-2008, 06:44 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks Char.
Soap Lake itself is at the 'lower end' of the systems of coulees in Central Washington and as such, the lake is reportedly high in disolved mineral content, reputed to have 'healing powers'. The town of Soap Lake is an aging, fading, health spa/resort town.

Hey Jerry! Yes, I have way too much time on my hands at the moment and spend a lot of time in front of the screen, looking at/dreaming of gear, for both hiking/backpacking and for my other interests as well. I've also had ample opportunities to plan and research future trips as well and am contemplating a 2 week tour down to Georgia on the Goldwing, for a 'meet n greet', which would involve mostly 'bike camping' during my travels.[8D]
The knee is slowly getting better as I went out for my 1st real 'walk' yesterday(25 minutes) and am now able to negotiate stairs without too much difficulty. [^] Slow n steady wins the race!

Dusty
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