Our day started very early. Knowing we had a pass to climb, and then a descent into the 90+ degree temperatures of southeastern Washington’s Palouse, we planned to leave no later than 9 am (our usual departure time is around 10 am). I was out of bed at 5:30!
We did one last walk to the south end of town and back, stopped in at Wildflour Bakery for breakfast pastries to go, stopped for a friendly conversation with the owner of the sporting goods store (“I stopped to by fish eggs – yes, fish eggs – and end up buying the store!”)… and then it was time to fire up the rig and head north, regretfully saying goodbye to 5 Peaks RV Park (click here to read our review).
Here are a few more photos from that lovely little town and its surroundings; mouse over any photo for a caption.
Joseph is at 4,150 feet elevation, and it was 66 degrees when we headed north out of town. All of Wallowa County looked beautiful, sparkling and green. At Elgin, we turned north towards Walla Walla, Washington, climbing to around 5,200 feet, surrounded by pines.
As we began our descent, the view changed dramatically. Gone were the distant, snowcapped peaks, the lovely, emerald fields and wildflower strewn prairies we have enjoyed so, replaced by dry, brown, barren hillsides. Here, irrigation is the key to a verdant landscape and as we left Walla Walla behind, irrigated fields became few.
The Palouse of southeastern Washington is an interesting, ancient landscape, scoured by immense floods in times long past. It is an area I would love to explore in spring, or in fall – but in July, we just want to get through here with the minimum number of overnight stops.
By 11:30, we had the generator running and both rooftop air-conditioners going (mostly to exercise the generator, but keeping the inside of Scoopy totally cool is a bonus). At 12:30, 165 miles from Joseph and a WORLD away, we pulled into our stop for the night, Tucannon River RV Park (click here to read our review), a welcome oasis in the barren landscape. The thermometer reached 95 degrees at 2 pm, and 75 at 9 pm – for us, a very sudden summer!
Above: a very long train on a very high trestle across the Snake River in the Palouse.