When we left Joseph, Oregon, temperatures in eastern Washington were edging up near 90 degrees. Too hot for us, so we planned a short series of travel days to move us quickly north to Highway 20, the North Cascades Highway, which we will follow through the Cascades to western Washington. Three reasonably short hops took us from Joseph into Washington’s unusual Palouse; from the arid Palouse to pretty (and busy) Wenatchee, along the truly mighty Columbia River; and today, from Wenatchee through the terraced apple, pear and cherry orchards stepping down to the Columbia and into the Methow Valley, where we landed in Twisp. Such a variety of scenery!
The day we drove from Joseph to a remote RV park (Tucannon River RV Park) near tiny, tiny Starbuck, we didn’t plan to do any sightseeing. We knew it would be hot, and that we would have a pull through site, so we planned to leave Jules hooked on behind Scoopy for an early morning departure. To lock onto the TV satellite signal, though, we needed to back up just a bit in our site – which meant we had to unhook Jules, not a big deal.
Once we settled in, with Jules free of the hitch, we figured we might as well take a little drive – and we’re glad we did! On my last post, I included a photo of a train crossing a looooong trestle over the Snake River, about a dozen miles from the campground. We could see on our map that Palouse Falls State Park was not too far past the trestle, so we kept driving. Just before we gave up and turned around, we found the state park turn off. Two miles down an oiled dirt road, we found a parking lot – and an incredible sight in this arid, arid, land: a massive, 180’ waterfall!
We couldn’t believe it – totally awe-inspiring, particularly with the unusually high snowmelt this year. It was thunderous! Even more amazing, a crazy kid has gone over this fall in a kayak, setting a world record! You can see it here (the video is about 3 1/2 minutes long):
We left our campground early the next morning, hoping to arrive in Wenatchee before the hottest part of the forecast 90 degrees. I was glad we had decided to take these small back roads through the remote reaches of Eastern Washington, avoiding the Tri-Cities area and the major highways, as the scenery was unusual and dramatic (and, of course, is now on the “Return in the Right Season” list). Once again, we crossed the Snake River, than climbed out of the canyon into the rolling hills of the Palouse – still arid, but the desert here has been tamed by irrigation. Now, this is wheat country.
Before long, we picked up a wider road, then a wider and straighter road, then a major highway – and a long, long descent down to the Columbia River towards Wenatchee. Even with a fuel stop, we rolled into Wenatchee River County Park (click here to read our review) before 1 pm check-in time (in fact, a little before the 12 noon check-OUT time). Happily, our site was empty so we pulled right in.
The park was a green oasis on a hot day, but we had chores to do – namely, a trip to Costco. Before we did that, I caught up a bit on the internet, sending an email off to our friends Jim and Diane in Chelan, 60 miles away, and following up on a comment on my campground review of Tucannon River RV Park. Then, off we went.
And it was HOT!
With the temperature pushing 90 when we got home, we took it easy, had a light dinner and then… along came a breeze, then a wind – and with it, a 20 degree drop in temperature in about 30 minutes. Turn off the A/C! Open the windows! By around 7:30, I had my toes buried deep in my fluffy slippers as I read… NICE!
Friday morning brought a wonderful surprise: an email from Vladimir and Susan inviting us to dinner at their cabin 15 miles up the road from our campsite. Vladimir and I connected on the internet when he left a comment on my campsite blog, and he had offered helpful advice about the area we are planning to travel when I posted some questions on the Escapee Forums. We quickly took them up on the offer to visit for dinner – heck, yes - then headed off for a walk along the Columbia River and a few more urban errands (Safeway and Target).
The evening was spent at the end of a dirt road on the edge of a lovely mountain meadow at the cabin of Vladimir and Susan. Though they live in Wenatchee, they have a wonderful, solar powered cabin in the nearby mountains, Camas Meadow Lodge (click here for photos from their rental website). What a wonderful get-away.
As always with other RV’ers, we had plenty to talk about: Vladimir, a retired forester, shared his detailed knowledge of the areas we plan to travel next; we were able to pass along information about Escapee RV parks, Elks RV parking, etc. Alli, their poised and articulate daughter (and really, really cute) arrived from Seattle with a special dry rub for salmon, and soon we were all digging into grilled salmon, green beans and Caesar salad, along with copious amounts of Washington-produced wine. It was a night to remember – thanks so much, Vlad and Susan (and Alli). By the way, heading down the road, we saw what appeared to be a tiny little owl sitting on the road, looking much like a large pinecone, but with a head – and it flew off when we drove slowly around it. Saw a small fox, too.
And then it was Saturday already! Busy as we were, we managed to make a plan to meet Jim and Diane for lunch today. THEY were making a trip to Wenatchee to pick up their grandkids; we were traveling in their direction as we continued north towards the Cascade Highway. We met in between, at a fruit stand/café with a parking lot big enough to accommodate Scoopy while we ate lunch and visited with each other for a couple of hours. The weather was perfect for sitting outdoors in the lovingly tended garden while we ate lunch, caught up on several months worth of travels, and downed fresh Bing and Rainier cherries.
It was a short travel day: 35 miles to the café, with another 60 miles to go after lunch. Tonight we’re settled at Riverbend RV Park in Twisp (click here to read our review and see photos), in a nice site facing the Methow River. Tomorrow we’ll begin exploring but, for now? Relaxation time.
One of many, many fruit stands along the banks of the Columbia heading north.
Climbing higher, into the Methow Valley towards Twisp.