Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Bridgeport to Wilbur, Washington via Grand Coulee Dam

Camping last night was warm in comparison to our night of camping last week.  The temperature was lovely. 

We have been trying to be on the road between & each morning.  This morning the ride from Bridgeport, which is river level at Chief Joseph Dam, was uphill until we went downhill into river level Grand Coulee Dam. For all the downhill you bike, there is an uphill!!  After we left the Coulee Dam at river level it was indeed uphill again – 5 ½ miles of steady uphill – some sections were steeper than others, but Cal made it out of both river bottoms.  This afternoon he also rode through a 20 minute rain storm, then when the storm was over a 20 mph crosswind picked up.  So this afternoon was a challenge! Cal finally rolled into Wilbur, WA at 5:00.
Grand Coulee Dam
Today I thought how we have not told you, Cal has changed his route from what he originally had thought he would use.  After we left Winthrop we came south instead of going north.  By coming south we avoided 3 Passes (4020ft, 4310ft, & 5587 ft) on Hwy 20.  Spokane is our destination so instead of going north around the Native American Reservation, we instead came south – hopefully with less hills.  However when Cal as going uphill for 5 ½ miles today he was beginning to wonder if this route is any less hilly!!   

Cal has a brother Wilbur – so we took photos of Wilbur, Washington just for him.  Wilbur & Mary, you’ll have to drive through this area sometime. 

The fruit orchards we saw yesterday stopped at Bridgeport, and there was little agriculture until we reached the top of the 5 ½ mile ridge east of Coulee Dam on Hwy 174, the whole landscape changed. There was mile after mile of field after field of wheat, acre after acre – as far as you could see. Some of the wheat was planted last fall so those plants were 8-10 inches tall, some no-till was planted this spring so those plants were 2-3 inches tall, some fields are presently being worked up, and some were apparently being left fallow this year. A few fields were irrigated, but not many. The gas station attendant told me they get enough rain around here for wheat.
Wheat Fields as far as you can see

10 miles to Wilbur in the distance through wheat fields

Today we did not go through large towns, so I did not do any shopping!!  Instead I would pull off the road several miles ahead of Cal, and read until he came by.  The storm this afternoon came up fairly sudden so when it began to rain I went back about a mile to where he was to give him his rain jacket. This morning in a marsh area, which I was surprised to see in this area, beavers had built two dams. The marsh was full of birds, a sign it was a healthy eco-system. It is very nice to have the time to just sit and watch nature.  I have never had a trip quite like this one!   
Beaver Dams in a Marsh

Yellow Headed Blackbird

1 comment:

  1. Great trip, Cal and Rachel! I'm interested if there isn't a website that would give you elevation changes for your route...it seems like someone would have compiled that info for cyclists already. What beautiful weather you're having (with a little rain thrown in).