Cascade Loop Road Trip

Views of the Cascades and Grand Coulee Dam


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The Experience

Now that we are actually situated in Seattle, Kathleen and I decided to act like Seattleites. One of the highly recommended road trips is called the "Cascade Loop". The loop runs north on I5; east on State Route 20 to US 97; then south on 97 to US 2 and west on 2 to the Everett coast. We extended our version of the loop to include a trip to Grand Coulee Dam in central Washington state. The photos below are what we saw.

I got up pretty early the morning of our departure. When I got to the back window, I saw that sunrise was happening as a full moon was setting in the west over the Olympic Mountains.

On route 20, we passed this old steam train used for moving logs.

Kathleen enjoys the view of the steam locomotive.

In the field next to the locomotive there were many dandelions.

Next to the train were a bank of flowers with insects working hard.

An iron bridge off of route 20.

Diablo Dam.

Nearing the crest of mountains.

On the downgrade on the eastern side.

Main Street, Okanogan, WA.

We finally got to Grand Coulee Dam and found a motel with a view of the dam. Here is the view from the window.

This was one of the 4 cubic yard buckets that were used to construct the dam.


The bridge over the Columbia River built as part of the dam project.

The right side of the dam. The right power house is the rectangular structure at the bottom of the dam. The cable runs on the right up the dam face provides power for the pump house complex that is just visible on the right, above the top of the dam. There are 6 turbines in the power house and the power output of 2 of the turbines are fully utilized powering the pumps.

Local rabbit chows down on the lush, watered lawn.

The number 3 powerhouse after dark. The penstocks are visible on the rock face.

The next morning, we walked over the bridge and took photos of the dam. The number 3 power house is on the left with the penstocks visible for the 6 turbines.

This is a big, big structure. One of the largest concrete structures in the world.

Kathleen checks out the flowers at the front of the visitor's center.

Testing the jack hammer, or just jacking around if you will.

On an overlook, you can see the pump house. This set of pumps essentially redirects a river uphill. Water is pumped uphill something on the order of 500 feet and feeds Banks Lake.

Here is a view of Banks Lake down the axis of the Grand Coulee.

On the return trip we passed through Wenatchee where they were having car show as part of the Wings and Wheels Festival. We attempted to attend, but all the cars had departed since it was late in the day. We passed this hot rod on the road. Check out the reflection in the paint job. This was a fine, fine ride.

Here was another rod in a driveway.

A view of the Wenatchee River.

Looking upstream on the Wenatchee.

A mini-falls.

Another iron bridge.

Great fall colors on the hill. Many trees were turning yellow.

The mountains were barely visible through the clouds.

When we rolled into the apartment on Elliot Bay, we were treated to another great sunset.

This was a fantastic road trip. We went fully ad-hoc and did not call ahead for anything, we just went. Grand Coulee is a very small town, but there were nice motels there and both of the 2 restaurants that we ate at were good (in a back country sort of way). The weather turned cold on Sunday, so we were glad that we brought coats and hats. The route was great and very colorful.

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