We left the Grand Coulee area about 9am and headed back to Wilbur. In order to drive all of US-2 we had to get back the point where we got off... and that meant rolling about 20 miles eastward to Wilbur in order to preserve the objective.
Once pointed in the right direction again we came to Coulee City, the town on the south end of Banks Lake. There, a 2 mile long earthen dam was constructed across the Grand Coulee gorge to form the lake. Hwy 2 sits atop that dam... Banks Lake to the north, and Dry Falls to the south.
|Dry Falls (photo by Ikiwaner)
Viewed from a pull-off along Hwy 2, it's a stunning sight to soak in. Because of it's size photos don't capture the essence of the experience. Memories will have to do.
|Down into Moses Coulee
|Dropping down to the Columbia River near Orondo
From Orondo US-2 follows the Columbia south for a few miles before turning westward again just before Wenatchee. This next leg of the drive... about 100 miles or so... would take us up and over the Cascade Mountains. Of note, we passed through the Bavarian-esque community of Leavenworth, where the confluence of Bavarian architecture and close steep mountains do make one feel like you might be in a mountain village in Southern Germany. Someday we'll stop back and explore the area more deeply.
|Along US-2 on uphill run to Stevens Pass in the Cascades
|Downhill from Stevens Pass
US-2's western terminus is the point where it joins I-5 in Everett, WA. From the beginning of our US-2 trek, in St. Ignace, MI., we've traveled almost every foot of it's 2,119 mile length. We've seen a large stretch of the USA along its shoulders... from the woods of Northern Michigan, the Lake Superior shoreline in Wisconsin, the lake country of Northern Minnesota, the rising waters of Devils Lake North Dakota, the booming oil industry and open range land of Northwest North Dakota and Eastern Montana, the looming Rocky Mountains and Glacier National Park, the forest and peaceful lakes of Northern Idaho, sparky and spunky Spokane, the vast gold-yellow wheat fields of Central Washington, and then today... with some of the most dramatic and breath-taking scenery this side of Glacier. It's been quite a trip... one we'll remember for as long as we live.
Giving the exhaust brake a "break" for a while...