Wednesday, August 21, 2019

WA Hwy 20: So Far So Good!

Two thirds of the way across Washington State, it's looking like I'll finally be able to drive the entire length of WA Hwy 20! If all goes well, we will complete it at the border with Idaho tomorrow.

Heading east out of Burlington yesterday, Happy and I made several stops just for fun, including one to take the required photo of Diablo Lake. Even on a hazy day, it is a stunningly beautiful lake.

We stopped for the night in the small town of Omak. After her first full day on the road in quite a while, Happy was obviously pleased that I found her a nice shady spot in a grassy park to catch up on her sleep.

Happy is 14 years old now and definitely showing signs of age. Mostly deaf and partially blind, she's also got some arthritis and has small "tremors" and balance issues, which the vets say is the onset of a neurological degradation similar to Parkinson's in humans.

I'm pretty sure this will be her last road trip, and I am determined to make it a good one for her to wrap up her career.

We continued east this morning, crossing the typical rolling hills of Central Washington, then made our way over several passes.

This is the area that was badly burned several years ago when we were thwarted in a previous attempt to transit this highway end-to-end. It is remarkable to see how many of the trees have recovered.

So far, I am quite pleased with my new little road rig. Although it is has only a fraction the power and capabilities of my previous trucks, it is performing quite capably in the mountains. It is also far more nimble and economical to drive.

Having the large, open van so easily accessible, it is turning out to be more comfortable and convenient to get in and out of. Happy seems to be giving her new dog-truck a smile of approval!

We've stopped for the night in Kettle Falls, which is as far as I got coming from the east on my last WA Hwy 20 transit attempt. The town sits on the edge of Roosevelt Lake, which is a major body of water caused by the Grand Coulee Dam about a hundred miles to the southwest. You can just see a piece of the water from this roadside vantage point.

If all continues to go well, we will drive the final 100 mile stint on WA Hwy 20 to the Idaho border tomorrow. From there we will drop a short distance south to Spokane, to visit with friends and get ready to head east on the larger highways.

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