A Travellerspoint blog

The Final Chapter

Our last day of vacation

The Klickitat Trail

The Klickitat Trail

The Final Chapter

This morning under rather gray, drippy skies we departed Dayton. All along I knew today was going to be a long day. The route we chose would be close to 400 miles. No regrets though. The drive along the north bank of the Columbia River is so much prettier than the freeway on the Oregon side. Besides, we wanted to stop at Mary Hill for wine and Lyle for a walk.

The drive from Dayton down to the Columbia River was uneventful. Its a pretty drive on highway 12 through the rolling hills and the wine country of Walla Walla. Then zig zagging around to finally get on Washington highway 14 following the Columbia. Upon turning onto highway 14, the sign that says no services for the next 83 miles confirms that this is pretty remote. Once the river comes into view the drive becomes much more interesting.

Our first stop, the Mary Hill Winery, was timed just right for a lunch stop. We were very surprised to see friends from Olympia just being seated as we entered the winery. What luck! We took a table opposite theirs and visited all through lunch. It was fun to compare notes on our travels and comments on the wines we were tasting. Then with full tummies and two cases of wine we were back on the road.

IMG_4035.jpeg

Just a half hour down the road from Mary Hill is the Town of Lyle. Lyle is an old railroad town on the banks of the Columbia. These days the trains just speed through without even slowing down. The area around Lyle is frequented by fisherman, hunters, boaters, cyclists, and hikers. Or just about anyone who enjoys taking in the beauty of the area. Our goal was the Klickitat Rail-Trail which follows the Klickitat River up through it’s winding canyon.

Arriving at the trailhead

Arriving at the trailhead

This walk is another of the AVA sanctioned walks like the others we’ve been doing all week. We walked 7km through the town and up the canyon and back. As we started the walk we needed our umbrellas which were almost useless in the strong wind. We were beginning to ask ourselves if this was a good idea. Then the rain stopped, the wind stopped, and the sun came out. Wow, what luck! We were treated to dramatic skies and bright sun.

270_IMG_4056.jpegThe Klickitat River

The Klickitat River

Klickitat River Canyon

Klickitat River Canyon

Fall colors

Fall colors

Old railroad bridge on the trail

Old railroad bridge on the trail

Posing for a photo

Posing for a photo

Klickitat River at the trailhead

Klickitat River at the trailhead


Returning to the car we got ourselves organized for the long slog home. Just as we were pulling out of the parking lot the rain drops started falling again. For the next 200 miles we drove in and out of rain showers and cloud bursts. The last 100 miles was the insanity of Interstate 5. Somehow we made it home safe and sound. With jangled nerves and tired bodies we both are very happy to be back home.

We’ve had a memorable trip and a continued appreciation for the beauty and diversity of the Pacific Northwest. It’s been fun documenting our adventures. I hope you’ve enjoyed following along with us. Until next time,

Jim & Karen

Posted by olytrains 22:37 Comments (0)

Kilowatts and Wheat

Traveling through the Palouse.

Kilowatts of power

Kilowatts of power

Kilowatts and Wheat

This morning we said good-by to Idaho and returned to more familiar territory. It just felt really good to be back in Washington. Our goal for the day was to do a 10km walk in Pomeroy, WA. Never heard of Pomeroy? Well its not a very big, famous place. Think wheat farming. Pomeroy is in the Palouse, surrounded by wheat fields.

The Palouse is a unique place. Created by the Missoula flood (you’ll have to look that one up) it is basically a plain that has been carved by millennia of natural forces to create an undulating landscape. They grow wheat here on an impossible terrain of steep hills and deep ravines. I just love driving through this area. When the wheat is just coming up the landscape is emerald green. When the wheat is ripe the land turns golden. Its so pretty!

Driving across the Palouse

Driving across the Palouse

Kilowatts? Well, we passed by soooooo many wind turbines on our drive through the Palouse. Wind farms are the new gold for area wheat farmers. They have sprouted up on ridges all over the countryside. And for good reason, its quite windy here a good part of the time. These things are huge! You don’t realize how big until you’re up close. I guess this is the future for clean energy?

Just how big are they?

Just how big are they?

More wind turbines

More wind turbines

Pomeroy is just a pretty little town with a rich agricultural history. An old historic downtown and quiet, tree lined neighborhoods. Friendly people that take the time to visit with strangers as they’re walking by. To manage 10km we had to walk back and forth through town and finally out into the country. The weather was perfect, but smoke began to roll in late in our walk. We were told the smoke was probably from field burning near by. I think this may have been our last day of summer for the year.

Neighborhoods of Pomeroy

Neighborhoods of Pomeroy

Just arrived at Pomeroy City Park

Just arrived at Pomeroy City Park

Walking out of town

Walking out of town

Halloween gone crazy!

Halloween gone crazy!

Historic Pomeroy WA

Historic Pomeroy WA

Garfield County Courthouse in Pomeroy

Garfield County Courthouse in Pomeroy

After our walk we drove west to the town of Dayton. Dayton is much like Pomeroy, but is slightly larger and has a food processing plant that provides employment. Before the sun set I managed a little time to go out and take a few pictures in what remained of the daylight. Dayton has a beautifully restored Union Pacific train station that now serves as a museum. At one time Dayton was the financial and cultural center of the “Inland Empire”. That title now rests with Spokane. Dayton has a nice historic neighborhood with grand old mansions that reflect the wealth that once was centered here.

Columbia County Courthouse in Dayton

Columbia County Courthouse in Dayton

Bronze sculpture at Dayton station

Bronze sculpture at Dayton station

Union Pacific station in Dayton, WA

Union Pacific station in Dayton, WA

Dayton Station

Dayton Station

Our hotel for the night in Dayton

Our hotel for the night in Dayton

Another picture of the Dayton station

Another picture of the Dayton station

Tomorrow we finally head back to Olympia. We’ll stop at Mary Hill Winery on the way home. Then we plan to stop at Lyle to do a walk on the Kittitas rail-trail. Our walk will depend on the weather as its supposed to start raining tomorrow. Its a long way back to Oly, so it will be a very full day.

This is probably my last post in this blog. I’m pretty sure I don’t have the discipline to add more after we’ve arrived home. If there is a “final post” just consider it a bonus. Its been fun sitting at the I-Pad each night re-capping the days events. I hope you’ve enjoyed the story and the photos.

Jim

Posted by olytrains 21:06 Comments (0)

Hiking and Trains

Walking the Trail of The Coeur d’ Alenes

Colorful marshes along the trail

Colorful marshes along the trail

Hiking and Trains

We awoke today, not to a clear sunny day, but to a rather hazy, smokey day. The smoke seems to be back. The farther south we went the hazier it seemed to be. Not enough to smell, but enough to affect the views and my pictures. No white fluffy clouds this morning.

Wow, another day of walking. We managed to get out at a reasonably early time this morning (thats in vacation time, so not really early). We drove down to Plummer, ID and then east to Heyburn State Park. Our destination was the Chatcolet Lake Trailhead. Today we walked 10km on the Trail of the Coeur d’ Alenes.

Getting on the trail, ready to walk

Getting on the trail, ready to walk

On the trail at the bridge

On the trail at the bridge

The Trail of the Coeur d’ Alenes is an amazing rails to trails masterpiece. It runs over 70 miles from Plummer to Wallace, ID. Much of it runs along the shoreline of Lake Coeur d’ Alenes. There are very few access points and no roads in sight. I was surprised to see rest stops along the way. The trail is primarily used by cyclists so at the rest stop we saw there was a tire pump and bike tools available. Pretty cool. Most importantly there were nice clean toilets. About the time we turned around to head back to the trailhead the wind picked up. By the time we were back at the bridge it was blowing pretty hard. I think change is in the air.

Pretty colors along the trail

Pretty colors along the trail

Watch out for falling rocks!

Watch out for falling rocks!

Smokey skies are back

Smokey skies are back

Along the shores of Lake Coeur d’ Alenes

Along the shores of Lake Coeur d’ Alenes

Another view of the bridge

Another view of the bridge

The old rail bridge across Lake Chatcolet

The old rail bridge across Lake Chatcolet

Oh, a rest stop at last!

Oh, a rest stop at last!

Draw bridge to a private residence

Draw bridge to a private residence

Once we finished our walk we drove over to St. Maries, just 13 miles east of the trailhead. Besides being a vibrant mill town, it is home to the St. Maries River Railroad. This is a short line that is owned by the biggest employer in town, Potlatch. It runs from St.Maries to Plummer where it interchanges with the Union Pacific local out of Spokane. The route runs on the rails of the old Milwaukee Road mainline to Chicago.

We then drove back up the highway to Coeur d’ Alenes. After a quick stop for ice cream (lunch) we explored the downtown area. Coeur d’ Alene is very much a resort town. It is right on the shores of the lake. We walked around McEuan Park and Tubb’s Hill and enjoyed the warm sunny afternoon.

Then, back on the road again. We drove up to Rathdrum to meet up with friends Candy and Roy for dinner. We arrived early so I’d have some time to watch trains. Oh, Rathdrum is right in the middle of the area that rail fans call “the funnel”. If you remember what I said about trains running through Spokane, Rathdrum is much the same. The big difference is that in Rathdrum you can get up close to the trains as they go through town. I was treated to eight trains going by in the 45 minutes I was watching. Wow!

BNSY grain train running through Rathdrum

BNSY grain train running through Rathdrum

Norfolk Southern locomotives on a train running through Rathdrum

Norfolk Southern locomotives on a train running through Rathdrum

St. Maries River RR in St. Maries, ID

St. Maries River RR in St. Maries, ID

After a very good dinner with our friends we headed back to the hotel in Post Falls. Its been a very full day of relaxing?? Well it was a very fun, action packed day.

More tomorrow from Dayton, WA.

Jim

Posted by olytrains 22:06 Comments (0)

Moving Day

Moving on to Northern Idaho.

Spokane River in downtown Spokane

Spokane River in downtown Spokane

Moving Day

Today we had to re-pack and move over to North Idaho. All the way to Post Falls. OK, it’s only 30 miles east of our hotel in Spokane. Although it’s just a short distance, Idaho is sure a lot different than Washington. It’s as though Covid doesn’t exist. Few masks anywhere, even in restaurants. Few precautions at our hotel and no deep cleaning. It feels kind of creepy after being so careful for so long at home.

Our hotel in Spokane

Our hotel in Spokane

Canadian Pacific engine on a UP train this morning

Canadian Pacific engine on a UP train this morning

This morning we met up with our friends Candy and Roy on the shores of Lake Coeur d’ Alene. We went for a 10km walk on the North Idaho Centennial Trail. It was another very warm, sunny day and the views were pretty. After our walk we went into downtown Coeur d’ Alene for lunch.

Arriving at Lake Coeur d’ Alene

Arriving at Lake Coeur d’ Alene

Getting ready for a walk

Getting ready for a walk

Lake Coeur d’ Alene

Lake Coeur d’ Alene

Trail marker

Trail marker

Downtown Coeur d’ Alene

Downtown Coeur d’ Alene

Lunch in Coeur d’ Alene

Lunch in Coeur d’ Alene

In this part of the country they are having a very nice Indian Summer. Today the temperature was in the high 70s. Coeur d’ Alene felt like a resort town in the summer with people out everywhere and enjoying the lake. It’s hard to believe it’s October!

Templin’s Resort

Templin’s Resort

View from our room

View from our room

Tomorrow we are driving down through Plummer and then east to Heyburn State Park. We plan to hike on the Trail of the Coeur d’ Alenes across the south end of the lake. I think this may have been an old Milwaukee Road (or maybe Union Pacific) grade to Wallace, ID. I’ve kinda given up trying to figure out what railroad grades we’ve been walking on. It’s just too confusing.

Sunset over the Spokane River

Sunset over the Spokane River

I’ll be back tomorrow with more,

Jim

Posted by olytrains 18:07 Comments (0)

Walking in the Lilac City

Great Northern clock tower

Great Northern clock tower

Walking in the Lilac City

Now that we’ve reached our destination the pace is much more relaxed. Today our goal was to walk a 10km/6.2mile walk in downtown Spokane. We got a rather leisurely start to the day with coffee and cinnamon rolls we picked up at the Cle Elum bakery yesterday. Then we were off to meet up with our friend from Rathdrum. We had to go a whole mile across town to Tom Sawyer Country Coffee to the walk start. Oh, and a cup of good coffee and a sweet.

One of the things that made today’s walk special was that Candy (our friend) grew up in Spokane. In fact she lived in the very area we were walking in, Browne’s Addition. Spokane, like most cities, has very unique and distinct neighborhoods. Browne’s Addition is such a neighborhood. In the late 1800s many of the wealthier residents of Spokane chose to build their lavish mansions on that area. Today its a rather eclectic mix of mansions and apartment buildings. The quiet, tree lined streets are inviting and very pedestrian friendly.

Browne’s Addition

Browne’s Addition

One of the many mansions in Browne’s Addition

One of the many mansions in Browne’s Addition

Roberts Mansion in Browne’s Addition

Roberts Mansion in Browne’s Addition

Mrs. Browne

Mrs. Browne

Spooky mansion in Browne’s Addition

Spooky mansion in Browne’s Addition

In addition to Browne’s Addition our walk took us through most of downtown Spokane. We saw many breweries, wine tasting rooms, and other attractions. Craft breweries seem to have popped up everywhere. As we continued walking we crossed through Riverfront Park and then back across the river to the Kendall Yards neighborhood and the start/finish.

Karen and Candy walking downtown

Karen and Candy walking downtown

Spokane River

Spokane River

Falls viewing area

Falls viewing area

One of the Many breweries in downtown Spokane

One of the Many breweries in downtown Spokane

Spokane Falls

Spokane Falls

Fall at the Falls

Fall at the Falls

It just happens that the Mary Hill Winery tasting room and bistro are on the walk route (go figure)! They have a very nice patio overlooking the Spokane River gorge. Walking six miles can really work up an appetite, so we felt compelled to stop for lunch. Oh, and a glass of wine (sorry, but I had a refreshing local beer instead). And of course we couldn’t leave without a couple of bottles for the road.

Lunch at the Mary Hill Bistro

Lunch at the Mary Hill Bistro

Back at the hotel I had a mid-day nap while Karen relaxed with a book. Vacation can be hard work after all. I finally awoke to the sound of a distant train. Then it dawned on me that maybe I could see the train from our hotel room. I scanned the city from our tenth floor room and discovered I had a great view of the tracks in several spots. I tried taking a few pictures with limited success. Since making this discovery I’ve noticed and endless parade of trains going by. All BNSF trains going east or coming from the east use these tracks as well as all UP trains coming from or going to Canada. Thats a bunch of trains!

Trains from our hotel room window

Trains from our hotel room window

Feeling a bit peckish, we headed down the street to our favorite Irish pub in Spokane O’Doherty’s Grill. The food is very good and the menu has lots of traditional Irish favorites. I went for the Irish Stew tonight. With full tummies we made our way back to the hotel. Karen read and I’ve been working on this blog post.

Downtown Spokane

Downtown Spokane

Great Northern clock tower

Great Northern clock tower

Tomorrow we head all the way to Post Falls, Idaho. A whopping 30 minute drive! We’ll meet up with Candy and her husband Roy for a walk along the shores of Lake Coeur d’ Alene. The weather is supposed to be in the upper 70s again tomorrow, yeah! Oh, remember how our summer was cut short because of the smoke? Well we’ve found summer again. We should have at least two more days of it before the rain finally makes it this far inland.

More tomorrow,

Jim

Posted by olytrains 22:03 Comments (0)

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