Coeur d’Alene is on the eastern edge of the Pacific time zone.  We woke up according to Mountain time, using the time change to get on the road an hour earlier than has been our habit.  We were ready to be home.

Welccome to Washington.jpg

Coeur d’Alene and Spokane are part of the same metro area.  Traffic between the cities was building as we headed into Washington, but it all but disappeared as soon as we passed downtown Spokane.  (Coeur d’Alene means ‘heart of the awl’, so named because the French fur traders of the early 19th century found the Coeur d’Alene People sharp traders.)

Stressed Trees.jpg

The area around Spokane is lightly forested, and many of the trees looked stressed.  This land gets enough moisture for the trees to grow but is otherwise quite dry, so perhaps the brown grass and struggling trees are normal.  Driving west, trees gave way to rolling grass and sage plains which in turn gave way to huge fields of wheat (and ?).  I didn’t see any sign of irrigation until we got closer to the Tri-Cities, which straddle the Columbia, so perhaps the area away from the river gets enough moisture to grow wheat.

Dry hills.jpg

We stayed in Kennewick only long enough to charge the car for the next leg.  We left the charger just before 11, not willing to wait around for a nearby restaurant to open for lunch.

We crossed the Columbia into Oregon at Umatilla and joined the Interstate traffic heading west into the Gorge.

There were strong winds in the Gorge (of course), pushing the car around a bit as we wound along the river.  In the eastern part of the Gorge, we saw sailboarders and kite boarders zipping across the water.  But as we approached the area that had had the terrible wildfires, the clouds lowered to the ground and offered us steady rain.

Gorge Clouds.jpg

Portland traffic on a Friday afternoon was as it usually is.  After a month of depending on others to feed us, we made a quick stop at the grocery store for milk and yogurt and enough produce to hold us until we can do a full shopping.  The house didn’t look all that much like home, perhaps because it was so neat — we had taken much of our daily items with us and had put away our treasures as we usually do before the housecleaners come.

We didn’t stop during the day for pictures — they were all taken though the window glass as we sped toward home.  It was a wonderful trip, with lots of visiting and sightseeing and riding down the highways.  Physically, we are home.  It’ll take a while before the other aspects of us are home, too.

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