Under a clear blue morning sky, we drove down into the Columbia River valley and up the other side through a fast and twisty valley on McNeil Canyon Road and up onto a moonscape. In our quest to hookup with US 2 heading east, we had to head straight south on Washington State highway 172 through a visually stunning vista. Dry grasslands, flat and barren, punctuated by large lava rocks that had been dumped there like shrapnel from when Mount Baker exploded some millennia ago. We stopped and got out of the car and experienced total silence. Nothingness. Not even a breeze.
We got back in and completed the last bit of the highway, which jogs only slightly when the highway engineers came up against a piece of lava as large as a house, and decided they couldn't be bothered to blow it out of the way.
We finally arrived at #2 and turned left to head east.
The top was down, the road was empty, and the barren grasslands gave way to endless golden fields, billowing off to the horizon like quilts spun of golden silk.
We rolled along through Hartline, Coulee City, Almira and Wilbur. The coulee is something to behold: Cutting its way through the prairie like a rock walled scar. The highway dips suddenly and dives across its floor, stone walls towering above us.
Then pine forests, and suddenly we are in Spokane and sweltering in the traffic. Through the city after a slight detour (is it really necessary to have both a Business 90 and an Interstate 90? Sheesh) and out the other side after a junk food lunch, then its a straight line north to tan the left side of our face, and we are off to Sandpoint, then as suddenly as we entered Idaho, we are through it and in Montana.
Then we start the long way up the side of Koocanusa to the cabin.