Sunday, May 19, 2013

Grand Coulee Dam, Sunday, May 19, 2013

This morning we drove north about 29 miles to the Grand Coulee Dam in the town of Grand Coulee.  We were aware that tours of the dam are available starting at 10am and were hoping to be able to do that.  No problem but we had to drive across the river to a white trailer where we were to wait for vans to transport us to the facility.  Before getting into the vans, we were reminded that purses, backpacks, any type of knife or other weapons could not be taken along and we had to go through security checks like those at airports.  We then boarded vans and were driven across the river to the dam.  This dam, the largest dam in North America, was built by the WPA during the depression era to irrigate this land for agricultural purposes.  But World War 2 changed the focus to power and 2 power plants were built.  Finally in 1952, the irrigation ability came into being and this is the main service of this dam.  A third power plant was added in the 1970's.  The lake formed by the dam, Roosevelt Lake, has been filling at the rate of 2 feet per day from the spring melting and rains so just yesterday the gates were raised, for this spring, for water to go over the dam.  We were unable to go inside the dam as some renovations are being done at this time.  After the tour we returned to the Visitor's Center to look at the displays and to watch a movie.

Feeling a need for nourishment we searched out a restaurant and found a barbeque/ice cream cafe.  Pulled pork sandwiches and potato salad for Tom and cole slaw for me satisfied our hunger- oh, and an ice cream cone for dessert.

Leaving Grand Coulee we drove a southwesternly scenic route along Bank Lake.  A beautiful natural lake, Banks Lake, is surrounded with steep rocky cliffs with the road following it for 20 some miles.  We then drove east returning to the campground in Wilbur.