23.08.2014 - 24.08.2014 28 °C
The next couple of days travel were also supposed to be easy, just 400 miles and a border crossing, but it became 650 miles plus. This is generally not on the Interstate, and we pop in to every town likely to yield an interesting result, so travel is not exactly rapid.
After coffee in a home-made jam shop because the Leavenworth coffee shop didn't open until 11:00, it was pretty much straight on to Wenatchee - our stop in Cashmere to see the museum was cut short by the museum not being open. We drove up and down the main street of Wenatchee a couple of times - I'm sure I could have coped with staying here - then found it had a public market open: part farmers market, part crafts and part more established shops in an enclosed building. My brother and co-pilot researched each town as we drove in: this was the apple capital of the world, so we thought we should get some. The lady selling them was very enthusiastic, saying they were "the first pick of the season, picked yesterday" and maybe they were, but they were inedible through being picked too early.
The Wenatchee River joins the Columbia at this point: we followed it down for maybe 20 miles, and found it necessary to make a stop when we saw a train on the other side.
Heading west, things soon became very flat (they don't call this area the Columbia Plains for nothing) and very dry, so there were dust spirals rising from the ground. Apart from a quick stop for a burger in Ephrata (nice burger in a very old skool sort of way from DK's Drive In, but not much else to the town), we didn't see much until Harrington.
We were stopped to take photos of dust plumes when a local cop stopped to see if we were alright. Next time we saw him, in Harrington, he gave us the thumbs up. The next time after that, it was a huge smile and big wave - if we'd seen him again, I reckon he'd have given us the keys to the town, if not citizenship. Not that there was much to see in Harrington, not until I saw an old car on the side of the road I wanted a photo of. I don't think my brother was very interested, as he wandered off to have a smoke, but as I took my photo, a chap came out to see what I was doing, and invited me in. Every Saturday, the owner of the former Studebaker garage gets all his cars out, and his mates and anyone interested in old cars can go in and have a beer and shoot the breeze. I think I'm an honorary member now - he insisted I sign the visitor's book "we don;t get many folk from Noo Zealan here in Harrington". Quelle surprise! They were nice cars, but.
My brother was keen to see harvesters in action, particularly big rigs - just out of Harrington, he was rewarded, sort of - we came across a demonstration of vintage harvesting machinery.
Finally, we got into Spokane late afternoon and had a wee walk down to the river and saw the power station and SkyRide (a gondala running down the river a bit). Steve thought it might be good to have a coffee, so I pull out my wallet, only I don't. It isn't there. Maybe it is in the car, I think. Nope. So, when did I last use it? That would be to pay for my burger in Ephrata, 125 miles back up the road. I phone, and sure enough, they have it - the lady said she'd run after me but not been able to stop us. So we saw very little of Spokane: instead, it was a rush back to Ephrata (this time on the Interstate).
On the way back we stopped at a place called Moses Lake and had a very nice dinner in a steakhouse. I had ONE beer, despite the best efforts of the waitress. Now in the US, they have this rule that if you're turning right, you can go on a red light. I'd got myself a bit confused about exactly where the Interstate on-ramp was and was dithering at an intersection, thought the Interstate was to my right, so took the free turn, nearly clipping a police car in the process. He of course asks if I have been drinking, and gives me a wee homily about how important it is to be honest when I say I have had one drink - he even asked what it was. He then administered his sobriety tests: first I had to follow his pen with my eyes as he waved it around. I'm a bit nervous, and he says not to worry, he knows what he's looking for. Then I had to do a sort of goose step, one foot straight in front of the other, heel to toe. My co-ordination is not great at the best of times, so I was not so good at this test. Then there was another test - I still don't really understand what I was supposed to do, it involved keeping one foot still but somehow dancing around it with the other foot, so obviously failed that one.
Finally, he could administer what I would have liked in the first place - a breathalyser, which showed me as having zero alcohol in my blood. "My equipment is faulty, I'll have to get another officer" I am told. Someone from the Sheriff's department shows up, and gets the same result so finally, I have a grumpy cop but am free to go. This makes us very late into Coeur d'Alene, after 11:00, but we are greeted by a very helpful motelier, despite booking the cheapest place in town.
Next morning is a little humiliating for me, because I was convinced I came to Coeur d'Alene last time I was in the Pacific Northwest, and was telling Steve about things I had seen and done. We're only in the downtown area about five minutes and I realise I have never been here in my life. When my brother travels with his family, they have a "dick of the day" award - this, combined with yesterday's efforts mean I have won it so convincingly it is never mentioned again.
Coeur d'Alene has a very nice lake and a great new park (which was being set up for a barbecue cook-off which I would have liked to have stayed for, but they were going to take hours before any food would be ready. Otherwise, it was really quite boring. After a not so great breakfast in the Iron Horse (which looks really good inside but we sat, unknowingly, outside, it was time to hit the road for a fairly uneventful drive up US/BC 95.