John is awake early as he is going fishing. He drives us across the park. I sleep. He fishes off the banks of Banks Lake. No fish are caught.
We are on the move again. “John, where are you taking us?” I call from the back. “Grand Coulee, you are missing some great scenery.” By the time we get to Grand Coulee, I am awake. We find a place for breakfast.
We visit the Grand Coulee Dam Visitor Center. We watch two movies. I talk with the ranger. I get my questions answered.
Ice Age: Ice blocks a river in Idaho. The ice dam creates Lake Missoula in Montana. It is HUGE. When the dam breaks, water floods Washington and parts of Oregon. This massive release of water carves the coulees in Washington. It creates waterfalls at what is now Dry Falls State Park. When the water subsides, the coulees are dry. There are no waterfalls. This flooding happens more than once.
Modern Day: We build the Grand Coulee Dam. It provides electricity for Washington. It is also part of a reclamation project. We build the Dry Falls Dam on the south end of Grand Coulee. We pump water up 280 feet from Roosevelt Lake into Grand Coulee. Banks Lake is therefore an artificial Lake.
From the Dry Falls Dam we send water throughout southeast Washington via canals for irrigation. The canal systems eventually return the water to the Columbia River.
We visited The Grand Coulee Dam in 2007. We took the tour and saw the laser light show. The current tour is different.
We board a bus. We go to the pumping house. A thunderstorm hits just as we leave the bus. It is over by the time we return.
We drive onto the spillway and get out of the bus. This is great! Our timing is good. Normally, water is not released over the spillway at this time of the year. This year the Columbia River is high and it is hot in Washington.
After the tour, we return to Coulee City. I see all the great scenery I missed this morning. We pass Steamboat Rock. I remember a picture at the local coffee shop of the rock before Banks Lake.
Tomorrow, we move a little further east.
Campground: Town of Coulee City