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Thread: Out of the Archives - Central Washington Winter Tour #1, January 26, 2003

              
   
   
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  1. #1
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    Default Out of the Archives - Central Washington Winter Tour #1, January 26, 2003

    The following trip report is one from the Backroad Drivers Northwest Archives and took place 14 years ago!

    Out of the Archives

    CENTRAL WASHINGTON WINTER TOUR
    January 25, 2003

    Driving central Washington backroads in January?
    You gotta' be nuts! Well, I guess we were. The
    "nuts" in attendance were Gary & Sheila
    who drove over from Olympia, Richard & Jan who came up from
    the Portland area and us, Jerry & Evelyn, hailing from Yakima.
    We met for breakfast at the Cottage Café in Cle Elum where we made acquaintances and enjoyed a hearty meal before our trek.

    Weatherwise was good news and bad news.
    There were no snowy or icy roads and very little rain, but we did have fog! We were either right in the middle of the gray stuff or never far from it.

    Cle Elum was one of the foggy places, but it wasn't much of a problem as we were driving tree lined roads from Cle Elum to Roslyn.
    We couldn't help but notice all the new construction along the route. None of us had been up that way since a couple of years ago and we could not believe all the new houses.

    We entered the outskirts of Roslyn passing old miners cottages and cabins with their yards covered with snow.
    I think the town looks better in the snow, more of a rustic feel. The Roslyn Museum and "The Brick" were closed so we did not venture out of our vehicles, but we did drive the main street where we saw the mercantile and the radio station as depicted on the "Northern Exposure" TV series. Keeping in touch over the CB we made comments about the old houses, town history, etc.

    Roslyn did not keep our attention for long and we drove back to Cle Elum and onward toward the Teanaway Valley.
    Fortunately for us the fog had burned off to allow some view of the surrounding snow-capped mountains on the edge of the valley. At one spot a long, thin layer of fog spread just below the tops of the pines on one of the foothills and made for a very scenic, postcard-like winter scene.

    We made our turn onto Highway 97 and headed for Ellensburg in a continual fog bank.
    It's a good thing I was leading the procession so none of the others could be blamed for taking a wrong turn. Just before entering Ellensburg I turned left instead of to the right and led us directly away from
    town.
    Hey, it was foggy!

    After a few lost minutes on the wrong road we found ourselves in Ellensburg where we made two important stops.
    First was a rest stop and the second was a visit to "Dick and Jane's Spot". The residents of Ellensburg like to think their town is known for their excellent university, their famous rodeo, their beautifully restored turn-of-the-century buildings, their lovely parks and interesting museums. But, in reality, they are known far and wide for the infamous "Dick and Jane's Spot", a private residenceon the corner of 1st and Main, lovingly decorated by the residents with hundreds, if not thousands, of reflectors, spinning bicycle wheels, bottle caps imbedded into fence boards, crazy statues made of car parts, woodcarvings, junk metal pieces and left-over 50's clothing. It was truly a wonderful and inspiring experience and we all felt really fortunate that Dick and Jane chose Ellensburg for their home.

    We cruised up Main Street admiring the old buildings and drove through the Central Washington University campus on our way out of town via the Old Vantage Highway.
    Yes, another highway, although this one is really a back road especially in the fog. The fog was thick for ten miles, so thick that
    we could not see the taillights of the car in front of us. We had to stay in touch via our CB's to make sure everyone was doing okay. Not all was lost because as we headed toward the Columbia River on the downward side of the hill the fog cleared enough for us to see quite a ways off in the distance.

    The metropolis of Vantage lies at the bottom of the grade.
    Just before we reached "town" we stopped for a few minutes at Ginkgo Petrified Forest State Park. The information center was closed, but the restrooms were open and the view over the Columbia River was fantastic.

    We took the Interstate 90 bridge across the Columbia River and turned off on Highway 26 at the end of the bridge. After about 4 miles w
    e turned north on a farm road and drove past snow covered fields for about 14 miles and into George.

    George, Washington was created in the mid 50's as a convenience tp the Columbia Basin Irrigation Project.
    The land was purchased from the government and developed by one family. The first business opened was Martha's Inn. Thank goodness for that because we stopped at Martha's Inn in George, Washington to have a slice of cherry pie. Yes we did.

    From George we drove a county road up to Quincy and headed for East Wenatchee on Highway 28, yet another highway on our back road journey. Remember, it was winter and the high roads were closed.
    By the time we reached East Wenatchee it had started to shower a little. We found the Badger Mountain Road and drove it to the top of the ridge above the valley. On the way up we turned off on a muddy farm road next to some antenna towers in hopes that we could take in the view, but no dice, it was too foggy. Normally we would have looked down on the town of Wenatchee, the Columbia River and the Cascade Mountains in the distance. It is an awesome view, but we could only imagine it for the fog.

    We continued to climb in elevation as we headed for Badger Mountain.
    We passed a few houses and farms along the route until we entered the trees. The small forest at the top of the mountain sports tall evergreens and today their limbs were laden with snow. A very pretty sight, indeed.

    End Part 1

    Jerry
    Reading and Riding Northwest Backroads
    K7PNW

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    Central Washington Winter Tour Part 2
    January 26, 2003

    Out of the Archives


    As we crossed the summit the pavement ended and we did a little slipping and sliding on a muddy surface for a block or two before the gravel road became more stable.
    The road was mostly clear of snow, but it was extremely wet
    and muddy.

    As we approached the bottom of the hill we came across another muddy spot with several cars and trucks parked on both sides of the road.
    We saw
    snowmobile tracks in the adjacent farm field, but no activity as we continued toward Waterville.

    Waterville is another town with several turn-of-the-century buildings.
    We took a short drive through town and stopped at a convenience store for a rest stop. This would be our last stop before parting company so we said our goodbyes even though we would be traveling together for a few more miles. We took Highway 2 down the canyon to the Columbia River and followed it into Wenatchee where we went our separate ways.

    It was sure neat that folks came to Central Washington in the winter, and with such short notice, too.
    Considering the fog and limited visibility we still managed to have a good time. It's the people who make a trip especially enjoyable!
    My special thanks to my wife, Evelyn, to Gary &
    Sheila and to Richard & Jan for being such good company and great sports.

    Jerry


    Jerry
    Reading and Riding Northwest Backroads
    K7PNW

  3. #3
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    Thanks for sharing Jerry. Too bad there's no pictures. I also wonder if the 'Dick and Janes' house is still there.
    Ted
    2006 Jeep Liberty, pretty much stock. But well stocked when I travel!

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    I couldn't help but laugh about "no pictures" because the entire morning was gray and foggy. But, it did clear up a little in the afternoon. Sorry about the lack of photos.

    We haven't been past Dick & Jane's Spot for at least 5 years so don't know if it is still the same or not. I heard they moved and if so, I hope the new owners continue with the theme. It certainly is different!!!!!!!!!
    Jerry
    Reading and Riding Northwest Backroads
    K7PNW

  5. #5
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    Haha, guess I need to improve my comprehension skills, lol. I asked about Dick and Jane's because there was a similar place in Centralia about ten years ago that has since changed.
    Ted
    2006 Jeep Liberty, pretty much stock. But well stocked when I travel!

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