When the temperatures around here creep toward the 90s and the air turns dry and dusty, people go “to the lake” and that’s exactly what this road trip is doing: It’s going to Lake Roosevelt. Leave Spokane by taking U.S. Highway 2 west through Reardan and on to Davenport, Wash. Instead of immediately heading north on state Highway 25 to Lake Roosevelt and Fort Spokane – the ultimate destination of the trip – make a stop in Davenport and visit the historical museum.
Sleeping Dog Wines. Kiona Vineyards Winery. Fidelitas Winery. Terra Blanca Winery. Most Washington wine nerds have heard of at least one of these places, but may not be aware that they are all conveniently located within short distances on Red Mountain, just west of the Tri-Cities. Yes, that’s correct, the Tri-Cities. Located at the far eastern end of the Columbia Valley wine region this relatively small and fairly new AVA – American Viticultural Area – is easy to find and access and produces a great variety of wine among the more than 20 vineries located there.
Stay ready for road excursions with these tips covering food, first aid and auto maintenance.
There is a place in the middle of Washington where sandhill cranes stop for a rest and a snack in the spring, before they continue their migration. They congregate in the fields and wetlands around Othello, Wash., where they stand around in flocks, omit throaty whoops, and suddenly take off in a flutter of giant wings and dangly legs, as if on a secret signal. Toward the end of March is prime crane watching time, but that doesn’t mean Seep Lakes and Potholes Reservoir Wildlife Areas aren’t worth a visit at a different time of the year.
That other game – the one with the clubs and cart – Steve Simmons calls it “ball-golf.” His game is disc golf. And while there are plenty of similarities, Simmons sees a few differences.
Summer vacation is over and it’s time for students across the Inland Northwest to write their “what I did this summer” essays. So, what did you do this summer? I know what I did: writing for this spot in the Monday paper I’ve driven close to 2,000 miles around the Inland Northwest, looking for road trip destinations. During that time, I watched the wheat ripen and I saw fresh hay bales the color of Granny Smith apples being stacked. I’ve assessed rumps of yearlings and squinted at a blue sky for a rain cloud that was never there. It seems like the sun was shining all summer – except for that brief hailstorm in Missoula. I’ve hiked through sagebrush for miles and miles, the sand and the rock so hot the scent of warm sage made me sneeze and think of beef stew.
The crowds will be withdrawing from the mountains today, leaving a colorful and solitary experience for a hiker heading into autumn on forest trails. Wise hikers wear bright clothing in fall, including cheap fluorescent orange caps or vests. But hunting seasons that opened this week shouldn’t deter hikers from the blazes of color – scarlet huckleberry bushes, yellowing larch – that peak around early October.
The drive from Spokane to Metaline Falls is worth the trip on its own. Highway 20 will take you along the Pend Oreille River, between the mountains rising on both sides as the road twists and turns its way toward Canada. Along the river there are many smaller resorts, some with rooms, some open for camping and RVs.
Probably, it’s too late for your kid to become the next Shawn Johnson, the 16-year-old darling of U.S. gymnastics. She started hitting the gym at age 3.
If you’re already in Metaline Falls, there’s an underground treat waiting for you just a bit farther north. In Crawford State Park – which is so close to the Canadian border that you can walk there – you’ll find Gardner Cave. “We are kind of in the Siberia of the Washington parks system,” said Julia Mathison, interpretive assistant at the caves. “I don’t have a TV signal, I have no Internet, no cell phones work up here, I barely have radio, but I love it out here.”