Grand Coulee, WA

9 09 2015
The Grand Coulee

The Grand Coulee – Steamboat Rock

We’re about 10 miles south of Electric City, WA and about 14 miles south of the famous Grand Coulee Dam on the Columbia River.  After spending 2 night in the North Cascades, we once again have a 2 night stay at Grand Coulee.  We’ll do some laundry, resupply from the local Safeway and attend the laser light show at the dam.

Steamboat Rock State Park hugs the shores of Banks Lake, a 27 mile long irrigation reservoir that is supplied with water from the Columbia River via a huge pumping station next to Grand Coulee Dam.  The park includes 3 campsite loops, a large beach and day use area, boat launches and a concession stand.   We’re parked on the Bay Loop in sites B18 & B19, both back-in sites with full hookups.  With almost constant irrigation, this park boasts beautiful, lush green belts around all of the sites.  All roadways, bike paths and parking areas are paved, with a gravel area beside each site with a picnic table and fire pit.

This 60 mile long ancient river bed – the “Grand Coulee” – has a fascinating history. Formed about 18,000 years ago, this huge scar was caused when water from Lake Missoula was released from behind a melted ice “plug”.  As the 2000 foot high wall of water rushed across the Columbia Basin it stripped away soil, cut deep canyons and deposited soils offshore from modern day Portland, OR.  This cycle was repeated many times during the Ice Age.

At the Grand Coulee Visitor Center, we’re reminded of how huge this dam and the overall Columbia River Project really is.  Grand Coulee has a capacity of nearly 9,000 megawatts of electricity making it the largest hydro-electric project in the US and 6th largest in the world.  Irrigation is supplied to over 600,000 acres of farmland.  The dam is constructed with over 12 million cubic yards of concrete, making it one of the largest man-made structures in the world.  The laser light show on Tuesday is a bit underwhelming – the light and sound show technologies seem to have left Grand Coulee behind.  They also offer dam and power plant tours during the day – next time we’ll take in a tour instead.

After Grand Coulee, we’ll continue west through Lewiston, ID to Hell’s Gate State Park.  More from Idaho…

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One response

15 09 2015
Judy

Hi Guys, we were at the dam about 2 weeks ago. We are motorcycling for 5 weeks through the northern states, down the coast to San Francisco and now we are in Nevada.
We had hoped to see Dave and Mary DeClutes on the way but they are booked. Lol
Glad you are enjoying yourselves.

Judy and Paul from Guadalupe RV/ Indiana

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