Day 5 – Wallula Gap & Palouse Falls

I’m on the bus again, about an hour out from returning to Spokane. It’s been our last day on the road and I’m ready to do the whole route again.

We started off the day with a pretty funky breakfast at the hotel – one of those continental breakfasts that look good but don’t end up so good. They did have a great variety – from pastries to cold cereal to eggs to even biscuits and gravy.  We all loaded up with food, loaded up the bus, and headed out at 8:00 a.m.

Our first stop was back to the west of Walla Walla at a small site commemorating a local Indian tribe, but I was more interested in the plants growing around. One of the men on the bus knows and *lot* about native plants and I just found out on our last day…

at Wallula GapNext was a stop at Wallula Gap where all the flood waters converged and left Washington proper to flow on down the Columbia between Oregon and Washington. We all got to hike up to the Twin Sisters and get some incredible views of the Columbia.  It was a bit spooky climbing the loose rocks in parts, but one of our participants is a bit wobbly with a cane, and if *she* could make it then so could I. Perhaps the funniest part was climbing over or under a group of barbed wire strands to get onto the path up the side of the hill.  I decided to be inelegant and just crawl under on my hands and knees – it worked great!  A few people wouldn’t cross the barbed wire and they really missed out.

Twin Sisters

After the Gap it was back east to Lowden and then heading north toward Eureka (not sure of the road number). We stopped at a small Lewis and Clark spot and then back on the bus and we were heading east on 124 to Waitsburg. We merged on to road 12 and went and into the town of Dayton.

The little town of Dayton was charming! We’ve gone through a  lot of small, old towns and many of them are sooo small and sooo run down… but not Dayton. It had very wide streets, people riding around on bicycles and a lot of appeal. I might be tempted to live there!

MonkeyWe had lunch at the Weinhard Cafe in Dayton and it was quite good. There were a few wooden marionette monkey puppets in the walls of the Cafe and for some reason I found them quite charming. The cafe was expecting us and even then I think we overwhelmed them a bit. A group of us wanted to get out and explore the city a bit, so we intentionally sat closest to the kitchen. We did get our food first, and our dessert first, and we were out the door before 1/3 of our group even got their food.

I wandered the town a bit looking for interesting buildings.  As we left I looked over at the Café and their “closed” sign was out!  It was 2:15.

After lunch we headed north on 12, took a left turn toward Starbuck (sorry, not Starbucks; and the town was so small I’m not sure there was even a coffee pot there, let alone an espresso machine).

Palouse FallsOur bus continued a bit on 261 to the Palouse Falls. Several folks here said it was a great culmination to our trip and it did not disappoint! We even lucked out and got a rainbow at the bottom of the falls – the water drops 198 feet high. Pretty neat and well worth a stop.

And finally? Back on the bus, heading north to Ritzville and I-90 and here I am, typing right now.

We’ve got dinner at 6:45 tonight, an evening in the hotel, breakfast tomorrow morning and that’s it. Kinda sad to see it ending as groups of people are starting to gel now.

Dinner was actually a little teary-eyed. We ended the evening by singing America the Beautiful (surprisingly touching) and giving out lots of email addresses and hugs. I think I could be a true friend with a lot of these folks and now I wonder if I’ll ever see them again…

Kathy @ Palouse Falls

All in all a fabulous trip.
Would I do it again? In a heartbeat!
Was it worth the money? Unquestionably. 
Will I be doing more Road Scholar trips?  Just try and stop me!

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3 thoughts on “Day 5 – Wallula Gap & Palouse Falls

  1. I thoroughly enjoyed reading your trip journal and viewing all of the photos! My IAF trip blog can be found at: Whereintheworldisrosered.Blogspot.com Maureen

    • Maureen: You found my blog! I’m still a little overly-excited about our trip together. I’ve signed up for another one in December and my wish list is about full! And you’d be proud – I downloaded a GeoCaching app to my iPhone!

  2. Thanks for the posting. I did this trip in 2010 and it was fun to relive the adventure. I write a travel blog http://www.destinations-northwest.blogspot.com and have an article called the Scablands of Eastern Washington. It’s not a day-by-day travel narrative from the trip, but includes many of the same photos and information. I am constantly surprised how little people know about this amazing event and its importance in forming much of the northwest’s geography.

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