Let me say right away that this is a family picture-dense story of our visits as we wound our way home from our 7-week trip across the country. We traveled many miles to see “stuff”, but we also spent some quality time with family. As many have said in comments throughout this trip, we are so lucky to have a way to not only see amazing sights throughout the country but also visit family and friends along the way. It doesn’t happen without serious planning and ensuring our route includes these heart-warming stops.
With everything falling into place for Friday, October 7 for a visit with my great-grandchildren, we left early from Don and Wynn’s home in Spokane. The trip on this section of Highway 2 between Spokane and Davenport would be the last of our magnificent trip across the northern part of the United States. Highway 2 continues west over the Cascade Mountains to the Pacific Coast near Seattle and is another stretch with magnificent scenery I have traveled many times over the years.Lincoln is a tiny community on the shores of Lake Roosevelt, the dammed portion of the Columbia River east of Grand Coulee Dam.
The lake is long and surprisingly deep with the depth of the portion near Deanna’s house more than 200 feet. The nice thing about this area around Roosevelt Lake is that the cold snowy winters of Eastern Washington are moderated a bit. The National Park Service operates 35 recreation areas along the 660 miles of shoreline and the adjacent hills are dotted with vacation homes for Spokanites searching for a bit of relief from the late winter to enjoy a bit of springtime that comes earlier along the shores of this lake. Lincoln is about half an hour from the closest community of Davenport where Deanna and Keith can get a few groceries and eat at a small restaurant. The big box stores of Airway Heights west of Spokane are less than two hours away if needed. The two of them have created a lovely life in this rural spot with a home and small acreage surrounded by open space and wildlife.
The sheep are an interesting addition to their property, coming down from the cliffs nearby to nibble on whatever tasty goodies might be in the yards and gardens of the residents. A small herd wanders almost daily through Deanna and Keith’s place. It is fun to see them, and many are wearing trackers.
The best part of this location for the family is that it is within driving distance from Wenatchee where the great-grandkids live with their mom Tracey. My grandson Steven lives just an hour north with his new wife Stormi as well. It is all about family, and when Deanna and Keith decided to retire from trucking, this was the spot they chose to be. Keith is retired, working part-time locally, and Deanna is working from home. It is a good fit for everyone.
We parked the MoHo in the driveway, perfectly level, and hooked up the power to their 20 amp outlet. The temperatures were pleasant with no need for using the air conditioner so 20 amp was completely adequate for the small amount of time we spent inside. Most of the day was spent in the house with the family.
I was excited that we could visit, and even more excited that Tracey did some fancy maneuvering to get the kids out of school on a weekday so that I could get hugs and love from my great-grandkids. This was the reason Mo and I slowed down and took a few extra nights along our route as we approached Washington State.
The kids had worked on a painting for me and decided that I wouldn’t have space enough for three so they collaborated on a painting with each kid doing a section. Happy Birthday to me! I think I spent that day completely immersed somewhere in the middle of New York City. I had completely forgotten that I had a birthday, so this, and the cake Deanna made was a sweet surprise.
We also got to listen to Orion play his flute which he is very good at with some years of band behind him. He is also now learning the Saxophone for his high school jazz band and played that for us as well.
We spent the day laughing and playing with the kids and enjoying the view. I don’t get to see these kids nearly as often as I would like with several hundred miles between us. It was a special day.
Loved seeing how much Orion has grown, now 14 years old and in high school
The kids stayed overnight, and the next morning Deanna and Keith cooked a big country breakfast for everyone with all the fixings, including some yummy cranberry muffins. We had more sweet family time, enjoying the view and taking more photos before Mo and I continued toward more family visits in this part of Eastern Washington.
Mo’s brother Don, whom we visited the previous day in Spokane, bought a recreational piece of property near the confluence of the Spokane River and Lake Roosevelt near the community of Fort Spokane. He wanted to share his new place with us and show Mo all his plans for creating a family getaway not far from their home in town.
Mo and I traveled north along the beautiful road to Fort Spokane, enjoying the amazing views. Currently, the property is a work in progress but it was fun visiting and hearing Don’s plans for the future.
Our day continued with another half hour north of Fort Spokane to Gifford, Washington, where my grandson Steven lives with his new wife Stormi. It was wonderful seeing Steven again and hearing his stories about living on a small homestead. Steven is very much into permaculture, organic gardening, and growing as much of his own food as he can on his small hillside acreage with an amazing view of Lake Roosevelt.
Steven’s property isn’t far from the Gifford Campground on the lake. Mo and I took Mattie there for a bit of time at the lake so she could run around before we took the steep road up to Steven’s place.
Theron takes after his daddy with his love of gardening. He was very proud of his carrots.
It was late afternoon when we returned to Deanna and Keith’s home for a wonderful supper of freshly caught trout on the grill. Yum. It was incredibly delicious.
With the kids gone and just the four of us, there was time for good conversations about family and life and all the good and all the challenging stuff that life can bring. I treasured the time with my daughter. Grandkids and Great Grandkids are great, it is wonderful to see them, but for me, there is nothing quite as special as daughter time. I am darn lucky to have three loving, beautiful, fabulous daughters. The other two are closer in distance but we are all as close as the phone and the internet.
On Sunday morning, Deanna went back to work in her cozy home office and Mo and I packed up the MoHo. We headed south from Lincoln by 8 am, on our way through Davenport toward Highway 395 and West Richland, a town in what is called the “Tri-Cities”, consisting mostly of Richland, Kennewick, and Pasco. Located on the Columbia River, the TriCities have grown exponentially since I lived in Idaho.
Mo’s sister-in-law Nancy, wife to her brother Roger who passed a few years ago, lives in West Richland and we didn’t want to miss another visiting opportunity. We didn’t stay long, but enjoyed the time at her home visiting and meeting her new pup. Nancy has often made the effort to travel south to Oregon to visit with us at Sunset House so we were glad we could stop in to get a hug and a bit of good conversation.
After our short visit, we continued south toward the Columbia River and west on I-84 toward Mo’s brother Dan and wife Chere’s place in Beavercreek, Oregon, a small community in the mountains east of Portland. We settled into another level paved site and enjoyed a fabulous dinner that Chere made for us. Tacos, Tostados, and all the fixin’s including some crock pot roasted jalapenos for a topping and fajita grilled chicken. So Yummy! Sometimes visiting friends and family gives us a chance for some great meals.
In addition, Mo’s brother Dan is a great fix-it guy and he and Mo settled in for the afternoon trying to troubleshoot the overheating MoHo, and the messed up levelers which hadn’t worked since we were somewhere in the Midwest. They were partially successful but needed at least part of another day to continue the work. We decided that instead of waiting around, I could take the Tracker and continue home first thing in the morning and Mo would come later with the MoHo.
The best part of this plan for me was that I got to drive south on I-5 and cross the six steep passes between Eugene and Grants Pass without stressing out about the rising temperature gauge in the MoHo. I stopped in to visit my youngest daughter Melody in Brownsville, just a hop off the freeway before continuing south.
The next morning, Mo and Dan flushed out the exterior of the radiator to see if that might help with the heating problem. Mo then headed south toward home, alone in the MoHo without me or Mattie for company. Even without the Tracker, the temperature gauge rose a bit over the steepest passes, but Mo was able to get home without incident.
That evening we celebrated the completion of our cross-country trip with a bottle of wine on the deck. Even in October, the temperatures were 91 during the day and evening sunset time on the deck was warm enough to sit outside without sweaters. Such a surprise.
With this final story, I am at the end of the long tale of our 8,150-mile trip. I realized that in the post where I talked about miles and days, I never added up the states that we traveled from late August to mid-October. We traveled to 28 states, including Oregon, Nevada, Utah, Wyoming, Nebraska, Missouri, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, West Virginia, Virginia, Maryland, Delaware, New Jersey, New York, Vermont, New Hampshire, Maine, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Wisconsin, Minnesota, North Dakota, Montana, Idaho, and Washington.
Just a little side note: In the next post, whenever I get around to it, I will tell the story of the overheating problem and the fix! So far so good, and we think the problem is solved.