The first leg of our summer road trip took us east across the state of Washington. We crossed from our western side of the state into the east on Snoqualmie Pass and then over the Columbia River at Vantage.
Each time I see that magnificent river, the song we sang with gusto in elementary school comes to mind:
“Roll on Columbia, roll on.
Roll on Columbia, roll on.
Your power is turning our darkness to dawn,
roll on Columbia roll on.”
From the river we began a journey through miles of cultivated lands, often driving the ribbon of roadway without passing any other vehicles. With the sun roof open we took in the smells as well as the sights: fresh cut grain, pungent mint, all the fresh, earthy smells that fill these miles of agricultural land.
The two-lane roadway held promise of new adventures just waiting to be discovered as we cast off the confines of the big city where we live.
We drove through charming – non-tourist towns – among them, Creston, Wilber, Reardon. . .each with a wonderful sense of community communicated through highway signs advertising civic events and celebrating youth.
And each with its own distinct grain elevator and storage facility prominently towering over the town.
During our pre-trip research I’d found a motel in Davenport, the county seat of Lincoln County, just 33 miles west of Spokane that prompted at least a stop for lunch in its wonderful cafe. We ate at the Black Bear Cafe, a part of the Black Bear Motel.
The restaurant was a trip back into history – our meals were served in aluminum pans – reminiscent of the tin pans of olden days.
I’ve got to tell you this town was charming. It's courthouse belongs in a Norman Rockwell painting.
Our trusty maps hadn’t let us down – we were off the beaten track in the midst of Washington's agricultural heartland -- and we were having a blast..