Kansas to Washington

by William Mclaughlin May. 20, 2014 5475 views

We left Kansas and entered Nebraska. This is what corn fields look like at this time of year. Not much going on! We camped in North Platte, where Bill got to tour the Union Pacific's huge switching yard, and then headed north and west along the edge of Nebraska's sand hill area.

This trip we decided to see the Scottsbluff area. This is Chimney Rock, one of the Oregon Trail's most famous landmarks. It lost a bit of its top to a lightning strike about 20 years ago, but it's still pretty impressive, and easy to see from a long way away!

This area of Nebraska is anything but flat.

We camped in a city park in Scottsbluff with a view of that famous formation. It was a beautiful campsite, and one we'll undoubtedly visit again.

After only a couple of days in Nebraska, we headed into Wyoming. We've been through Wyoming more than once, but never up the eastern side. This was a new route for us. We were hoping for a good Wyoming experience. Earlier visits haven't been at the top of our list!

So far so good. Any day with trains is a good one for Bill!

Driving north on Highway 25. We had fantastic weather, found a nice campsite outside of Casper, and thoroughly enjoyed our two days in Wyoming. What a relief! We've found a part of Wyoming we love!

The forecast for southeastern Montana called for heavy rains. We ran into a little rain on the way in to Montana, but nothing serious. We sat out a couple days of rain and light snow in Harding, but it was only because we wanted to take a break, not because we were pinned down by weather.

Montana has some beautiful farmland.

The Rocky Mountains! The Rockies are different every place you look. Southern Wyoming's Rocky Mountain area is a huge plateau at about 9,000 feet above sea level, and you wouldn't know you were anywhere near a mountain. But Montana has the quintessential Rocky view. Gorgeous!

Of course mountains like that mean high elevation and mountain passes. We hit some stormy weather heading west!

The Continental Divide. Rain that falls on the east side of this line flows to the Atlantic and the Gulf. Rain that falls on the west side flows to the Pacific.

Our first west-flowing river in many months!

We camped in three places in Montana, and headed into Idaho on May 10th. Notice the little green sign. Back in the Pacific time zone!

It's only 80 miles or so across northern Idaho, and we got to Washington in no time.

After staying a couple nights at Fairchild AFB, we headed west again toward home. We were entertained by a crop duster somewhere in Eastern Washington.

Dropping into an ancient coulee just east of Wenatchee.

The Cascade Mountains form a beautiful backdrop for these Washington farms!

We last saw the Columbia River at Astoria, Oregon, eight months ago. While driving along this road we wondered if we'd seen anything quite so spectacular during our entire eight-month trip!

The Wenatchee Valley is home to some of the world's best fruit, especially apples. These are apple boxes stacked and ready to be loaded with fruit in the fall.

All that green along the valley floor and up the sides of the hills isn't grass … it's an immense apple orchard! Next time you eat an apple from Washington, think about the view it had while it was growing!

Our last stop before getting home was a campground just outside Leavenworth, Washington. Do you see Mandy sitting on the dashboard surveying her kingdom?

The little town of Leavenworth has been made up to look like a Bavarian village. It's been a highly successful move on their part! People visit Leavenworth at all times of the year.

Yellow wildflowers carpet the hills as we drive up the east side of the Cascade Mountains.

There's still snow near the top of the pass!

We took Highway 2 across Washington, which took us across Stevens Pass.

Almost home. Only a couple miles away! Just look at those cedar trees hugging the side of the road.

Back at our home campground, all set up and ready for a summer of relaxation … and no driving! A big trip for us during the next few months will be heading into Seattle to see friends and family, and we'll just do it in the car. The motorhome will sit until next fall, when we plan to do this all over again!

We have one of those RV maps where we keep track of the states we've been through in the motorhome. This trip's route is marked in red. Do you see it? here's a timeline so you can get a sense of what we did:

We left home in the middle of September, 2013.
September 28, 2013 - Crater Lake, Oregon
October 10, 2013 - Reno, Nevada
October 21, 2013 - Palm Springs, California
November 27, 2013 - Tucson, Arizona
December 18, 2013 - San Antonio, Texas
December 28, 2013 - McAllen, Texas
March 1, 2014 - Galveston, Texas
March 7, 2014 - Livingston, Louisiana
April 1, 2014 - Pensacola, Florida
April 6, 2014 - Vicksburg, Mississippi
April 16, 2014 - Kansas City, Kansas
May 2, 2014 - North Platte, Nebraska
May 10, 2014 - Spokane, Washington
May 13, 2014 - back home again!

We drove 8,008 miles in just under eight months. That might seem like a lot, but consider this: We don't drive more than 200 miles on any given day. 8,000 miles in 8 months is 1,000 miles a month, and that's only five days of driving out of every 30 days.

We're already talking about our route for next year's trip! :)

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