Monday, April 28, 2014

Spontaneous Field Trip

I already told you about waking up to snow and needing to find flowers.  We didn't just go straight to the flowers; we meandered around the state a bit, exploring places we hadn't been in years.

Our first stop was Grand Coulee Dam.  It is the largest electric power-producing facility in the United States.  Justin and I had both been there several times, but it had been long enough that none of our children remembered it.  

Our Suburban can fit into each one of those spillway holey-ma-jiggys.  It is pretty gigantic (though Hoover is much taller).

My grandfather was an engineer on this and a bunch of other dams in the region.  It was fun to tell stories about him and think of he and Grandma throughout the day.

The dam has a great visitor's center.  It was very interactive, with light-up maps, buttons to push, virtual tours and even a jack hammer to try out!

Sometimes the 1930's-1950's seems like a not-too-distant past, but when looked at through at technology lens, it was a millennium!  

When the dam was built, it cut off the salmon passage upriver.  It was a huge controversy then and now.  One of the stations in the visitor's center was an interactive debate about irrigation/electricity vs salmon and native populations.  Interesting and the girls all learned a lot.  I love interesting and educational visitor's centers!

After the dam, we went to an amazing natural wonder.  It is called dry falls because that's exactly what it is: a dry waterfall.  A whole bunch of years ago, there was a humongous lake--bigger than the great lakes--over much of Idaho and Montana called lake Missoula.  When an ice dam broke (multiple times) it flooded toward the ocean.  These dry falls are bigger than Niagara. 

It was incredibly windy, the "barriers" were not very high (probably the originals built by the WPA in the 30's).  The one exception was this little bridge that wandered out onto a particularly exposed precipice.  Eliza tried, but only her eight year old sister was brave enough to make it all the way out.

I was a little (lot) freaked out, but worked hard to maintain my composure.

If you've never been to these two places, I highly recommend it.  And go now...Spring is the only time of year when these desert regions are pretty.

Even though there were lots of stops along the way, it was a lot of time in the car.

 After the apple blossoms, our final stop was supposed to be a tour of a candy factory.  The website said it closed at one time, but when we got there, they were taking down the open sign.  I tried to protest, telling her that their website said we still had plenty of time for a tour.  She just shrugged at me and closed the door.
And I wanted to buy some Aplets & Cotlets!

So, we wandered through town until we found a park to play and stretch our legs.

It was a wonderful day.

And, by the time we got home, the snow was all melted.
A great bonus.

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