After some serious spatial organization, I was able to pack the car with everything Daughter was bringing home. We ended up renting a small storage unit for some of her treasures that she will need in a month when she returns to college; truly needed items such as bedding and bicycle!
The oddest experience checking out of college was the financial overview. Daughter still had $65 on a meal card that if it wasn’t spent, it would go to the college. So off we went to the college store and food mall to spend her dough.
There were 4 for lunch, but that still left $48. At the store, we bought drinks, snacks, index cards, pens, pencils, electrical tape (that was for me), and assorted candies. After all was done, only $6.31 was left to the college. Not a bad spending spree for stuff that no one really needed.
Driving through central Washington we came upon Dry Falls. In the past (as in geological way past when), incredible floods washed through the area with strength, depth, and speed. An impressive falls was created–3.5 miles wide and 400 feet high– from the old Columbia River. At the time, this was the largest waterfall in the world. In comparison, Niagara Falls–at a mere 1 mile wide and 165 feet high–is literally a drop in the bucket.
I cannot explain how Dry Falls came to be, so following explanation was borrowed from Go Northwest!® gonorthwest.com ™
The falls were created following the catastrophic collapse of an enormous
ice-dam holding back the waters of what has named “Glacier Lake Missoula”. Water covering
three thousand square miles of northwest Montana, about the volume of Lake
Ontario, was locked behind this glacial dam until the rising lake penetrated,
lifted and then blew out the ice dam. The massive torrent (known as the
Missoula Flood) ran wild through the Idaho panhandle, the Spokane River Valley,
much of eastern Washington and into Oregon, flooding the area that is now the
city of Portland under 400 feet of water.
Reaching the Dry Falls area, this tremendous force
swept away earth and rock from a precipice actually 15 miles south of the falls
near Soap Lake, causing the falls to retreat to its present position, now known
as Dry Falls. The falls is said to be a spectacular example of “headward
erosion”. If this is confusing, given the present topography, it also helps to
know the falls are on an ancient course of the Columbia River. The river had
been diverted this way by the encroaching glaciers. It returned to its present
course as the ice retreated.
We drove through Electric City and end up in Coulee Dam where Grand Coulee Dam resides in all its glory. A few weeks ago, due to melting of the heavy snow in the mountains, there was water spilling over the top. But only a dribble when we got there (drats!). Apparently it is rare to allow spillage over the top, and we missed it!
Grand Coulee Dam was started in 1933 as a relief to the Great Depression in the United States and an effort to provide power to the northwest. The dam is the largest U.S. producer of hydro-electric power for Canada’s British Columbia province and many cities and states in the western United States. Besides power, the dam is a source of irrigation water for eastern Washington state. Without it, farming would be extremely limited. And let’s not forget the creation of Lake Roosevelt, named after Franklin Delano Roosevelt, 32nd President of the United States, who championed the project.
During the 8 year construction period, a world record for concrete pouring was achieved. 20 thousand cubic yards of concrete was placed in one 24-hour period. This records still stands today, over 70 years after the dam was completed.
Grand Coulee Dam stands today as one of the largest concrete structures in the world. The Three Gorges Dam in China is the largest, with over twice as much concrete used.
In 1951, jugs of water from all states and territories were simultaneously poured over the top of the spillway as a symbolic pouring ceremony. This ceremony was to demonstrate that everyone in the U.S. contributed to the project.
One of the more recent “traditions” (started in 1989) has been to project a laser light show on the spillway. Although we did not stay until 10 p.m. to watch this, I found a cool picture.