Spokane and Grand Coulee

Pic-08132013-001  We decided to make a trip out to Spokane to see Leslie and Chad and their three kids. Leslie is my cousin, and we last saw her in Maui in 2009. It was high time to see them again! This is what most of the trip looks like once you cross the Cascades. Pic-08132013-002  And this. Lots of this. Many farms. Pic-08132013-003  Sam was reading and cubing. Somehow he doesn't get sick. Pic-08132013-006  Ben and Mr. Purrfect kept up a constant stream of chatter except for the 6 minutes Ben was hiding under a pillow to "nap."
Pic-08142013-001  6 hours and 280 miles later we were there! Sam is helping build a marble tower for CJ who is 3. Pic-08142013-002  Goal was to get it taller than CJ - done! Pic-08142013-003  Off on an adventure to Livingstone's Rock Ranch - so excited! Pic-08142013-006  They are sweaty from playing hoops already :)
Pic-08142013-004  On the way out - some pretty countryside. We had to moo at cows, of course :) Pic-08142013-005  They looked up and listened! Pic-08142013-007  Even ones far away! Leslie and I were pretty loud :) Pic-08142013-008  There's cousin Leslie and Ben chomping lunch at the Rock Ranch.
Pic-08142013-009  We had lots of picnic supplies thanks to Leslie's pantry. Too funny Makena! Pic-08142013-010 Pic-08142013-011  CJ and Makena Pic-08142013-012  Grabbing my guy :)
Pic-08142013-013  Listening to Mr. Livingstone before going out on a dig. Pic-08142013-014 Pic-08142013-016 Pic-08142013-018  Black light is really cool - shows the fluorescence!
Pic-08142013-019 Pic-08142013-020  Going down to the dig site now, bags in hand and wondering what we will find. Pic-08142013-021  Mr. Livingstone's mine. He is actually mining through his earth. Pic-08142013-022  He enhances the soil with rocks of all kinds for the kids to find. 61 schools have been out on field trips in the last 6 weeks!
Pic-08142013-023  First finds! Pic-08142013-024 Pic-08142013-025  Peacock ore - we all liked that! Pic-08142013-026  CJ got into it, too!
Pic-08142013-027  Sam was so excited with his finds! The kids were all whooping when they found something, and raced to see each others' treasures. Pic-08142013-015  The big find of the day - calcite! Pic-08142013-028 Pic-08142013-029  Sam and Jordyn collaborating!
Pic-08142013-030  These guys were really hard to get back up to wash off their rocks. They didn't want to stop! Pic-08142013-031  Look at my feet!!! Pic-08142013-033  Washing up. Pic-08142013-034
Pic-08142013-036  Mommy's Pic-08142013-037  Sam's finds Pic-08142013-038 Pic-08142013-039  Look how dirty! We all loved it and didn't want to wash off the dirt! Sam, you look so cool!
Pic-08142013-040  Happy boys! Pic-08142013-032  The view from the parking lot. Pic-08142013-041  We were pretty high up on a hill, actually. Pic-08142013-042  Ice cream afterwards!!!
Pic-08142013-043 Pic-08142013-044  Yum! Pic-08142013-046  Ben and CJ LOVED shooting hoops in the lower hoop so they could DUNK! They played for more than an hour in the late afternoon heat. Wow! Pic-08142013-047
Pic-08142013-050  Again and again they shot! Pic-08142013-051  Look at Ben's feet! Pic-08152013-001  Makena can do this, too! Pic-08152013-002  See you soon, guys! That was an awesome visit! Chad - no pictures of you, how did that happen? :)
Pic-08152013-003  On the way back home we stopped at Grand Coulee Dam. I loved the drive out on route 2. Pic-08152013-004  Lots of very small towns. Pic-08152013-007  Lots of red barns. All the same color red. We wondered if there was a regulation "barn red" - probably! Pic-08152013-008
Pic-08152013-009  Finally at Grand Coulee! Immense! Second biggest dam in the world (biggest is in China). Pic-08152013-012 Pic-08152013-011  Inside on a tour. These pumps push water out to irrigate farmland. Pic-08152013-013
Pic-08152013-014 Pic-08152013-015  Now we're up on the spillway. Pic-08152013-016  Pretty far down there! Pic-08152013-017
Pic-08152013-019 Pic-08152013-020 Pic-08152013-021 Pic-08152013-022  Trying to have a picnic lunch before driving on and we were SWARMED by bees! They got this chicken thigh from Sam! We used it as a decoy but we were bummed, man!
Pic-08152013-023  Dam in the background. Met a nice family who had just moved there from Port Angeles. Her husband is the archaeologist for the dam. Pic-08152013-024  You know we had to go to the huge sand pile - dredged up during the building in 1936-1941. 12 million cubic yards of sand. Sam scampered up soooo fast. He is way out there! Pic-08152013-025  Off to get a sample of the sand! Pic-08152013-026  I'm partway up, only about a third of the way to where Sam is. You can see how high we are compared to the truck.
Pic-08152013-027  And there's Sam! Pic-08152013-028  He's got his sample and we're on our way down. Dam in background here. Pic-08152013-029  Very steep! Pic-08152013-030  Nice going, Sam, getting that sample of finer sand from up higher.
Pic-08152013-032  Yup, dirty again! Pic-08152013-033  Yeah, Hobbit feet! Pic-08152013-034  That's how high this sand pile is. Can you believe it? Sam was more than halfway up I think. Or about halfway. Pic-08152013-035  Especially handsome when dirty and sweaty :)
Pic-08152013-037  Boys were very happy to have visited this. Pic-08152013-038  Neat butte formations made when water rushed out from a glacier which had caused a dam. When the water rose high enough, the glacier floated up on the water, and the rushing water eroded the underside of the glacier, allowing a massive torrent of water to flow through. Pic-08152013-039  This is route 155 - taking this back down to route 2 so we don't have to backtrack. Very glad we did. This is Banks Lake. Pic-08152013-040
Pic-08152013-041  Then through Leavenworth on our way home. Starting to sprinkle. This is route 2 over the Cascades again. Pic-08152013-042  Stream alongside the road. Pic-08152013-043 Pic-08152013-045  Whew! Tricky going over Steven's Pass in heavy rain and fog, but we made it down through Seattle to the ferry, grabbed chowder for the ferry ride home and caught a nice sunset. Tired boys, but we had lots of fun. This was 7 hours of travel plus 2 hours at Grand Coulee. Long day but worth it!
Pic-08152013-046  Looking out to the Olympics. Pic-08152013-048  Happy guy - had a great time with you two! We actually had so much relaxed chatting time that we only listened to music for maybe 20 min during the whole trip. They are excellent companions. Pic-08152013-049  Showing Daddy all the loot from the Rock Ranch! Welcome home, guys! I love you!