Joe and Nancy

Joe and Nancy
Our Home on Wheels (Click on image above for our web albums.)

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Grand Coulee Dam, WA

 After our little morning tour with Andrianna in the company town of Newhalem, we drove the big wheels through the park on HWY 20 headed for Glacier NP.  We knew we couldn't make it that far, after getting a late start, around 1230, so we looked for a place to overnight.  The dam was a little too far for us to drive today so we spent the night in Kellogg, ID.  We had never heard of Kellogg, ID, but we soon found out, from the ladies inside the Big Fat Greek Cafe, where parked overnight, that Kellogg had an interesting history.
From Wiki:  Kellogg is a city in the Silver Valley of Shoshone County, in the Idaho Panhandle region. The city lies near the Coeur d'Alene National Forest and about 36 miles east-southeast of Coeur d'Alene along I-90. As of the 2010 census, the city had a total population of 2,120, down by a third from its population in 1980. 
Bunker Hill Smelter
Kellogg is named after a prospector named Noah Kellogg. Legend has it that his donkey wandered off during the morning of September 4, 1885; Kellogg found the animal at a large outcropping of galena, which became the site of the Bunker Hill and Sullivan Mines; those mines led to the founding of Kellogg, a city where a local sign reads "This is the town founded by a jackass and inhabited by his descendants." Noah Kellogg is buried in the city's cemetery.
The town boasts that they have the longest gondola in the world, as well as the being home to the world's largest Dodge dealership, Dave Smith Autos.  I can believe that.  There were new trucks & cars parked all over the city in unused lots.
The Bunker Hill Mine smelter (above pic borrowed from on-line) caused a lot of controversy thru the years as a major polluter in the valley.  Sunshine Mine was the site of one of the US's worst mining disasters in 1972.  There were 91 souls lost as a result of the fire inside the mine.
So, there you have a little bit of history of our stop-over in Kellogg, ID.
 We were lucky, according to the dam operators, that we were there during one of the dam's rare moments:  The water level was so high that it was flowing over the entire dam.  Apparantly, this happens very infrequently.  Canada was experiencing flooding rains and snow melts, at the origins of the Columbia River, and it was all coming to the dams in Washington, including Chief Joseph Dam.
From Wiki:  Grand Coulee Dam is a gravity dam on the Columbia River in Washington built to produce hydroelectric power and provide irrigation. It was constructed between 1933 and 1942, originally with two power plants. A third power station was completed in 1974 to increase its energy production. It is the largest electric power-producing facility in the United States and one of the largest concrete structures in the world.
 Nancy went on the dam tour (sorry) as I stayed up on top and enjoyed the hour of beautiful morning weather and watching this bald eagle looking for breakfast.
We parked our rig at the town's volunteer fire departments parking lot, thanks to Batallion Chief Paris' invite.  All the campgrounds were full (at least the ones we would stay at), so we accepted the invite.  Above pic is the little shack on top of the dam where folks went thru a TSA-type of personal search and pat downs.  Really!  Security was intense!  Homeland Security paces this dam #5 on the US hitlist for terrorists.  Didn't know that!  Note our rig parked in the background.  Pretty tight up there.
Above, across the tailrace waters is the visitor center.  Neat building with lots of exhibits and history of the dam construction.  Below, one of my in-flight pics of the bald eagle.
 Clean turbine room.
 View from the top.
 Above, the little town of Coulee, where the "upper crust" during the construction days housed and carried on daily life with their families.
 Way above us on top of the hill from the parking lot, the eagle decided to perch for rest & look-see on all the goings-on below in the parking lot.  We snapped a few pics of him.
Well, so much for our short stay in Grand Coulee.  However, we seem to packing a lot of "venturing" in our visits these days.  Making memories I guess is what it's all about.  So, until next time, RVing Beach Bums out and headed for Glacier NP.