From Spokane, Washington we get rain in and out of the mountains, travel through the panhandle of Idaho, into Montana, across a big gorge, on to Kalispell and Flathead Lake in Bigfork, Montana. Our hiking buddy and good friend, Tara, with whom we taught in Hong Kong lives in Bigfork.
Tara has beautifully decorated a lovely home in Bigfork. She shows us the small town and we take a hike along the Swan River. A thundershower interrupts the hike, but we wait it out under a tree for 15 minutes as it passes over.
In the pictures below, you'll see the 'gum tree' where people stick their chewing gum as they walk by - who knows why and how something like that gets started??
Our journey starts with a fog shrouded, cool coast line as we take the ferry from Vashon Island to Tacoma, Washington. I never realized the geographical diversity of the state of Washington but as the day proceeded it was a wonderful surprise.
Away from the coast we travel on Highway 2 through the Cascade Mountains with some light rain, cool temperatures, and great views.
Once through the mountains the plains open up to vast wheat fields - no trees as far as you can see, just plains. The wheat is waving in the wind and it must be dry land farming as we don't see any irrigation.
The next terrain looks more like the desert southwest with it's small canyons and dry desert.
We stayed at a family motel outside of Spokane and walked a long way to stretch the legs and ended up at this great diner in a real railroad car. http://franksdiners.com/