Our next stop of the day was the the Grand Coulee Dam. Now I never knew this dam existed and was even more surprised to learn that it's bigger than the Hoover Dam. It was built after that one, and was part of the work program following the Great Depression. This one is on the Columbia River and provides electric power for a broad area of the northwest US. There is a wonderful Visitor's Center with all kinds of interactive display and history.
We arrived in Spokane with time to wind down at our hotel before enjoying a "champagne dinner" with our group. This was a Red Lion Hotel and it sprawled along the banks of the Spokane River which was running fast and high. A combination of snow melt and heavy rains had the river out of its banks in some places. Graham and Bill are discussing the intensity of the flow!
I really loved Spokane. The climate is wonderful - nice and cool. And the flowers are splendid! All along the river bank were wild looking bushes with fragrant flowers fully in bloom. Around the bend from our hotel is the Gonzaga University. Its most famous alumnus was Bing Crosby!
The hotel gardner has a big job keeping track of all the landscaping. There were beds of flowers everywhere. The rhododendrum were magnificent, and the irises were just starting to bloom. In the front of the hotel are hanging baskets with these lovely purple and scarlet and white blossoms dripping from the branches. We saw these at Butchart Gardens in Victoria a few years ago and still don't know their names! Aren't they gorgeous?
Here is one of the flower beds with purple rhododendrum and read and white impatiens. I couldn't identify the purple poms or the yellow flowering bush. I couldn't get enough of the flowers. What I would give for a vase and some shears!
Bill and I picked up the habit of walking the grounds both morning and evening and we made friends with this little critter right away. He's called a Marmot and looks like a cross between a squirrel and a ground hog. Tuesday morning after breakfast we discovered he had "tenants" living in his hole! There were eight or nine little marmots out looking for food. I had to run back to my room and bring a package of crackers to share with them!
As we left Spokane our driver took us across a bridge upstream from where our hotel was. Remember the rushing high water behind the hotel? Here is where it was coming from! I wouldn't want to be crossing that footbridge! The power of the water was palpable even inside the bus. This was just the first of many waterfalls we were to enjoy in the days ahead.