Lucy and I have spent a couple of weeks in the Spokane area over the past couple of years. It was kind of a shock to realize how much I feel at home being back here, it’s such a great city.
It’s a really spectacular city in a wonderful landscape. It verges a couple of degrees too close to the car-centric lifestyle (no traffic though) but it’s actually really mellow and civilized with amazing amounts of nature abounding. Hard to believe it but the combined metro area is like 3/4 millon people. The city is full of tall trees, mountains, waterfalls and lakes but things are spread out along the rivers, canyons, gorges and waterways. And people are so, so friendly and strike up conversations. Hard to leave, but we did.
The photos are from the Wild Horse Nat’l Monument where the I-90 interstate crosses the Columbia River. Surprisingly, the landscape just before and just after the river crossing is verdant farming land, some of the best wheat farms in the world.
We found the winds to be very high as we drove along the interstate. The wind farm on the barren land here powers 70,000 homes, there are around 300 windmills along all the ridges and mountaintops, all linked into the power grid. The Grand Coulee dams (on the Columbia below) generate so much power that they actually make up 30% of the entire USA‘s hydro power (nearly 8,000 megawatts). It’s the largest power plant in the nation.
Basically, Washington doesn’t use much non-renewable electric…
Oh yeah, and this project irrigates 3000 km2 of the aforementioned farmland too, but it has the unused capacity to irrigate another 1500km2 additional (if it was ever needed).