We returned to the rig from Leavenworth and the Icicle Creek area to refresh, pack a picnic, check on Packwood and head on down the road to Grand Coulee Dam which is about 100 miles from Wenatchee.
It was a very interesting drive thru eastern Washington farm country that very much reminded me of the plains states. Huge farms and wide open spaces with a small town every now and then. This is a whole different culture and way of life than anything that I've ever experienced. It's hard for me to imagine living in such remote areas where your nearest neighbor might be many miles away, but they probably can't imagine living any other way. It would take very hardy and self reliant people to live this life, and they have my respect for the lives that they live and the food that they produce for all of us, and for that matter for the whole world.
There is a laser light show every night at 9:30 pm at Grand Coulee Dam and that was what our goal was. The drive from Wenatchee took about 1 1/2 hours and we arrived at about 8:35 pm, in plenty of time to eat our picnic before the show started. Lots of people there to see this very special show. Nancy has seen it several time before and told me that it is like no other show that I've ever seen. It started right on time and told the story of the Columbia River as it evolved over time to the present as well as the story of this dam and the others that are a part of the harnessing of the Columbia River for hydro-electric power and irrigation. The show was shown on the water spill way. What a huge project this was in 1932-33 when this dam was built. 81 people died during the construction of this dam. There are 8 dams on the Columbia. Eleven towns are under water from the building of the dam. The dam is the 8th wonder of the world. The largest concrete structure in North America and remains the third largest power producer in the world. It is Washingon's 2nd largest tourist attraction, next to Mr. Rainier.
The only other laser light show that I'd seen prior to this one was at Stone Mountain near Atlanta, Georgia, but this one was better than that. Nancy was right in that it was like no other show that I'd seen and was well worth the drive to see. After the show we spent some time in the Visitor Center until they closed it for the night.
What a tribute this project is to the engineering prowess that was required to pull this off during the Depression years. Many jobs were created, and the power and irrigation produced allowed for the continuing development of the west to what it is today. I wonder some times if we may have over extended this development beyond what the available water can sustain during an extended period of drought, and what would happen if there just wasn't enough water to go around. Not a pretty thought!