The seven wonders of the world are right here in the state of Washington. Come with me on my journey back to the 1970’s. Imagine you are a young girl of 20 and traveling in your 1949 Chevy truck. In the back you have your two dogs, Sam and Laddie. But up front on that sweating leather lie your books. Even Cowgirl Gets the Blues, Siddhartha, The Moosewood Cookbook, Rubyfuit Jungle, Delta of Venus, The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy to name a few. Taking your tent and sleeping bag, sun skirts, sarongs, gauzy linen shirts, a Panama straw hat, Indian blankets, red-winged boot, a guitar with a songbook of your favorite female songstress. Joni Mitchell’s Both Side Now, Judy Collin’s Since You Asked, of Linda Ronstadt’s The Moon is a Harsh Mistress.
You start to travel on Hwy 90, up the mountain pass at Snoqualmie to the windy town of Ellensburg, across to Vantage where the terrain begins to change. The wild horses are waiting for you on the other side of the Columbia River and you are ready to go for an adventurous ride. You will take another route, a little less traveled on Hwy 283 towards Ephrata where the tumble weeds blow in front of you all the way to Soap Lake. There you can cover your body in coal black mud and bake till it dries and cool off in Soap Lake which is not soapy but minerally. The sky is expansive and the slopes are rocky. Large mesa cliffs of lava rock jut high above you as you drive the curvy hwy to Coulee City. With the sweltering heat you might rest at Sun Lake’s Dry Falls. Peering down from the top of the Falls, you can imagine the largest water falls ever crashing and creating a strong mist of cool water. But now you are on Hwy 2 and starting to see the farm lands of Hartline, Almira, and Wilbur, Creston and Davenport. The waving wheat fields, the tornados made of dust and land as far as the eye can see. Taking a left on Hwy 25, the pine trees begin to pop up among the rolling hills of farms. Soon as Fort Spokane is in sight the Columbia River meets the Spokane River and you are on the Spokane Indian Reservation. You can sit on one of the bluffs and stare out to this incredible river. Watch the ospreys and bald eagles. Meditate on the goodness of the land.
Soon the sun is setting and you hop back into your truck and start the ascend towards the little town of Fruitland. Fruitland was first settled in 1880 by A.L. Washburn and Mr. Price. There was a presence of surviving apple orchards there. They placed an apple on the table and declared the region to be called Fruitland Valley. The post office was established in 1887 and still exist but in Mary’s convenient store. The screen door of Mary’s store jingles a sweet bell. Back in the 1970s, you could get your mail without an address. You could put your name and Fruitland, WA.
The most amazing views of the Columbia River are from the Hwy 25. There is a special spot that many of us free spirited types go to play in the that majestic river. One of them is Emerson Cove. From the Bible Camp Sign on Hwy 25, you go another quarter of a mile and take a left on a gravel road that winds down to the river. There are many twist and turns but soon you will settle down to a flat area of the river where you can launch a boat. The ground there is sandy but there are spots that have bentonite clay. You can take your clothes off and begin to rub the clay on your whole body. Bentonite clay is a healing clay made up of volcanic ash. When it dries, your skin will look like you have aged into your 80s but your skin will be so smooth when you wash it off in the river. You can lie for hours soaking up the sun and letting go of your toxins. There is a bay there that is wide and warm. The Orapakin River flows into that bay. If you have dogs, take them for a swim across the bay. No one will bother you there. There is nothing better that laying naked in nature.
But there is more to see in Fruitland and it is time for you to return up that road to the highway and travel on a road less traveled. The road is Lake Mugget. When you see it on your right, you better take it and follow it until you see Coyote Canyon Road on your left. When you travel on Coyote Canyon Road, go very slow, the gravel will get whipped up and you want to go slow. You will see many majestic trees Ponderosa Pines, Douglas Firs, Tamaracks, Spruces and Hemlocks among the hills. You will keep going pass the wooden mailboxes on the left and then pass the Gramers who have homesteaded there since 1800’s. But pass the Gramers, take a left and you will see the Honey House. There are fields of hay and horses lounging around. There are millions of insects buzzing with the bees. Listen and you will hear the Orapakin Creek . Follow the road that travels by the creek until you cross the creek and you will see a large field. You have to get out now. Take your dogs with you. There could be cougar, or bear or elk around. Definitely deer. But you are going on an adventure. An adventure with Desiree.
My book is called, “The Ballad of Desiree”