On Saturday and Sunday, January 10-11, 2009, we drove the length of Highway 17, from a bit north of Pasco to a bit north of Bridgeport, via the Coulee Corridor.
State route No. 17:
A state highway to be known as state route number 17 is established as follows:
Beginning at a junction with state route number 395 in the vicinity of Mesa, thence northwesterly by way of the vicinity of Moses Lake, and Soap Lake, to a junction with state route number 2 west of Coulee City; also
From a junction with state route number 2 in the vicinity west of Coulee City, thence northerly by way of the vicinity of Leahy, crossing the Columbia river in the vicinity of Bridgeport, thence northwesterly to a junction with state route number 97 east of Brewster.
Saturday evening, we started out near the town of Mesa at junction of SR 17 and US 395. It's getting dark, but here we go!
Seven miles up the road, onto the grand flatness that is the Columbia Plateau, we find the junction with SR 260.
It's getting dark as we arrive at Othello and SR 26, so we stop for the night. Casa Mexicana has tasty food.
The next morning, we continue north past fields and . . . fields. And then, SR 170.
Down SR 262, twelve miles or so, is Potholes Reservoir. Someday, I'll go there. Too cold today.
Ten minutes later, we return to civilization: I-90!
We're at Moses Lake, but SR 17 swings wide right. SR 171 will take you back into town, if you want. SR 171 is also supposed to go 25 miles east to Odessa, but that part hasn't been built yet.
And then it got foggy. Remember to be careful when you get to this junction, or else you'll take SR 282 to Ephrata instead of continuing to Soap Lake on 17. Very difficult, trust me.
The fog lifted slightly by the time we arrived at SR 28, just before Soap Lake. "Stop: Look again: Side traffic does not stop." Soap Lake itself is rather nice. Frozen, though.
Up the Lower Grand Coulee, past Blue Lake (which should be called White Lake during the winter), past Dry Falls (quite nice in any season), Highway 17 hits a tee at US 2. We've been here before, just last year. There was snow on the ground then, too. Hmm. I guess it's always like this.
A bit to the west, SR 17 restarts, leaving US 2 behind.
We've left the Grand Coulee behind, too, back to the fields and fog. SR 172 will take you to Mansfield, which is really out in the fields.
Oh, look! Hills! Take a right and you can head over to Grand Coulee Dam on SR 174. But the short way would have been to keep going north-northeast back at Coulee City. . .
Highway 17 is almost over. Chagrin. We're down to the Columbia River at Bridgeport. Here's SR 173, which will take you down the left bank.
But we cross the mighty Columbia and head down the right bank a few miles till Highway 17 finally is finished at US 97.
Our snowy trip is at an end (well, except for making our way home, that is). Coulees and ice-covered lakes are scenic, I do declare. The fog hurt my eyes, though.