On Saturday and Sunday, July 4-5, 2009, we drove Washington State Route 23 from the quiet town of Steptoe to the the quiet town of Harrington.
State route No. 23:
A state highway to be known as state route number 23 is established as follows:
Beginning at a junction with state route number 195 in the vicinity north of Colfax, thence northwesterly to a junction with state route number 90 at Sprague; also
From that junction with state route number 90 at Sprague, thence northwesterly to a junction with state route number 28 at Harrington.
We started driving so late in the afternoon that the sun was all the way around to the northeast. Or so you might think if you didn't know that "north" on SR 23 is actually quite a bit west in reality. The lovely bit of concrete crossing this photo is US 195. And off we drive into the rolling hills and channeled scablands of eastern Washington.
Google Maps had told me that the first 43 miles of Highway 23 would take me over an hour to drive, so I was all set to take a "halfway" photo. But then I discovered the highway is 55 mph for most of the way, so it would only take 45 minutes or so to get through the scenic landscape to the freeway. Ergo, no "halfway" photo. We spent the night at Sprague Lake, just before this juntion with I-90. Sprague Lake has a multitude of of fish, which brings the boaters, and a multitude of birds, which makes it sound like you're waking up in a jungle when dawn comes around. There was also a multitude of insects, but the repellent worked, so long as you spread it everywhere.
A few seconds past the freeway on our Sunday morning drive, SR 23 has an intersection with SR 231. It goes thataway.
Past farmlands galore and a couple creek coulees, Highway 23 turns west to Harrington, then north through town to this junction with SR 28, which marks the end of our journey. Harrington was incredibly clement this morning, so we hung out in their park for a while. Curiously enough, no one was around and only a couple cars were in the church parking lot. Perhaps we were too early for worship service.
Highway 23 was as quiet as I expected, with all the sleepy towns and farm fields that I expected to see, but I must say that I wasn't expecting the many mini-mesas around Ewan and elsewhere. Just a reminder of those Missoula floods, I suppose. You gotta watch out for those ice dams. . .