On Saturday, August 31, 2013, we drove up Washington Highway 243 alongside the Columbia River in scenic Grant County.
A state highway to be known as state route number 243 is established as follows:
Beginning at a junction with state route number 24 north of its crossing of the Columbia river, thence westerly and northerly by way of Arrowsmith and Beverly to a junction with state route number 26 south of the Columbia river bridge at Vantage.
Where SR 24 turns right, SR 243 begins. SR 24 used to be the "straight" at this intersection, but WSDOT completely rebuilt it when they realized that SR 243 gets three times as much traffic as the section of Highway 24 from here to Othello. You didn't want to go to Othello, did you?
With the cliffs of the Columbia across the river, west and then north we drive. We pass the Priest Rapids Dam and the free-flowing Columbia River is no more. Apple orchards and more orchards, then some vinyards. Broad, blue Columbia. Brown cliffs, green trees. Bright and sunny. At fourteen miles in, we're halfway done, so here's a photo near Mattawa.
We head into the Sentinel Gap, where the Columbia cuts through the Saddle Mountains. The rocky cliffs tower above us. A boat-hauling pickup truck is going 35 mph in a 60 mph zone. Oh, that's safe. Breaking out the other side of the gap, we pass Schwana and Beverly, but I have no idea where Arrowsmith (as mentioned in the code above) used to be. We go up and over some cliffs at the Wanapum Dam, then we're quickly at the junction with SR 26 at the mouth of Sand Hollow. Nice place for a swim.
Our highway is over. Another sunny day in eastern Washington. Go have some fun.