Unpacking? Exploring Chelan? No Contest!!

image of the view from Benson's Winery Chelan WA

Unpacking? Or Exploring Chelan? No Contest!

More unpacking into Little House? Or exploring Chelan with The Cousins? No Contest, it’s an easy choice. I’m always up for a trip. Unpacking can wait a day or three. Chelan it is. Wine tasting. Lady of the Lake. Campbell’s Resort. Decision made. Off we went for 3 days of exploring Chelan and the surrounding area.

Chelan it is. Wine tasting. Lady of the Lake. Campbell's Resort. #chelanfun #winemecca… Click To Tweet

Several routes can be followed to get from Spokane to Chelan, WA. All are two lane roads. Taking one route on the trip to Chelan and another on the return allowed us to see parts of WA State we had not seen for multiple years.

Harvest Dominated The Landscape

Our route to Chelan was Highway 2 to Coulee City, Hwy 17 North to Hwy 172 and then McNeil Canyon Road to Chelan. In each direction wheat harvest dominated the landscape.

image of combines harvesting wheat unpacking? exploring chelan? no contest www.happyhour786.com
Huge combines harvesting acres upon acres of wheat
image of rock outcroppings in wheat field unpacking? exploring Chelan? no contest www.happyhour786.com
Large rock outcroppings dot the landscape and create an obstacle course for combine drivers.

So Many Of These Tiny Towns Across The U.S.

The tiny town of Mansfield sits alone among the wheat fields and is kept alive largely because of the grain industry. With a population of less than 350 people it’s history dates back to the late 1800’s.

image of Oil Can Larry's unpacking? exploring chelan? no contest www.happyhour786.com
Oil Can Larry’s is just one of the interesting photo ops in this tiny town.

Just think how many tiny towns like this criss cross our nation, filled with long histories of farm families. Each with their own untold story. How interesting it would be to delve into some of those stories.

image of the main downtown street Mansfield WA unpacking? exploring chelan? no contest www.happyhour786.com
Mansfield WA. Just one of the many tiny towns like this that criss cross our nation.

We didn’t linger long in Mansfield as there were cousins and wine tasting waiting in Chelan. The Husband was astonished last week that (a) I’d never tasted Krispy Kreme donuts (he made sure I got initiated) and (b) that I’d never experienced a wine tasting. Guess I’ve lived some sheltered life??

A Wine Lovers Mecca!

Chelan is a mecca for wine lovers. Vineyards cover the hillsides and the list of local wineries is extensive.

image of grape vineyards unpacking? exploring chelan? no contest www.happyhour786.com
Grape vineyards cover the landscape rising up from the lake.

The Cousins had chosen Benson’s Vineyard and Estate Winery for our wine tasting and what a good choice!! Greeted and served by friendly, knowledgable staff, we sampled numerous options before making our choices. Once a choice was made we moved to the outdoor seating to relax and enjoy the wine and our family.

image of family at the winery unpacking? exploring chelan? no contest www.happyhour786.com
Enjoying sunshine and good wine with The Cousins. Doesn’t get much better than this.

The agenda for Day Two in Chelan was a trip to the head of the lake  on Lady of the Lake. The scenery on this trip was breathtaking.

image of residences on the banks of Lake Chelan unpacking? exploring chelan? no contest www.happyhour786.com
Homes dot the banks of the lake on both sides in the area accessible by road.
image of rugged mountains lining Lake Chelan unpacking? exploring chelan? no contest www.happyhour786.com
Rugged mountainous terrain lines Lake Chelan for miles.
image of snow at the top of the mountain Lake Chelan unpacking? exploring chelan? no contest www.happyhour786.com
Mid August and snow is still visible at the top!

Let’s Go To The Head Of Lake Chelan!

Due to mechanical issues Lady of the Lake wasn’t running the day we were scheduled to ride her. We were instead put on Lady Express. Although faster, this is a much smaller boat. Temperatures ranged between 95-100° all day. Our experience with the boat ride was not something I’ll care to repeat.

With insufficient seating both inside and out, we were crowded even before the boat stopped at Lucerne and picked up additional passengers. Only two small windows on the lower level were capable of being opened and none on the upper level opened. No fans. No air movement. For a 4 hour ride!!

Once at the head of the lake some passengers headed to the bus that would transport them to Rainbow Loop,  Stehekin and the trail head to the North Cascades. Others grabbed their bags and headed to the North Cascades Lodge where they planned to spend a couple days. Many, who, like us, were hot and tired after multiple hours on the boat in crowded, hot, uncomfortable conditions, headed to the Lodge at Stehekin Restaurant where cooling shade was provided by deck umbrellas and large old shade trees.

image of the deck at the Lodge Restaurant unpacking? exploring chelan? no contest www.happyhour786.com
Ahhh. . .Shade!!! A brief reprieve from the stifling heat of the ferry.

A Brief Layover At The Head Of The Lake

A cool glass of ice water and a light lunch was the choice of our group. Knowing we only had a brief layover before the return trip in that same overcrowded, stiflingly hot ferry we just couldn’t face the thought of climbing on the bus that headed to Stehekin proper.

image of the North Cascades Lodge at Stehekin unpacking? exploring chelan? no contest www.happyhour786.com
North Cascades Lodge at Stehekin

Campbell’s Resort, Another First For Me

Day Three we decided, before heading home,  to have lunch at Campbell’s Resort. Another place I’d never been even though I’ve lived in WA State most of my life. Family owned and operated (now 5th generation), Campbell’s know good food and good service. Lunch was delicious and affordable. Served by a friendly knowledgable wait staff it is a place we’ll return to again and again.

Walking back to The Cousins’ condo after lunch The Husband couldn’t resist a little fun with the crosswalk flags.

image of the husband as a crossing guard unpacking? exploring chelan? no contest www.happyhour786.com
The Husband tries out his hand as a crossing guard.

All New Views With A Different Route Home

Our trip home was via Hwy 97 North to Pateros, Brewster, Okanogan and Omak.

image of colors along Columbia River unpacking? exploring chelan? no contest www.happyhour786.com
A patchwork of colors along the Columbia River makes this a beautiful drive.

The orchards and vineyards lining the banks of the Columbia River make this drive particularly lovely  in late summer. Brewster and Bridgeport lie just downriver of Chief Joseph Dam, the second largest hydropower producing dam in the United States.

image of the Columbia River at Brewster WA unpacking? exploring chelan? no contest www.happyhour786.com
The mighty Columbia River at Brewster WA.

We stopped briefly at Okanogan WA to check out the fall sales at Rawson’s Department Store. Then it was on to get a few shots of a couple beautiful old local buildings.

image of the husband shopping at Rawson's unpacking? exploring chelan? no contest www.happyhour786.com
The Husband checking out the sales at Rawson’s.
image of old rock building Okanogan WA unpacking? exploring chelan? no contest www.happyhour786.com
This lovely old rock building is home to the United Methodist Church in Okanogan WA
image of Okanogan County Courthouse unpacking? exploring chelan? no contest www.happyhour786.com
Okanogan County Courthouse, Okanogan WA

Originally built in 1914 with the addition (on the right) added in 1950 this beautiful building houses the Okanogan County Courthouse.

We Avoided Road Construction But Not Accident Scenes

We then turned onto Hwy #155 to Nespelem and Grand Coulee where we found road construction and changed our plan. Taking the Almira Grade Road and Bagdad Road to Hwy 174 we managed to avoid all the new chip sealing but were stopped instead for an emergency scene.

image of highway emergency scene unpacking? exploring chelan? no contest www.happyhour786.com
Stopped for an emergency scene on Highway 174.
image of wrecked car unpacking? exploring chelan? no contest www.happyhour786.com
Dry straight road, clear sunny day. How does this even happen!!

And then we were back to unpacking boxes and Little House. Always good to be home but also so good to go on adventures. Thanks for joining us as we explore new places and see new things. We’d love to hear from you. Feel free to leave comments in the comment section below and share our blog. Have a great week. Links to more information about the Chelan area are at the bottom of this article.

In order for me to support my blogging activities this post may contain affiliate links. If you purchase through these links I receive a small compensation (at no extra cost to you). Full disclosure policy for www.happyhour786.com here.

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More about Chelan and the Lake Chelan area:
Hiking Info: https://www.fs.usda.gov/Internet/FSE_DOCUMENTS/stelprd3791142.pdf
Stehekin: http://www.stehekin.com
Holden Village: http://www.holdenvillage.org
Lucerne: https://www.fs.usda.gov/recarea/okawen/recarea/?recid=57257
City of Chelan: https://cityofchelan.us
Lake Chelan: http://www.lakechelan.com
Lady of the Lake: http://ladyofthelake.com
Campbell’s Resort: https://campbellsresort.com
Wineries: http://www.gotastewine.com/lake-chelan-wineries.php

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