Saturday, September 29, 2018

Driving from Spokane to Walla Walla

Yesterday we drove from Spokane to Walla Walla.  The route we chose was direct, but not necessarily efficient.  Spokane is up there in the top right hand corner of the map.  We took I90 to Ritzville and dropped south on WA-261.  The first section of WA-261 was fine.  It became much less fine after making the left just past Washtucna.

September 28 map

You see a lot of this on the first stretch of WA-261.  It’s fairly flat and you can see forever.



This is wheat country.  It stretches for miles.


After making the left to stay on WA-261, it narrows and gets very noisy.  The surface is chip and seal and it’s really unpleasant.  The road also begins to undulate, sort of nap of the earth. It’s a very curvy little road. Eventually it reaches the Snake River, plunging down to the water.


And here it is - The Bridge of Death.  It’s tall enough, but it’s not wide enough for two large vehicles to cross at the same time.  Worse, until you’re at the top of the bridge deck, you can’t see on coming traffic.  When we got to the top of the rise, we saw an 18 wheeler coming towards us.  Hyperventilating on my part ensued.  Fortunately, the truck driver stopped before getting on the bridge and let us drive off.  Even with that courtesy, Jim was really close to the guard rails on the passenger side, and our mirrors were very close to his side mirrors.  I can’t believe the DOT allows this situation to exist.  The could use lights and make it a one way bridge, but since the traffic volumes are so low, they probably have not yet had a spectacular accident.


Once over the Snake, the terrain becomes more rolling, but it’s still covered in wheat.



It’s a beautiful drive.  However, next time we travel between Spokane and Walla Walla, we’re going the long way around.  We spent so much time going 40 mph that I think the longer route would be a push in terms of elapsed time.  We lucked out on the bridge over the Snake this time, but I would really prefer to not do that again.  If you’re in a Class C or B, you’ll be fine – enjoy the scenery!


  1. Dang!..Two years ago I lost my passenger side mirror and my awning on the 1st night out on a supposed long trip...The same thing happened, a Semi coming the other way, and you are correct in that you can't see the oncoming traffic..
    I had to return home and deal with all the damage.
    I contacted the Sheriff in Pomeroy and never heard back, the same with the Wadot.
    I had been over that bridge more than 20 X without any problems..
    They had just repainted the road lanes and I believe they did it wrong, as in too wide in the middle..I was on both centerlines, I should have just stopped,another learning experience, darn it..
    Glad you made it safely,

  2. P.S. I think it's about 5 miles East of Starbuck you will find Tucannon R.V. park.
    The owner, Skip and his wife are swell, as are the hosts...Long-long pull-thru's.
    Great water, electricity,sewer, and Hi-speed Wifi...They honored Passport A. every time I've visited..What more can a traveler desire?
    The cleanest bathrooms also and quiet...