Saturday, November 07, 2009
SNOWqualmie Pass, Washington
I walked into the lobby of the hotel in Bellingham after 14 hours on the road. I asked the man if he had a room with two queen beds. I pulled out my wallet, showed him my creds, and asked if they had a government rate. They do. (most do) Sometimes it's cheaper, sometimes it's not. I didin't even ask what the rate was, I just gave him my card and signed the paper he gave me to sign.
We left the house at about 10 AM which is incredibly late for me. I like to be on the road early. This change was somewhat of a relief though because I'm usually trying to get everyone moving faster than they normally do when we travel as a group. Northern Utah and into Idaho was the normal drive with some high clouds and wind but DRY roads. The sun went down on us in the rolling hills of Eastern Oregon.
Since we had eaten fast food lunch, I decided that we would do the restaurant thing for dinner and Pendleton, Oregon was the candidate. I took the last of three exits and it looped me around onto city streets that guided me back to the second exit area. The roads were torn up but I spied a Mexican restaurant and pulled in through the traffic cones. No parking spaces. I pulled back out onto another torn up road in an attempt to get over to another Mexican reastaurant but with no street lights I was unable to see any access so we drove around trying to find a different route to the restaurant.
Downtown Pendleton is full of seemingly redneck hangouts and haunts and my son opined that it should be called DUMPleton. We stumbled on a Taco Bell and ate there.
Back on the road and into Washington as a big red 3/4 moon rose over the Columbia River. Again, dry roads in through Yakima and my daughter and son texting me and Robert that they had met at the Vancouver airport and how far away were we? As we climbed into the mountains towards the Snoqualmie Pass I pointed out the exit that leads to Roslyn, Washington to Magaly. Roslyn is where the TV series Northern Exposure. As we climbed a light rain started to fall. Then I saw the first flurries and soon mother nature would be putting the snow in SNOWqualmie.
Had and fast and vehicles behind me with missed aimed headlights and those "I'm a fairy" running lights under the headlights and the odd 18-wheeler and me hoping that I would not see tail lights racing headlights as I passed and slowed for the next curve. Over the pass we went and down out of the snow and into the rain which is also a delight. Crusing at 65 and trying to stay out of those 1/2 to 1 inch ruts in the asphault that when filled with water suddenly make it feel like you're driving on flat tires.
But we made it, and we're in Bellingham and I had my normal session of illusions after driving so long. Mind you that I could have driven 6 more hours easily because I become a machine when I drive. But once I stop and let my self coast down.... Last night I was "chatting" to no one in particular. Little windows of conversation would pop up. First mine, and then a response from someone I knew, but now, cannot remember.
Soon I will get Maggie and Robert up and moving. Then Fred Meyers for some groceries and wine for Matt and then into Vancouver.
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