Friday, March 07, 2008

Part 2: The Voyage Home

There is only so much a body can take of traveling on the open highway. Okay, there is only so much my body can take since damaging my tail bone whilst en route to Hawaii from Mexico on a 32 foot sailboat...but that is a story for another time.

All I know is that I had not been a passenger for so many hours of driving in... well actually... since I was 17 and my parents and I did a whirlwind tour of UCSC to see if I really was going to go to the hippie capital of their minds. (I'm sorry, Santa Cruz is a little right-winged-conservo-republican town compared to the likes of Berkeley and Seattle on sunny days when "festivals" are abounding. But it really is a matter of perspective. I loved it anyway.)

Where was I? Right, my sore bum and the end of the road. We were so prepared for this trek, what with our "Western States of the USA" map (cuz why would you need a singular state map when you can have 4 in one???) from 2001! or was it 4? I dunno, suffice to say there had been changes in highway names/numbers since this oh so accurate and updated map was printed.

Whatever, if I could sail 3,000 miles in a sailboat with 20 year old charts and a sextant (GPS for backup only as it required batteries that were few and far between), we could navigate the cool roads of almost Eastern Washington.
Example of coolness-TUNNEL!

The not cool part was finding out just how slow Andy's camera is between shots....and the fact that it really really really loved to focus on the dirty windshield instead of the outside...more on camera woes later.

This spot was pretty much worth my busted back and subsequent aches from 10 hours in a car:
It's called dry falls, in the absolute middle of nowhere (to me, if you are a local resident and resent that remark, I'm sorry but I didn't exactly see where in the hell ANYONE could be living around here.)
When Andy says I have "teacher bladder" it's usually not meant in compliment. More jealousy that while he had to navigate the scary and secluded visitor's center bathroom, I got to wander around and take lots of pictures of the same frozen mini-grand canyon. Nothing like seeing a grown man beg and plead for my anti-bacterial-sanatizing-whatchucallit stuff before he can touch the car again.

This is what adventuring is all about, right?
Or maybe just sights like this one...

When I was on the open water I'd contemplate what my friend Thane used to tell me about the start and duration of sunsets. In the open water where the only horizon is well, VERY VERY VERY far away (and you feel like a weeeee little speck in the universe)? The sunsets last forever and go on for miles.

If the end of the day did not coincide with temperatures plummeting? I could have watched this one from start to finish, but we had miles to cover before we slept...and did I mention it was cold? And snow was on the ground? And we were going to have to go up and over a mountain to get back home?

Right, so we scrapped going back to Leavenworth and opted for the pass via interstate 90. Good thing to:
This is the best picture I could get of the 'rolla's front passenger tire with chain fully mounted (hee hee, I said mounted) as the blizzard fell around us.

Yup, it went from beautiful sun to chilly afternoon, to outright snowstorm with sliding cars all in the span of 12 hours. Adventure!

Tahoe was a very good snow teacher for me. I did not freak. Even when we just about plowed into the side of the road to get the chains on. And we were such a snow-chaining team! After figuring out how to straighten out the car without getting ourselves in the middle of the scary road and digging out all the snow from under the tires and around us. (Hmmm, might I have helped wrench my back with that particular is amazing what pains adrenaline will hide, after all.)

We almost missed the po po...almost:
This always reminds me of Robin Williams' bit "Red, white, and blue, how patriotic...EAT EVERYTHING IN THE ASHTRAY!"

But he was just checking to make sure we were okay. We were luckier than the guy behind us who got stuck on the wrong side of the road...he got two cop cars worth of visitors. Our hold up was the car in front of us:
Andy was earning major karma points helping this guy and his little sister put on the most complicated chains I have ever seen. Even the cop didn't know what to make of them.

Shortly after this, I crashed, hard. Not in the vehicular sense, I mean I fell asleep. The next sight before me was an ominously lit Seattle downtown skyline that would have made an awesome final picture...but the battery had run out of the camera by then.

I was also planning on showing you my "foot island" dilemma...but yeah, me and my battery issues...but if you can use your imaginations? I knit 10 inches of foot on the trip (5 for each sock) and last night finally made it to the magical 9.5 inches on one so after I do the same to its brother I can start the toe. Yep, still need the toe...


Bezzie said...

Yeah driving like that is truly a sport!

Beth said...

What an adventure! Aside from the bad weather, it looks like a wonderful trip. The scenery is so different from where I live. I hope your back recovers soon!