The morning began early. I had slept well, having rid myself of yesterday's headache and having upgraded to a Snob Level hotel. After a quick shower and cup of coffee, I hit the road.
Montana was lovely, but I must confess my delight when I rounded a bend and a huge sign declaring "Welcome to Idaho" turned out to be the opening act for a series of beautiful postcard-worthy scenes clear to Coeur d'Alene. Unfortunately, road construction (and the winding nature of the roads even at their best) made it hard to capture any postcards of my own.
Once in Washington, I passed through Spokane. Uh-huh. A mall. A hospital. An Applebee's. 100 car dealerships. Done and done.
On the other side of Spokane, however, I started to worry that I had some sort of fatigue-induced dementia. What had been lush, green pine and spruce forests in the mountains turned abruptly into something that looked like a mars-scape. Really, I fully expected that little satellite/robot/ATV thingie (what was its name) to appear over one of the craters on this brown, arid desert. Flat. Did I say flat? It was, except for occasional rock blemishes on its otherwise FLAT complexion. I saw a cow. I have no idea what it was eating. There was nothing but dirt and rocks and some scrubby flora that couldn't possibly have been edible.
Finally, there were some irrigated fields in with the dirt plots, and on the horizon I saw what I thought was smoke billowing from a series of smokestacks. As I got closer, though, I saw that they were not smokestacks at all, but dirt devils. A whole troupe of them, cavorting and whirling on their dusty dancefloor. Stunning.
Sign, but not my favorite: Leaving Apple Maggot Quarantine Area (I didn't know I was in one. And what is an apple maggot?).
Once I approached Ellensburg, the Cascades were ahead of me, and then the adrenaline kicked in. I was only 100ish miles from Seattle, and I was ready to be done. I raced up and down mountain passes, taking a few random shots from my camera held up (I have some lovely studies of my dashboard, the empty water bottle--a few mountains, too).
I didn't even stop to go to the bathroom, which I had needed to do for the last couple of hours. That was a mistake, seeing as how I could NOT get to the entrance to my parking garage from the freeway exit. Oh, I knew how to get there--I was within spitting distance 6 or 7 times. I saw it from a number of angles. But between the construction of the light rail line by my apartment and the relentless NO TURNS and ONE WAY signs, I was granted no mercy by the Arrival Gods.
I finally made it, although I'm convinced it was via Vancouver.
And here I am. Everything is out of my car, and I'm sitting on the floor of my apartment on the 10th floor. My furniture won't arrive for a week, but I bought a corkscrew and a bottle of Ursa wine (a local Baer Winery red that I love), I'm tapping into someone's unsecured wireless network, I've christened my shower (oh, that was transcendent), and my inflatable bed is inflated and ready for me.
I am home.
Favorite sign: City of Seattle