Out of Washington, into Oregon


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Well, we did it. We didn’t stop driving until we made it out of the state. It was going into the next morning, but we rolled across the border into Oregon. Yes, it literally took us all night.

For reasons I don’t quite recall (or want to admit), we decided to follow the GPS’s idea of the fastest route. That meant going over the mountain passes. Being the middle of spring, we figured, how hard could it be? There’s no snow. We’re going in the opposite direction of the returning weekend drivers. We should just breeze right over, right? Right?

Wrong.

In good, old Washington style – the state tossed her head back and spat us out as if possessed. It sprinkled. It rained. It  hailed. It sleeted. Oh, and then the pass itself was cut down to one lane, leaving a nice, long backup for miiiiiiiles. All the while, the “Check Engine” light mocked us, glowing all smug and amber in the waning, raining light.

Right in the middle of all the construction, someone got too involved in their sightseeing and smacked into the person in front of them. Even though this happened on the OTHER SIDE of the freeway (and, if you’ve ever gone over the pass, you know there’s a big ol’ river between the up and down sides) – we all had to stop and take a gander. At least, that’s how it felt. After we got past that, the other lane opened up and we cruised for the next mile or two.

Then more construction and back to one lane.

Still, we were in pretty good spirits and were happy to be on the road to our new chosen destinies. We stopped for a celebratory steak dinner in Ellensburg at a great little place called the Buzz Inn. Yummy! Great service, too. If you happen to be crossing Washington any time soon, check them out. That’s one thing we have really good luck in – finding good food!

Abby settles in between the beds in an Oregon motel

We kept driving until neither of us could open our eyes. It was around midnight or so when we crossed the boarder to Oregon. Desperate, we found a pet-friendly off-freeway joint, The Umatilla Inn & Suites. They were cheap, friendly, quiet, and – best of all – OPEN. We stayed the night with Abby inside – but the cats had to stay in their condo, as they fashioned a grand escape that sent us sprawling all over the parking lot, all while Jr. Barnes made enough noise to wake the neighbors in Idaho. That cat can really PROJECT. I wonder if he’s had opera training?

Abby was more than happy to settle in on the fashionable rug, between the even more stylish beds.

We had a little kitchenette that enabled us to slap together an egg-salad-like ensemble. I think they offered free cable, but we were too tired to find the TV.

In the morning, we had more boiled eggs and some cheese. I made coffee, then I had a little jaunt to the office to get a plunger, as the toilet didn’t work. At all. In fact, it was so bad that they sent the maintenance guy back with me. He said that they were in the process of remodeling all the rooms – in fact, ours was the ONLY ONE LEFT that they had to do. He wasn’t even sure why they rented that one to us, since the rest were vacant.

Could it have something to do with waking them up after midnight? The screaming cat? That we parked the trailer in the alley for fear that we might have to back it out of something in the morning?

He couldn’t fix the toilet, so he gave me a key to the room next door. We ended up with kind of an outhouse situation, only we didn’t need a flashlight and a shotgun and the outhouse was inside.

The winds kicked in and gave us quite a time getting things bungied back onto the roof. Everyone got fed, watered, and pottied, then we set out again – this time determined not to stop until we reached Idaho.

Oregon didn’t like us any more than Washington – it added high winds to the rain, hail, and sleet. I’m pretty sure the little trailer rode on one wheel more than a couple of times. It was brutal. Where was the sun? We just had to keep on driving!

We sang songs and listened to positive-thinking CDs, dreaming of warmth and sunshine as we ate boiled eggs and nuts.

Tomorrow: Will we make it to Idaho? Will there be sun?

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