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Published: September 10th 2013
This was one of the longest drive days scheduled for the trip with an estimated 11 hours to get from East Glacier Village to Seattle. So, we stopped in at Brownies the local deli for some breakfast, and hit the road early. I thought I’d be adventurous with my coffee - error - and ordered the huckleberry flavoured kind. Ick. I should know better.
We decided to take US-2 west instead of going back through the park again today. What an amazing road! This definitely ranks as one of the most beautiful drives we’ve done. The mist hanging low over the trees, the mountains, the forests, the historic railroad along side of us - it was magical. That is until we nearly hit a dear gamboling across the road. I wasn’t paying attention to the road as Jon was driving until he started shouting “I’m going to hit it” at which point I started shouting “Brake! Brake!” Thankfully, we avoided the poor thing. That would have been terribly messy at 70 mph.
As we were passing back through Idaho’s panhandle, we stopped in Sandpoint - voted best town in a survey conducted by Rand McNally and featured in our
atlas. It was a beautiful town with a big glacial lake surrounded by mountains with people playing on the beach, boating, kayaking, paddle boarding..... After a two hour break from driving, a walk along the beach and a bit of lunch we hit the road again with seven more hours left to drive by our watches.
We left the comfort of the two lane highway for the interstate to get through Spokane, Washington. TERRIFYING! These drivers here are aggressive and, as Jon would say, “Right up our chuff.” The first chance we got to divert back to the more comfortable US-2, we took it - even though it would add an hour and a half to the overall journey time. What a difference. We could enjoy the scenery, tank along at 65 mph and we didn’t have to deal with any aggressive drivers or big trucks on the road. In fact, there was hardly any traffic at all.
Eastern Washington State is mostly wheat fields stretching for as far as the eye can see. As we continued westward the scenery started to change with random rock formations and rock outcrops jutting out of the land. Next thing we
knew we were driving right through a canyon and alongside a massive lake where the world’s largest cement structure resides in the form of Coulee Dam.
Did you know that Washington State produces more apples than all other states combined? How ‘bout them apples. Eh?!
Finally, we were getting closer to our destination as we arrived at the foothills of the Cascade Mountains. It was here that we encountered the two most amazing sights of our drive for the day - amazing in two very different ways.
Parts of the sky were heavily clouded over and there was a lot of lightning. We saw a massive lightning strike ahead of us at one point: probably about 15 miles from where we were. As we drove past the site of the strike we saw the beginnings of a brush fire engulfing the side of a hill. It was pouring rain and this fire wasn’t looking too deterred by it. Very frightening!Leavenworth - a dying lumber town which reinvented itself as a Bavarian Village. Of course, right? Makes total
sense. All of the signs were in English and German. Even the McDonalds was built in a Bavarian style.
As we wound our way through the forests and over the mountains at Stephen’s Pass we enjoyed a breathtaking sunset and barely survived the other Washington drivers racing back to the city on a Sunday evening after their weekend away.
Finally, at about 9:00 we arrived in Seattle driving across the Lake Washington (longest) floating bridge - still with the locals right up our chuff. Seriously, if they had gotten any closer they would have been in front of us - which I think was their intention. Poor Jon. He was new to this style of driving. But he got us there in the end. The Seattle Westin was a glorious sight for sore eyes after what ended up being a 14 hour day of driving. On arrival, we enjoyed a nice dinner of King Salmon and Stuffed Pork up the road at the Palace Kitchen and then stumbled back to our king size bed and dark room which were heaven sent after weeks in motels and national park hotels. Four nights now in one location. Bliss!
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