Hat on Top, Coat Below


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Pre-Trip Trip

December 2, 2016

As I mentioned in yesterday’s entry, I recently took my longest trip ever. It was 58 days on the road, starting with a quick overnight in Seattle, about six hours west of home. Two bands Mr. Karen likes (I like one of them, too, and didn’t know the other but trust his taste) were playing in a bar there, and that’s as close as they were going to get to our tiny town, so off we went. We allowed plenty of time to drive across Washington and make the show, but we hadn’t even considered that the pass we had to traverse there would be closed. It was still September; the snow hadn’t started yet. Thus when we saw the signs about the closure for blasting starting at right about the time we were going to reach the pass, that turned a pleasant drive into a stressful one. We didn’t have that much slack in the schedule, to sit and wait for an hour plus for the pass to reopen. We made the fastest rest area stop ever and then drove like our plans depended on it, which they did, and made to the closure point with minutes to spare. Whew.

We got to Seattle (as rush hour was starting, boo), found the venue, found parking, then after paying the cover, found the food service at the venue we’d counted on for dinner was no more. Fortunately it was possible to get a hand stamp and re-enter, so we used Google Maps to find a restaurant nearby, which turned out to be way too hip for the likes of us but we ate there anyway. Our nephew, who lives in Seattle and has a band of his own, met us back at the venue and we watched the show together. The crowd skewed male, so I generally had the ladies bathroom to myself when I went, which meant I could take photos with my pocket sock monkey without attracting any attention.

Yeah, I brought a monkey to the bar

After the show, we made enough space in our luggage-packed car to squeeze our nephew in so we could go see his place and meet some of his roommates. Then we were off to a hotel on the affordable outskirts of the the metro area.

The next morning, we headed back the way we’d come the previous day, but at a more relaxed pace. We stopped in Ellensburg for burgers and shakes, at two different places because why not hit up both U Tote ‘Em locations?

U-Tote 'Em Totem Pole

I am a sucker for scenic overlooks, and the one by the Columbia River we stopped at did not disappoint. Not only was there a great view from the parking lot, there was a bluff to hike up that was topped with a series of metal horse sculptures that I later learned is called Grandfather Cuts Loose the Ponies. Sadly, most of the horses were defaced with graffiti, but it was still an impressive sight.

Monkeys at the summit


Bluff top art


Bluff top art


Bluff top art

Even the flatter parts of the state were relaxing to look at (political signs notwithstanding).

Brilliant fall day

When we got to Spokane, I dropped Mr. Karen off at the airport, where we’d left our other vehicle. We redistributed luggage, then he headed home, and I kept heading east, aiming for Michigan. But that’s a tale for the next entry.


On this date in 2015: Octoberfest
2014: Music, Family, and a Furry Kitten
2013: Thanksgiving Recap
2012: Me, My Stuff, and I
2007 to 2011: No entries
2006: Surprise
2004 & 2005: No entries
2003: Boomer? Moi?
2002: Goal Check-In #5

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