The morning greeted Aria and me with dark clouds, a cool breeze, and a few sprinkles when we stepped out for our morning walk. I was glad we left before the rain started and the sun disappeared. After leaving Spokane Valley, not only did the clouds and rain disappear but so did the mountains which opened up to large, rolling hills and open fields. This made for a very slow drive on I90.
However, the further West we went the stronger the wind came. It wasn't noticeable until I was in an area that was extremely flat and open. Brown dirt from the fields was being kicked up and almost looked like a dust storm in front of me. Everyone's lights went on and speed slowed down as a section of it became zero visibility. It felt like miles had gone by before I was able to see the vehicles around me but it was only a matter of seconds. No wonder sandstorms were so dangerous, it was like driving through thick fog.
Once on the other side, the hills became larger and so did the twists and turns that followed which took me up and around towards Vantage, Washington and over the Columbia River. The River was wide and turquoise with high rock-covered hills on either side that dipped down and over a bridge that offered a panoramic view of the river. Once over the bridge, it was a steep climb to the top which was covered in windmills which were enjoying the strong winds.
Originally I was going to dip down further into the state of Washington and cut through Ranier National Park but a missed turn prevented that and I remained on I90W a bit longer. I was disappointed at first until I saw up ahead that the mountains were getting bigger and closer. I was about to enter another series of climbs, twists, and turns through the mountains before reaching the West coast. It started out slow but the further in I went the more twisted it became. A welcome sign up ahead informed me I had entered the Mt. Baker National Forest.
I will never get bored or tired of these types of drives that I loving call, a rollercoaster on a race track. Taking the corners just a bit faster than the rest, feeling gravity surround me and the car, pushing and pulling but able to keep it square between the lines in my lane. Looking up ahead and quickly planning my next move as others slowed down or moved aside. The slight tilt of the road, allowed me to see all the cars around me and when keeping pace was a picture-perfect moment. While I calculated every move, my heart beat a bit faster and the adrenaline slowly crept in because all it took was one bad move and I would be in the guard rail, under a truck or over the cliff. I gripped the wheel tighter and continued forward and when the ride was over, smiled, patted myself on the back, and thanked the Universe for dry roads and smart moves.
After I left the National Forest, things began to get dull and long as I turned onto I5 and had to pass by Tacoma. Even at 11a, traffic was a nightmare and people were slow and dumb the entire way. Even when we were out of the city, traffic still remained thick, slow and the drive took forever. I realized halfway through that today was Saturday and people were taking advantage of the nice weather. A sign ahead pointed to the Washington/Oregon border and I crossed over the Lewis & Clark Bridge. The port was full of cargo ships, some were anchored, some were coming while the rest were leaving.
It was a steep climb up and traffic, once again, remained slow. Thankfully there were a few spots where it opened up to three lanes and the slower drivers respectfully moved over to let others pass. I was almost to Astoria now and there were a few more sharp twists and turns before I headed into the city, once again the thrill of it hit me and I glided through them and into the town of Astoria.
The last section of the drive into Astoria was on Highway 30 and even though it couldn't be seen for most of the drive the road did run parallel to the Columbus River. There were a lot of small towns to drive through before getting there and were your typical seaport towns. Crowded, buildings that offered little privacy for the neighbor and most consisted of a couple of stores, a gas station, and a bank.
I jumped onto the Oregon Coast Highway which started out as a bridge to take me over to the Pacific coast and then followed it South through a few more towns and eventually into Seaside. It was then I realized my hotel was in downtown Seaside which had festivities going on. A low groan and grumble made its way through my lips. This wasn't going to be the most fun place to stay not because of the festivities but because of the hotel's location.
A few minutes later, after I checked in, Aria & I got into the car and took a drive. I headed out of town to Cannon Beach and knew there was a park near the ocean we could walk. This town also proved to have festivities going on and the beach was crowded. It was a short and quick walk but enough to stretch our legs and enjoy the scenery. People and dogs were everywhere enjoying the warm day and gentle breeze. Many were also flying kites which added color to the sky. Time to head back and get settled in for the night.
The hotel I was currently at was considered "pet-friendly" however its location wasn't. This was another Choice Hotel called Comfort Inn & Suites off of the boardwalk in Seaside, Oregon. There was no place to walk Aria, unless, she liked to walk on rocks and pebbles with a couple of prickly bushes; which she didn't. There was no amount of persuasion or begging that could be done to get her to go under these conditions, and unless I wanted to get yelled at for walking her on private property this is what we had to work with.
Even though I knew it was a useless effort, I still walked her and as predicted she refused to go. She did take advantage of the Cannon Beach park while we there which had me feeling good but at 430 that morning she was asking for a walk. We went out and the conditions hadn't changed, which I told her before we left, she stopped only for a second before walking back towards the hotel. I knew she was miserable and upset but there was nothing I could do about the situation. Pet-friendly accommodations weren't easy or cheap in this area which was funny considering a lot of places, including the beaches down the coastline, were pet-friendly. Coastal towns, I'll never understand them. I said the same thing about Maine when I lived out there
Driving across country can bring about some interesting situations. Broken down on a day by day basis enjoy my adventures and set backs along the way to some beautiful destinations.