We hit the road pretty early on Tuesday because we had to drive from Seattle to Twin Falls, and hoped to make it before dark. First, we said goodbye to Melanie and handed over our keys. It was so sad to leave her after only seeing her for two days and knowing it will probably be Christmas before I see her again. We had such a great time together and it was so amazing for me to be able to introduce her to Rick--seeing two of my favorite people hit it off so well was way cool. I'd had a similar experience the day before with SJ and another sad goodbye.
We decided to wait to grab a coffee until we'd been on the road a while. We had planned a completely different route for the trip home, and I was excited. It was surprisingly easy to get through downtown traffic to I-90 during weekday rush hour, and we were all the way to Snoqualmie Falls before I knew it. The water level was moderately high, so the falls were pretty impressive, which made me happy. I don't get over to Snoqualmie very often, and when I do, I invariably think of Twin Peaks. Another reason to feel happy. Anyway, I discovered that the Salish Lodge doesn't have a coffee bar, which I think is a wasted opportunity. Somebody needs to serve coffee and pie at the falls.
We drove on, getting on I-82 and winding through the Yakima Valley. I had planned to stop for a few boxes of fruit, but indecision and the urge to keep driving won out. We had a pretty full car already, but I wish I would have grabbed a couple of boxes of apples and some peaches to put up. Regrets! Anyway, we did stop in Sunnyside at the Dairygold factory because we were taken in by the giant sign proclaiming "Cheese Tours." Turns out the tour was a self-guided one, and the factory store/diner was kind of disappointing. We did buy giant ice cream cones for like $2 each, so that was a winner. It was so hot out that I ate my ice cream faster than I probably ever have before. It was delicious.
After we passed the Tri-Cities (home of the Dust Devils), we took I-84 and dropped into eastern Oregon. We kept debating the best place to stop for some lunch and decided to try to make it to Baker City. When we got there, we decided we could wait until La Grande. I can't remember exactly where we stopped, but I know we picnicked in the grass outside an elementary school and sandwiches have never tasted so good. At this point, I'd done all but 100 miles of driving the whole road trip, so I had Rick take over. It felt great to sit back and relax for a while.
Everything between there and Boise was a blur of farms and blue skies. The change in landscape between Washington, Oregon, and Idaho wasn't as dramatic as it had been on the way west, when we were driving further north. All of 82 and 84 kind of looks the same--lovely, but the same. When we got to Boise, dusk was coming. We ended up eating at the McDonald's express at a gas station out of sheer tiredness and laziness. Their iced coffes are pretty good, though.
It was dark when we got to Twin Falls. On the way into town, we stopped at a bridge that's supposed to have spectacular views, but it was almost too dark to see and definitely too dark for pictures to turn out. I could tell it was pretty cool, though.
We finally got to Rick's friends' place after 9:00pm. Jeff and Natalie and their daughter are really nice, fun people, and it was fun to meet them after hearing about them for over a year. We all spent some time chatting and looking at some of my trip photos while watching some Olympics. It got late pretty quickly, and I promptly fell asleep in one of the most comfortable guest beds I've ever experienced.
One more day to go!