Washington State

March 4-March 7, 2016

Friday, March 4
1977: "I finished the first draft of 'The Western Hero' and 'Stella Blue.'"
The Oregon state line to Olympia, Washington

    Entering Washington at 2:19 to the other side of the bay at 2:20. Cape Disappointment. Chinook. Greenhead Slough. This is beautiful country too, water off to my left off into the distance with no end to it, pine-covered hills off to my right, a lot of rocks down there, the road pretty much follows the contours of the water, a small pine-covered island, really a miserable day now, rain steady since somewhere well in Oregon into Washington state. Wellapa National Wildlife Refuge. A heron out there in the rain, now crossing this bay or whatever on a flat bridge on pylons, the Neselle River, which I've never heard of, makes the Quinnipiac River in New Haven look like a creek, now on a road between pine trees. 3:08, temp 47, on a 2-lane road (101) in good shape with occasional bumps and patches, pretty much lined by pines with occasional stands of aspen, the Jurgenson Slough, a few houses, a clearcut area with stumps and debris, the Nemah School, a very small building, looked just a home, the Tide Slough. Once again through pines, the low hills now to my left, some very strange-looking pines with limbs drooping like skeletal hands drooping downwards, Halloween trees, now open pasture land on both sides, the road going straight, a small tin-roofed open shed of some kind, mountains in front of me from left to right, sloping down at the end to the rest of the terrain. South Bend at 3:28, River View Dining, Rooms of Treasure, Tellapa Iron Works, Chen's Motel Restaurant & Lounge, Raymond Washington at 3:46, the road to Tokeland. Entering Gray's Harbor County at 3:45, Artic at 3:55, and Cosmopolis at 4:02. Cosmo Specialty Fibers on the right and Ferrell Gas on the left, a big Peterbilt dealer.
    Route 12 to Olympia at 4:09. At this point, 40 miles from Olympia, Washington Route 12 is a 4-lane divided highway, the divider a thin strip of grass, pines everywhere, houses lining the road fairly frequently, an RV Storage, a weigh station.
    Onto Washington 8 east at 4:32, the divider much wider, with pines in between us. Slightly larger than life size bull and an elk out in a field, no idea what they were made of.
    I-5 north at 4:58, rain just about stopped. Off of I-5 at 5:02, rain pretty well stopped now, wipers on occasionally, Quality Inn at 5:20 temp 49 odometer 123478. Reuben and mint shake at an Arby's.

Saturday, March 5
1972: "The restlessness and loneliness of spring is beating at me. The roads and streets I drive turn into those of New Orleans and Pasadena. How many years. How many years."
Olympia to Seattle
    Up at 8:15, blue and sunny, biscuits&gravy, bagel and cream cheese, coffee, orange juice for breakfast. Cereal, waffle, toast also available. Leaving the motel at 10:28, temp 54, odometer 123481, pretty much clouded but a great big patch of blue overhead. $20.05 of $2.039 gasoline at the 76 next door to the motel.
    Onto I-5 north at 10:37, heading into blue skies and fluffy clouds, over a ridge into Nisqually with big long buildings like those of a fairgrounds or a plant nursery. Long flat ridge lined with pine trees ahead of me that I will skirt to the left. Blue sky to my left, blue sky with lots of fluffy cumulus ahead. Girder bridge over the Nisqually River into Pierce County at 10:43. 3 lanes each way, quite some distance between us and those going south with a swampy area in between, definitely country here, lots of pines as I go past the ridge.
    Takoma at 10:54, four lanes each way with only a Jersey barrier in between us. 10:57, lots of blue sky ahead of me, a couple of large cumulus but mostly blue. Puyallup Tribal Center. 11:04, lots of cumulus now on all sides, some cirrus, still lots of blue sky. The Enchanted Parkway and the Muckleshoot Reservation. I seem to be on a kind of a ridge, down below a big large valley with block-size factory buildings, long and narrow, going across quite some distance to mountains, some of them snow-capped. Tukwila, still lot of cumulus, blue sky, a big old contrail, 11:30.
    Passenger jet, probably Jet Blue, seeming to hang in the air as it comes in for a landing, another one behind it. What looks like a Metro of some kind going over the highway. 11:35, traffic at a crawl before the skyline of Seattle, incoming plane high overhead, shipyards and their cranes off to my left, and there's the Space Needle. The Old Rainier, a rather ugly square building, painted green, mustard yellow, and a maroonish red, solid colors on each wall. This slow traffic just goes on and on and on, 11:44, ahead of me for quite some distance. Safeco Field and CenturyLink Stadium off to my left, a lot of high rises, one big tall dark building, pretty impressive close up, higher than I can see from my car, a couple with sharp gabled things on top, a big tall white building ahead of me and an older one with a truncated pyramid on top of it. Finally moving a bit at 11:50 then slows down again. 12:03, into one of those wave situations, where traffic moves pretty good for a while then slows down. Woodland Park Zoo, a couple of bright yellow buildings, traffic moving well now as I reach the exit at 12:08.
    Travelodge at 12:13, temp 61, odometer 123544. Sky overcast completely but the sun shining through the haze as I leave the hotel for Greenwood Avenue, taking 85 to Greenwood, which must be near the University, with the Teachers Lounge and the Chocolati Cafe, a lot of young people in front of Herkimer's Coffee Emporium, including a young lady in a tight beige dress, Zeeks, Roosters Breakfast Club, The Park Pub, Stumbling Goat Bistro, Cafe Vita, Yanni's Greek Cuisine, Taco Del Mar, Diva Espresso, Buzzard Books, Sip and Ship Private Mailboxes.
    I parked on a hill in the 5600 block of Greenwood Avenue. I don't remember Greenwood being so narrow or the circle at Greenwood at 57th or 57th going under a bridge. But Shannon's house is, as I remember, on the right side of the road. It seems to have not changed at all, as far as I can remember, and I had forgotten what it looked like, with the garage underneath and the house up above the road.

    Then I walked 57th Street under the bridge to Woodland Park, where I would watch the sika deer while waiting for Shannon. It costs $11.75 to get in now instead of being free and apparently they no longer have the sika deer.
    And so another part of my past. This area is still very nice, although its overgrown, the road cracked, but the houses are kept up well, all in good shape, a gray one next to my car, a light brown one, a pale violet one across the street, all shrouded by shrubbery.
    Ah God, Ah God, the end, how soon it comes.
    A lot of small groceries in this area of Seattle but no supermarkets. In the evening, I had a so-called meatball sandwich and a diet Coke at The Woodlands. It has started raining again.
    I have pretty well decided to start back. I had planned to go up to Vancouver but I would have to wait until Monday to get an insurance card from State Farm. I'm also going to miss Glacier Park since the Going to the Sun Highway is closed. Right now my plans are to go to Spokane tomorrow then to Missoula Monday, where there's an open mike then down to the Canyonlands then up to Denver to see Francis and Wendy.

Sunday, March 6
1981: Dolores of Catonsville Foreign Car said,
"Did you see the blonde I was talking to this morning? 'Where does he work?' she asked.
'We're working on his car.' 'Which one?' 'The Porsche.'
'I'd like to ride in it.' 'So would he.'"

Seattle to Spokane
    Up at 8:20, couple of slices of wheat toast, cereal, coffee, orange juice at the motel. When I left my room, it was blue, chilly, and a bit windy; when I went back, it was cloudy and starting to rain. Left the motel at 9:44, temp 47, odometer 123549, and it's raining a a bit.
    Onto I5 south at 9:51, raining fairly heavily, to I-90 at 10:00. A long tunnel then a long causeway with girder bridges at each end then another long curving tunnel. I-90 does a lot of curving.
    Back into pine country. Washington Green Highway, the Mountains to Sound Greenway. It would probably be a beautiful drive if I could see very much; went over some fairly wide water with boats down there. 10:08, rain has let up quite a bit now that I'm out of the area where I didn't know where I was going and now on I-90 for several hours, wipers on intermittent, fairly high mountains visible. Issaquah, rain essentially stopped except for roadspray, a very large mountain rising up in front of me. Sammamish, Snoqualmie, North Bend. A large mountain slightly off to my left, barely covered with clouds, a great mountain off to my left rising steeply up then a bunch of crags before it rounds back down.
    This would be a wonderful place for pictures if there was any place to pull over and take them and it wasn't such a rotten day.
    The Iron Ore State Park and the John Wayne Trail. Clouds in front of the mountains, their tops also shrouded by cloud, look like tendrils of smoke, not like cumulus. Rain down to a trickle, the sun trying to break through the haze overhead, definitely in mountains now, this is absolutely incredible country, the mountains ahead of me (the Cascade Range?) very high, Mount Baker Snoqualmie National Forest, snow on the mountains to my left and ahead of me, a tendril of cloud immediately off to my left, that big mountain that was in front of me now to my left. No doubt about it, this is fantastic country, snow-covered slopes way up to my left, wipers on intermittent, round a curve and more snow-covered slops up ahead, not so high, those tendrils of cloud so close you could almost touch them. And of course there are pines everywhere, a pretty good-sized river (about the size of Muddy or Mill River) to my right tumbling along. Another mountain up ahead with a streak of snow coming down it, a ski slope, the sun no longer trying to break through, the sky light up ahead, rain still coming down lightly. Asahel Curtis and Denny Creek. Going 60 mph, I feel like I'm hardly moving. The snow now up against the road, piled up higher than the car, a valley full of mist and fog and snow, a waterfall coming down the rocks on the right side of the road, a nearly straight down crag up ahead. Snoqualmie Pass, Hyak. 10:53, the sun has broken through again but there's still light rain.
    Rain essentially stopped, the sun shining through the overcast overhead, mountains still snow-covered but not quite so spectacular, a large lake, Stampede Pass. Wenatchee State Forest. Definitely over the mountains at 11:04, big clouds up ahead, a few patches of blue, the sun on the tops of the mountains but not on the road, a little sprinkle of rain every now and then. Mountains now sharp and clear against the sky, the clouds pulled away and higher, Iron Horse State Park and the Yakima River, some birds cross the highway, two lanes each way, was up to four at several points, wide median.
    Cle Ellum at 11:14, temp 48, several patches of blue ahead, one big streak of blue on the horizon directly ahead. Mailed off my National Grid bill at Cle Ellum, the Sunset Cafe, Sahara Pizza, the Telephone Museum (very small building), Tuckaway Antiques and Collectibles, Mavericks, The Caboose, Po's Pizza Pasta Steaks, El Caporal Restaurant. 11:40, 40 degrees, a beautiful view of mountains behind me, some photos at a rest stop past Cle Ellum, a lot of blue sky now ahead of me and to my left, big cumulus, Elk Heights elevation 2359.
    Into pastureland now but no animals visible on it, power windmills, mountains far off to my left. Historic Thorp Mill. 11:53, 53 degrees, past the 107 mile mark, good sized river over there, lots of blue sky ahead, more blue sky than the cumulus marching across in front of me north to south, bigger in the south, more clouds marching off to the north. Kittipas. Photo of power windmills at a rest stop after mile 126 before Vantage. Wild Horses Monument Scenic Area.

    Entering Columbia Federal Basin Project at 12:36, temp 57. A magpie just flew across the road. Blue sky, a huge puffy cumulus cloud, slightly rolling country, a curving interstate, not a lot of houses, what looks like great big clumps of grass, a group of buildings with a semi trailer and house trailers, irrigation rigs standing silent, a couple of combines, a row of trees to my right with a green field behind me, a local road between I-90 and the trees, the towns of Quincy and Wenatchee and George. The Sage Coffeehouse and Bistro, Soap Lake. 1:06, temp 56, Pothole State Park, Moses Lake, Othello, Mile 179, a lot of clouds up ahead, white overcast up ahead with small cumulus clouds underneath it, cumulus accumulating to my right, smaller ones on the horizon to my left, clear blue overhead, the sun shining, pretty much flat country, road going straight, a Peterbilt dealership, Tanks Inc. Precast Concrete Products.
    Even this land is fascinating. I'm going through rolling country, mostly without trees, a little copse of trees with houses in it and that's it, some gullies, mostly green but there‚Äôs brown, plowed fields probably. Those clumpy little grass things alongside the road, some growing a foot or even two feet tall. Over it all is this wonderful sky with the cumulus clouds under something less formed, just a white wall of cloud, neither cumulus or cirrus. A little house down there, some kind of shed. Wonderful wonderful country. It is just magnificent.
    Exit 196 at 1:20, temp 56, the exit for Schrag. Ritzville and Pasco. The sky pretty much clouded up ahead, a white cumulus edge to the cloud, blue sky behind me, still some sun. Washtucna, Tokio. Fairly large body of water off to my right, patches of light blue in the clouds ahead of me, generally socked in, white cloud covering most of the north, gray to the south, Lincoln County, the lake keeps going on and on to the rest area at 1:59, where I learn it's Sprague Lake, windy, a slender sea bird. Mile 254, Fishtrap, small ponds in probabluy a marshy area, solitary pines and pine stands and groves, not the close-knit pines of the forest. Sudden open meadows surrounded by pines.
    $23.01 of $1.999 at a Flying J Conoco just west of Spokane. Off of I-90 to the Days Inn, where there were no rooms available. 10 miles back west to the Super8 in Medical Lake at 3:15, temp 51, odometer 123850, on the third floor, no refrigrator, not even an ice bucket. It rained again then the sun came out again and I had a steak dinner at the Iron Skillet.

Monday, March 7
1974: "My mind is a maelstrom of spring-induced fantasies and dreams, of pain and joy. It is a maelstrom of life."
Spokane to the Idaho Line
    Up at 8:10, coffee, cereal, a couple of slices of toast, yogurt, apple juice at the motel. Back to I-90 at 10:26 odometer 123851 temp 44, lots of clouds up there but a lot patches of blue too, the sun in and out, a lot of standing water has dried up.
    The city of Spokane Valley at 10:39, small residences alongside the freeway, still a lot of cumulus in the sky, small mountains up ahead, big industrial area, Kenworth and John Deere distributor, UPS, Goodyear. Couple of big fluffy cumulus up ahead that look like they're working their way up to being storm clouds, just clouds ahead but right now a fair amount of blue, fluffy cumulus everywhere, left, right, ahead, probably behind. I-90 in eastern Washington seems to be lined with businesses and homes, not a lot of open space, but some, not what you'd call country.
    And I never did see Mount Rainier one last time.