We planned to leave the house about 4 am but it turned out to be 5 am. The drive up and over Snoqualmie Pass never gets old. I've done the drive in all kinds of conditions. We made it to Cle Elum about 7 am and stopped at the Pioneer Coffee Roasting Co. for good coffee and clean restrooms.
The drive on through the Yakima Valley has become almost routine. We peeled off just before Tri Cities and crossed the Columbia River at Umatilla. From here on out, it was uncharted territory. We stopped at a Starbucks and gassed up in Hermiston. Oregon ... where they pump your gas and sometimes clean your windshield. It's a stim-pack.
Leaving Pendleton we wound our way through the Blue Mountains of northeastern Oregon. Beautiful but it rained the whole way. Leslie was driving and immediately set cruise control to 70 mph, launched into a 50 mph curve. It was the first time I'd ever heard the skid control chimes chime. She claimed she never saw the 50 mph sign. It freaked me out more than a little. From then on I read aloud every curve sign for her.
We passed La Grande and Baker City following the route of the old Oregon Trail. The landscape was becoming more arid with each mile, turning from ponderosa forest to sagebrush and grass. Interesting area after Baker City where there's an abundance of limestone. Ash Grove has a cement plant there. There's also a spooky looking abandoned cement plant at a place called Lime.
Near Baker City
Ash Grove Cement
Driving a lemon
We stopped at a Wendy's in Ontario, Oregon, the last town in Oregon before Idaho. I'm going to hate fast food even more before this trip is over. Ontario may have seen better days but it was wishful thinking.
Up with people
Approaching Boise, it looked like we were heading directly toward a large thunderstorm. Then it looked like we'd skirt it on the left side and eventually we did skirt it on the right side. We still got some raindrops from it.
There's a few windfarms going up on the Snake River Plain. You don't get an idea of the scale of the windmill blades until you see them being hauled individually by tractor-trailer rigs.
We decided to stop in Twin Falls for the night. After Twin, there's a long 2 to 3 hour stretch of lonesome and we were getting a little tired. We're safely sequestered in the Best Western Twin Falls. We had a late dinner at Chili's, a nationwide chain. All the cool local places were closed on this Sunday night.
Nuts & Bolts: The DNC meets in Las Vegas
4 minutes ago