Spokane, WA

Good morning, my blogging friends! It's good to see you again! After decades of dreaming and months of planning, we are finally on our way. It was a long day of driving to our first night's stop in Spokane, Washington. With I-84 still closed in both directions because of the Eagle Creek Fire, we crossed the Columbia River on the I-205 bridge

leaving our home state of Oregon,

and entering our neighboring state of Washington.

The fire is still burning in the Columbia Gorge. At last report, it was only 7% contained, even though it has been burning for more than a week. Such a disaster. The gorge was filled with smoke.

While we didn't see any burned out areas or, indeed, any flames, it was obvious that a huge battle is still being waged to save historic structures and precious infrastructure, not to mention the trees and wildlife that inhabit the gorge.

We traveled along Washington SR-14 past the Bridge of the Gods leading to Cascade Locks. The bridge is closed.

Eventually, we came to the Hood River Bridge leading into Hood River, Oregon.

Even in a passenger car, the bridge is narrow.

In our big rig, it was downright frightening, and Mike did some white-knuckle driving getting across, especially when we saw big trucks like this one coming toward us.

Tolls on the bridge are suspended for the time being, and soon, we found ourselves back home in Oregon again.

We didn't see many barns on yesterday's drive. Many were too far off the road to photograph, but mainly, this is an agricultural area without a lot of livestock. There are lots of grain silos, but not many barns. I nearly missed this one as we drove by.

From here, we continued on I-84 until we reached the turn off for I-82, leading to Umatilla, Oregon, and then crossing over again back into Washington. You might say this was an over, and over, and over again day.

Driving Northeast through Washington, north of Walla Walla, one encounters the very edges of The Palouse, which is an enormous wheat growing region. I've written about The Palouse following our two visits there, one in the fall, and one in the spring. You can find my blog posts for those here and then again here. It's a beautiful patchwork of many contrasts in color, and I encourage you to visit those links to see the images.

Again, we saw lots of grain silos, but not a lot of barns until we were closer to Spokane.

The wheat is harvested now, and farmers could be seen plowing and getting ready for the next planting. Rain will be here soon.

Finally, we came to some barns. Most were very far off the road, and so it was difficult to take very good pictures of them.

This road also took us past Washington's Channeled Scablands, a geologic formation left from the ice age. I wrote about the Scablands on a previous visit to Spokane, and you can read that blog post right here. It was during that visit that I met my good blogging friend, Kate. Hi, Kate!

After many miles and many hours, we topped a hill and the City of Spokane came into view. Spokane is Washington's second largest city behind Seattle. It is a charming place, looking very much like a city, but also seeming quite small.

Sadie was tense as usual when we arrived at our KOA spot for the night.

She decided to chill on the catio once Mike had it hung on the side of the fifth wheel.

Smitty amused himself taking selfies.

But he too was pretty tense. He took out his frustrations on a toy mouse he scouted out from the kitty cupboard.

The kitties are such seasoned travelers, they are doing amazingly well this first day out.

I wanted to show you my office on the road. This also serves as sewing table and dining table on the road. For convenience, the laptop needs to be able to slide easily across the table, and so I've always set it on a hand towel in the past. Just this past summer, I made a little doll quilt as a part of Kathleen Tracy's Small Quilt Challenge, and so the laptop now has it's own little quilt.

We also added a computer mouse for this trip. The touch pad on the laptop has driven me crazy for the last time.

And that's pretty much all the news I have for you. I've started the Sundresses stitchery now. When we stopped for lunch, Mike took a short nap, and I was able to do even more stitching on it. I've nearly finished this first cluster of flowers now.

Today's journey will take us to Butte, Montana, where we'll stay at least two nights. From there, we'll see the Ringing Rocks formation, but I'll have to tell you more about that later. This morning, we're going to make a quick trip to the grocery store and to fill up with diesel fuel, then we'll be back on the road.

For now, it's good knowing that my blogging friends in Florida are safe, although not all have reported about how their property fared in the storm. Keeping my fingers crossed for all of you, my friends.

17 comments from clever and witty friends:

gpc said...

Scary about the fires, just a whole lot of scary in this country lately. Thank goodness for long vacations. I expect that Montana, with its more unfamiliar scenery, will be where you start to feel like the adventure has really begun, at least it would for me. I am excited for you!

Sher S. said...

we survived Irma with no damage to our house and no loss of power, even though the eye of Irma passed right over us. One scary night for sure. Have safe travels and the kitties do look relaxed and enjoying the ride.

QuiltShopGal said...

Yeah. I'm happy to hear you are off on another road adventure. Sorry about the fires, but hopefully you'll have clear skies and plenty of beautiful scenery the rest of your trip.


crazy quilter said...

Ahhh on the road again at last. I know you both have waited for this trip. Have a wonderful time and drive safe.

Lynette said...

Oh, my goodness!! I would have to close my eyes on that bridge if I weren't driving, and I know just how tight my knuckles and jaw would be if I were! That looks downright frightening.

Ann said...

Safe travels to you and your family. I hope you have a blast on this adventure. Can't wait to see the pix and read all about it. Thanks for taking us along with you.

WoolenSails said...

I am glad you were able to avoid the worst of the fire areas, but still scary.
That bridge would freak me out, way too narrow for large trucks.
Glad you arrived safely.


Brown Family said...

It was an over the river and through the woods kind of day! Glad you had a good first day!

Lyndsey said...

Phew it's a good job I'd fastened my seat belt ready for the journey since you didn't warn me about the narrow bridge. I'm pleased your first day went well and the kitties are settling into their new nomadic life. The embroidery is looking good. I'm trying hard not to order this pattern until we've finished the bag ladies stitch along but I have a feeling I'll give in as your piece progresses.

Kate said...

Glad you were able to navigate the first part of your trip. Maybe Mike was able to channel some of what he learned at that driving school on this trip. I know it's a much bigger vehicle, but some things are transferable (like nerves of steel maybe?). Enjoy the next leg of your trip. Looking forward to seeing your amazing photos.

Sherry said...

Love the barn photos. By the end of your trip you should have a good selection for another barn quilt. Smitty and Sadie look content after their first day of travel. I am sure they will have a very good story to tell us about their travels. Smitty always does a good job of telling us the pros and cons of his and Sadie's adventures. Safe travels til we hear from you again. Hopefully not to many more bridges that are that narrow. You have to wonder what they were thinking when they made it that size.

Judy H said...

Hitting Montana just in time for some rain and possible snow in the higher elevations, so drive safely! Hopefully, it will dampen some of our fires.

Beth said...

Hooray! Thanks for checking in! So much catching up to do. :) It makes me feel a bit sketchy inside to see the photo of your drive across the skinny, skinny bridge. Seeing how far over that van had inched in the 1st picture tells the tale of how narrow that bridge is...and then there comes the h-u-g-e truck. And how sad I felt seeing the sign for the Bridge of the Gods. I drove across that on 08/22 after having spent the most lovely afternoon in Skamania Landing,having lunch, talking and looking across the river at beautiful places that have likely now burned. I always know I'm in the company of a kindred spirit when they are thinking wildlife in a wild fire. It's astonishing how many people don't.

I love seeing the pictures of the "amber waves of grain". (Who wants to nominate "America the Beautiful" to be our national anthem?) And in today's post my favorite barns were the aqua-colored ones! Imagine the Shutterfly book you'll be able to publish someday.

It always delights me to see Sadie so relaxed and at ease. She has come a long way and it's so clear she loves this life. She has no idea she's about to embark on her Grand Tour.

Hoping you'll encounter smoke-free skies soon...

Auntiepatch said...

Looks like fun! Smitty and Sadie look rested. They should - they don't have to drive!

quiltzyx said...

Looks like the Dodge Ram truck/SUV was scraping the side of the bridge to give you a little extra space! Yoicks!! Glad y'all had a safe trip across & hopefully Mike's knuckles don't have any more "white time" this trip.
Good traveling shots of the barns. One of the big red barns looks like it has young'uns too! Along with some 'slow elk' in the field too.

I am definitely NOT a fan of the laptop touch pad. Yuck. I love my wireless mouse too much to give it up.

Nice start on the Sundress block. It's going to be so cute!

kc said...

Whew, that's one skinny-A bridge! and grooved, too, from the looks of things! Our harrowing bridge was similar - us, at 8 feet, 6 inches wide & the lane at a whopping 9 feet! and speed limit of 55 mph! With concrete barricades on both sides. On a curve, no less. Thankfully, opposing traffic was on the other side of the center barricade. I was told to close my eyes and keep 'em shut till he told me it was ok to open them. Something about me distracting the driver, I just don't know...well, I quit hearing the "whoosh...whoosh...whoosh" of the barricades, so I opened up! BIG mistake. at which time I was told, "I didn't tell you to open your eyes, so close 'em and KEEP 'em closed!" Can't imagine my hysterical self being much of a distraction, but apparently....well, apparently, I was.

Lovely barns - isn't it funny, how wife can say, "build us a barn" and you can get as many variations as there are wives? LOVE it!

Sorry about the fires impacting your adventures; I, too, feel badly for all the woodland critters that have lost so much. Wish they could have had a piece of Harvey or Irma to straighten things out. The RAINY piece, they sure don't need any of the winds.

We made out pretty well during the storm; just some downed tree limbs, but all small, nothing major at our house. Lost power for a few days, but the camper generator was able to keep the freezer & fridge going just fine. So we cooked on the grill outside, flushed with bathtub reserves, drank bottled water & took short, hot showers in the camper. A couple of times, we were even able to fire up the TV and check the Weather Channel for updates. Not quite the same as all our previous hurricane parties..we must be getting old! We had put both sewing machines in the car, for safe keeping and quick evacuation, if necessary, and it was way too dark for any hand stitching, so I was going crazy by the time the lights came on last night! Hooray for the linemen (and women, if there are any!)

A friend from Sarasota had evacuated and went as far as Montgomery, AL...she took about 15 hours to get home yesterday. Can you even imagine? And gas was in short supply, all along the way. So, we have a 7 am wakeup call, as we hit the road at 8. We should hit Perry, GA, about 3-4 pm, if all goes well.

Tread lightly, keep the wheels rolling and stay between the ditches!

QuiltGranma said...

I too have concern for the critters in the fire zones. How are the fires doing in Montana? It's sad that the Pacific North west is burning up.