The trip from Provo, Utah to Mukilteo, Washinton is approximately 14.5 hours. Or at least, that is what Google maps tells us...
The trip for Roberta and me consisted of about two hotel stays, a walking tour and a little bit of snow that was much more nerve wracking to one of us - though the other was certainly relieved to be out of it, too.
I left work around 4:30 p.m. on Thursday, thinking that we'd get an early start on the road. When I met up with Roberta at the storage unit, she had successfully emptied about half its contents into the driveway, and was deciding what she would take in the trailer. I think I blinked at her. The trailer!? Didn't she know that I've never - NEVER - towed anything on a car/truck before? Of course she didn't. And I wasn't about to tell her that. She left to get the Uhaul (trapping me behind the storage unit gates because I didn't know the password on how to get out!) and I sat back and entertained myself with reading and phone calls and walks around the units.
A few hours later, and after several bonks on the head (Roberta) and much aggrevated noises (Roberta) with some nervous laughter and giggling (Shelli) we had the trailer packed with more stuff than we anticipated. Roberta started the driving and we made it to Draper before we decided to stop for food. Then we drove to Salt Lake to drop off my car. And THEN we made a valiant effort and made it all the way to Tremonton, UT before we stopped at the Hampton Inn for the night.
We made sure that we were up for breakfast by 9:30 a.m., headed down and made delicious waffles and then went back up to the room and took a nap. After showering and getting ourselves ready, we were off (at around 1:30 p.m.) and we alternated between driving. The drive through Idaho is the same drive I've made over and over again to visit my Uncle in Boise, and it was long... I couldn't believe how long it took us just to get to Burley!
We did really well until we hit the mountain passes at around 9:30 p.m. or so, we hit the point where the rain turned into snow, and the road lanes turned invisible. Why don't states make sure the paint on their roads is visible? It's nerve-wracking enough driving through a mini-blizzard, but when I can't see the lanes and the edge of the road, it is much more scary! Plus, I was pulling a trailer, which could overtake my car at any point - especially on the 6% down grade... And once Roberta woke up, it was all over. I don't know if it was the weather or my driving (couldn't have been my driving... I'm a great driver) but she decided that we needed to pull over at the next town. I managed to make it another 40 miles before actually pulling over but eventually we did - even though we had made it through the mountain pass, and the snow was again rain. I wanted to keep going because I didn't want to take much more time, but I was also secretly glad that we stopped. As much as I could have pushed through, I was just as tired of driving as Roberta was and my contacts were going buggy. Plus, I really needed to use the facilities. I could have pushed further if it weren't for that last part. We went shopping at WalMart for bathing suits we never used and got a room at the Oxford Suites in Pendleton, OR.
Oxford Suites are fun. They are all western-themed with cowboy and Indian pictures on the walls. They gave us a discount because they were booked and only had smoking rooms available. Smoking rooms stink. And every time I thought I was used to it, I would take a breath and get a headache all over again. I don't think I ever really got used to the smell, but I did manage to get well-rested enough to be up for breakfast at 9:30 a.m. My favorite part of Oxford Suites is the breakfast. They have a kitchen where they make you awesome potatoes and eggs to order. I got a cheese omelet and Texan-style potatoes and sausage, and it was delicious.
Roberta laid down for a nap, and I watched a movie while we waited for our 2:00 p.m. reservation for the walking tour of the Underground of Pendleton. We decided the night before that we were not actually in a hurry to get to Washington, and we wanted to see some of the history of the area. Plus, they were advertising a tour of a real bordello, opium room and speakeasy! The hotel did call us and asked if we were going to "vacate the premisis" soon... so we got on that and headed towards the tour.
Outside the store on Emigrant Street, a man and his girlfriend (/sister/both?) sat on the bench and told us that he had lost his truck the night before. Apparently drinking was involved, and probably Indians that knew he had beer in the back of his truck? He was convinced that if he reported the truck as stolen, he would be calling the police on himself - and he certainly did not want to do that. We wished him luck and went on our way. The walking tour was probably not as good as it could have been, but it was certainly easy and gave me some ideas for a book I have been writing so that was really cool. Roberta and I took pictures and then we hopped back on the freeway and made the rest of our drive. I was actually really glad that we decided to stop - it's always fun to have a little spontaneous adventure, and I don't know that any of my family or friends would have been willing to go on a random walking tour in a random city.
The western part of Oregon is really cool. It wasn't at all like I imagined. I've never been to Oregon, so I was really excited to actually visit it! Driving through it was more like what I imagined Scotland or Ireland to be like - really green and rainy and hilly. There were really no trees to be seen - the few that existed on the drive we passed through the dark and snow the night before.
We made it out of Oregon before we realized that we didn't have enough gas to get to the next town in Washington to fill up, so we had to turn around after crossing the state line and head back into Oregon. This worked out for us because of course, in Oregon they pump your gas for you. It's against the law to pump your own gas. So we figured we might as well have them stand in the cold rain, and fill-'er-up.
Once we were back on the road, it was for good and it was so fun to drive past the signs for Spokane (where I lived when I was two years old - and of course don't actually have any memories of living there) and Yakima. Yakima is the last city in Washington that I had been to and it's been about 12 or 13 years since then because my grandparents moved from there to Utah some time after that. I have really good memories of the places my grandparents lived in Washington and so it was really fun to relive some of those while I was driving through.
We made it to Mukilteo at about 10:00 p.m. on Saturday night, tired but happy.
I really, really love Washington. The whole state is absolutely beautiful (based on the observations I've made in the few places I've been). I'm sad that I don't get more time to visit and explore - but my ticket is purchased and I'm to fly back to Utah tomorrow evening.