This is part of our 100 Things in 2014 challenge. Here’s the full list.
One dismal Valentine’s Day, Becky and I set off on a road trip to Seattle. Now, there are lots of ways to do something called a “road trip,” so we had to make it interesting. We decided that (a) we couldn’t re-use any roads if we could avoid it, and (b) we could stop any time something struck our fancy.
On our outbound route, we decided to follow in the footsteps of Lewis and Clark, and trace the Columbia River out to the ocean. We stopped in Saint Helens to walk around the charming old town. Who doesn’t love a good pug mural on a garbage can? Becky got real excited whenever we saw a historical marker. After lunch in Rainier, we arrived at the Oregon Film Museum just inside Astoria. We wandered the halls, checking out the filmmaking gadgets and Goonies memoribilia.
Then we drove up the highest hill in town to the Astoria Column, which is way cooler than it sounds. It’s 125 steps to the top, where you can toss little wooden planes off into the breeze.
We then crossed into the frozen tundra of Washingtonia, and the first thing we saw was this place, the last campsite Lewis and Clark set up before sighting the Pacific Ocean. It wasn’t as bad as the name would suggest. Many more miles of road ensued, and several more historical markers. In a little town called Raymond, there’s this charming place that sounded so eccentric and specific we had to stop. The owner was amazingly nice; we arrived about 5 minutes before closing time, but she let us wander around while she closed up shop.
After that it was a mostly routine drive to Seattle. We found our perfect little apartment and settled in for the night. After breakfast, we bundled up against the Seattle sunshine and headed out on the town. First stop: lunch at a really great restaurant. Next up: another Stray Boots scavenger hunt! This one took us all around Pike Street Market. We’ve both been here lots of times before, but we discovered some new treasures. We stumbled across a place that seems designed to tickle one of Becky’s guilty pleasures: a store that specializes in maps! She wanted to paper our office walls with wooden reproductions of various bodies of water, but I managed to get her out of there without any injuries. Then retired to our apartment to correspond and such.
The next day we set out for home, following the easterly back highways. Traveling the roads less traveled comes with some benefits. We ran across this tiny old church tucked behind a crappy restaurant in a train car. Going up over the hills, we found snow again. And an unknown person congratulated me using a giant orange rock! Thanks, stranger, for I know not what. Then, after 510 miles, we got home.
It seems like the art of the road trip has been lost. Becky and I both have fond childhood memories of cramming the entire family in a car, and Dad driving until we got lost (several times). We usually find ourselves trying to optimize out all the times in between the important things in our lives, but we took this opportunity to stretch out that in-between for maximum effect. The radio was off, we were often just lost in our own thoughts, watching the non-interstate scenery go by. If you haven’t tried it, please do.