Road Trips

Road Trip to the Nevergreen State

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The nickname for my home state of Washington is The Evergreen State. This is fitting for the western part of the state that I live in. We live our lives in pockets of cleared land in the midst of tall trees, many of them evergreen trees such as cedar, fir, hemlock and the occasional pine. The Evergreen State doesn’t seem like such a bad fit for the northern portion of Eastern Washington either. It’s been a long time since I’ve been in that area but I remember a lot of evergreen trees. It’s when you get down in the southern part of Eastern Washington that you might wonder if the person who gave our state its nickname was either color blind or really, really drunk. You can drive for miles and miles without seeing anything green, other than the light gray/green of sagebrush.

Here’s a typical road shot of the western part of the state I live in.

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Lots of clouds, trees and cars. Cars that are often barely moving because the roads are so packed. I live with a constant feeling of claustrophobia.

Here’s a typical road shot in Eastern Washington.

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A whole lotta nothing but sunshine and sagebrush!

Having lived surrounded by trees my whole life, I find the barren landscape of Eastern Washington fascinating. It’s so quiet and so open. I would love to spend more time there.

I’m not sure I could handle living there. Triple digit temps are not out of the ordinary in the summertime and I think day after day after day of sun would get old after awhile. I like some variety in my weather. It keeps things interesting. But I do loving spending time in Eastern Washington.

Our trip this last weekend didn’t give me much opportunity to soak in the sun and bask in the quiet stillness. On Friday night, we had to get to the field for Daniel’s game pretty much as soon as we rolled into Kennewick.

On Saturday, something happened that often happens to people from the Seattle area when they travel. It rained. Hard. I swear rain follows vacationers from Seattle! I’ve heard people tell the same story so many times. It doesn’t matter where we go: Eastern Washington, California, the dry side of Maui, there’s a good chance it will rain like it never rains while we are there. That’s just what happened Saturday. It rained so much that all games in our age bracket were cancelled.

Normally, I would have seen this as an opportunity to put on my rain jacket and go exploring, but I felt so lousy from this cold/cough thing that I just laid around the hotel.

Sunday morning, we had to be at the field at 7:00, the boys lost their game and we were out of the tournament and on the road by 10:00.

To my mind, this gave us time to explore. I love to take my time when traveling through new places. I like to stop at all the scenic outlooks, walk by the river and stop at roadside stands. But my dear husband? Noooooooo. Road trips are all about seeing how fast you can get where you’re going. Speed limits do not apply to road trips. If you’re on a road trip it’s perfectly okay to drive 10-15 mph over the speed limit. And stops? No way! They are a major inconvenience to be avoided at all costs. Hungry? Too bad. You can eat dinner when you get home. Have to pee? He will begrudgingly stop to avoid a flood on the car seats but it’s clearly a major inconvenience and we have to be quick so we can catch up with all the cars that got ahead of us while we were stopped. And that historic town a few miles off the freeway? Forget about it. You’re never going to see it.

So, here I am. Back at home, feeling the trees closing in around me. Wishing I could see more than a few feet in front of me, even if what I see is just dead grass and barren hills.

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I miss you desert! Someday, I’ll be back to enjoy you, hopefully not only while passing by at 80 mph.

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14 thoughts on “Road Trip to the Nevergreen State

  1. This is a great post. To my mind it isn’t a road trip if you don’t stop and see stuff. Or even just take different roads without stops. Sometimes I’m all about reaching a destination quickly, and sometimes I’m all about the journey itself.

    I don’t think I’d ever want to live in Eastern Washington again. But like you I appreciate its spare kind of beauty. I love that our state has so many different climates and topographies so we can live in our favorite, but not have to travel very far to experience something very different.

    You’re right about far east and northeast of Washington. Just outside of Spokane you hit the ponderosa pine forests which fill that whole part of the state. It’s a more brown kind of evergreen, because it’s still very arid compared to Western Washington, without all the lush undergrowth. But there’s nothing like the wonderful whispering sound the wind makes in the long needles of the tall pines.

    1. I’ve only been in that area outside of Spokane once when I was a teenager and we spent Christmas with my step-dad’s family. It was snowy and cold, so cold that my nose hairs felt like they turned to ice the minute I stepped out the door. I loved it! But everything was covered with snow so I didn’t really get a good impression of what it looks like the rest of the year and I didn’t get to hear the pines whispering. Now I want to go there so I can hear that!

      1. My nose hairs were a good temperature gauge when I was living in Sun Valley, Idaho. If I stepped outside and they froze, it meant it was 10 degrees or less. 😀

  2. One of the things I miss most about my ex was the way we did a road trip. We called them “shortcuts” and they would add hours to our drive! lol
    But he is my ex for MANY reasons that just wasn’t one of them 😉

    1. LOL! My dad likes to take those kind of “shortcuts” too! These days I would probably enjoy a road trip with him but, back when I was a kid, it scared me to end up on some skinny road in the middle of nowhere.

  3. There was a racing arcade game when I was a kid called “Out Run,” and your two photos looking down the roadway reminded me of a couple stages from that game (Cloudy Mountain and Desert respectively)! I even found I was humming one of the themes to Out Run subconsciously from that point on!

    I’m a lot like your husband on road trips… especially on the way back. Especially when I realize I can save a day’s charge on the rental car by busting ass getting home before the time I checked it out! (Which I totally did on my Texas trip three years ago)

    1. The landscape looks a lot like areas in Need for Speed too. Maybe that’s why my husband was driving the way he was. Good thing there weren’t any cops to outrun!

      I can see being in a hurry to get home to avoid paying another day for the rental car!

    1. That’s probably why I’m fascinated with it too. We just don’t have wide open views like that here, unless you climb to the top of a mountain.

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