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Connecticut River Valley, New England, United States

Friday, September 19, 2014

Across the Cascades to the Washington Coast


Friday September 19,2014  Mt Vernon, Washington Room 126  Quality Inn

For some reason I did not sleep well last night. Awake at 3 and never really got back to sleep. Needless to say by the time we reached Mt Vernon at 1 pm I was almost catatonic. We had to kill two hours before checking in so we went next door and got an Arby’s roast beef sandwich and their new crème brulee shake. Didn’t go over on points but sure can only eat an apple while watching Roosevelt tonight. When we checked in and brought in the luggage, I literally fell on the bed and went out like a light. After an hour and a half I woke up, called Bill and have a second wind. Barb and I emptied the whole car and reorganized the pantry, china closet and trunk. We haven’t bought a great deal—neither of us needs anything but things could be consolidated and make more room. Plus, it gave us a chance to take an inventory.

But before we got to Mt Vernon, took our naps and did our housekeeping we left Leavenworth and the cute Howard Johnson’s where we stayed and headed out through a long mountain canyon along the Wenatchee River and then climbed Stewart’s Pass, just a bit over 4000 ft. When we approached the mountains, the water laden air from the Pacific poured between the peaks and over them in the form of thick, billowing clouds. So beautiful—it looked like a solid wall of white—I unconciously exclaimed, Oh, MY God!  As we descended the other side we entered the fog bank but fortunately went down fast enough that it was soon above us and never really impeded visibility.  Soon we were on flat ground continuing to the coast, through forests that felt and looked like dripping rainforest. Anything wooden or rocky is covered in thick moss. To say the Pacific Northwest is wet is putting it very mildly. It is damp, damp, damp and dripping.

It is funny how one’s perspective judges the comfort level of a mountain pass. As the passenger I liked this one—it never had really frightening drop offs although there were a couple of wide long curves whose arc overlooked open air. Found them a bit nerve wracking. Barb, on the other hand, was not fond of this pass or the canyon for that matter—too curvy and very short tight curves.

Well, we will return that way to Leavenworth in a couple of days and head south to follow the Columbia River Gorge. Hopefully, the 1930’s scenic byway we remember will be the same. I’m a bit worried though, route 30 is also shown as an Interstate. I fear it has been widened and modernized. Bill says things have undergone Californication and that is true. Barb and I have been a bit disappointed at the changes, although the scenery is still magnificent and narrow back roads ,like route 9, still retain the old character.

Good night from the Martha Stewart trained Sisters, Kathy and Barb

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