It would have to be darned important to lever me off my little patch of dirt this summer. You see, I am pouring all my energy into getting my Etsy shop up this summer. It’s a big project and is taking longer than expected because I am also creating a new logo and corporate identity package. In addition, I’m making new banners for my blog, shop and soon-to-be Facebook business page. A considerable amount of work. Earlier in the spring, I let my mom and mother-in-law know I wouldn’t be able to visit this summer because of my workload and self-imposed deadline. My husband would be going without me and I would have a working staycation. There was some gnashing of teeth but I stood firm. Soon after, my nephew rang.
Jeremy: What are you doing on August 25th?
Jan: August 25th? (I braced myself.)
Jeremy: I know what you’re going to be doing!
Jan: You do?
Jeremy: Yes! You’re coming here!
Jan: I am?!
Jeremy: Yes! I’m getting married!
Aunt Jan listened. Of my mother’s and father’s five children, my brother, Steve, was the only one to have a child, so Jeremy was and is the ‘apple of our eye.’ Aunt Jan ceded some ground and, last week, I shopped and wrapped. Friday, we drove down; Sunday we drove back. A whirlwind 1300 kilometer road trip for a lovely outdoor wedding on a sunny day under a cloudless sky.
My trip officially started when I drove to downtown Vancouver to meet my husband at his workplace on the waterfront. When I pulled up, I saw a passenger ship moored alongside Canada Place. The Celebrity Millennium would have entered the city through the Burrard Inlet, a long fjord of the Pacific Ocean along which Vancouver was built. The grey sky
over North Vancouver didn’t extend far, thank goodness. In fact, it ended at about the point where I stood, under the Vancouver Sun building, above which was sun, blue sky and fluffy white clouds. Good omen! We, then, set our game plan in motion. The Plan: travel by way of the Peace Arch border crossing, head south to Everett, Washington, then turn east, toward our destination, Spokane. Reaching the border meant driving through Vancouver during Friday rush hour traffic and it took an hour and a half to drive 20 miles! Along the way, though, we saw some nice sights, one of which was Vancouver City Hall. Built during Vancouver’s Golden Jubilee, in 1936, it is a lovely example of Art Deco architecture and received heritage status in 1976. From there, we continued driving south. Very heavy traffic and I’m amazed to think that people commute like this every day. Surrounded by single occupancy vehicles, it made me wonder if any of them ever use public transportation. Vancouver’s new Skytrain line traveled in the same direction they were going, after all. By the time we reached the border, we were happy to see that all lanes were open and traffic moved briskly. It took us all of 12 minutes to enter the U.S. of A. Soon we were zooming down the freeway to our cutoff at Everett.
We love taking US Highway 2 because of the gorgeous scenery. No hectic freeway rush or homogenous restaurants, either. The road trip route took us over Stevens Pass which is always a thrilling drive, no matter the time of year. The Cascade Loop is one of the state’s most scenic areas. Who can resist driving through towns named Sultan, Gold Bar or Skykomish? Or seeing Mt. Index? The jagged, snow-covered mountains are a dramatic backdrop for the green whitewater of the Wenatchee River. The only time I ever saw a Golden Eagle was when crossing Stevens Pass en route to Montana, years ago. They are enormous, having wing spans of up to seven and a half feet. I remember watching it through the windshield as it glided on air currents overhead. Stevens is also a mountain pass that feels like a mountain pass, with a steep ascent and descent…. We quickly left the mountains, crossed the iconic Columbia River, then drove up a steep, winding canyon with hairpin turns. Soon, we reached Big Bend Plateau, named for a bend in the the Columbia near Wenatchee, which we’d just passed through. It was the end of the first leg of our whirlwind trip and we were heading for one of our all-time favorite towns. Happily beetling the short distance to Waterville, we passed an old barn with advertising along way. Then, after nosing our car into the parking lot of the Waterville Hotel, we got out and stretched. Having driven through this tiny town for over 20 years, it was the first time we’ve stayed longer than the time it took to picnic at Pioneer Park or walk our dog, Shiva. It was high time. The old hotel, built of local brick in 1903, has been on the National Register since 1984. It has a deep porch with Adirondack chairs and is the perfect place to slow down… It was nice sitting in the library and just being around the original furniture. In the morning, we breakfasted on orange juice, coffee and raisin scones from the Blue Rooster Bakery in town. The proprietors are lovely people who have owned the hotel since 1996. They have renovated it room by room. According to the website, “the Waterville Hotel received the Washington State Office of Archaeology and Historic Preservation Officers Award for Outstanding Achievement in 1999.” I want to return for a one-week stay, at some point. (Wednesday: “Sea, prairie, mountains: Whirlwind 1300 km road trip, Part II”)