Move Day 5: Missoula, MT to Redmond

posted by Jeff | Friday, November 13, 2009, 9:27 PM | comments: 1

I woke up at 6 this morning just completely wired, perhaps because I crashed at 10 last night. Diana was up too, so we just decided to go for it and get underway.

Cats were all kind of cranky this time around. Oliver took two hours to settle down, and Cosmo was just cranky and kept trying to get down under my feet. I couldn't get these animals to Seattle fast enough.

The drive from Missoula to the Washington border was absolutely amazing. It was easily the second best scenery I've ever seen first hand (second to Hawaii). The section through Idaho in particular was stunning. There were several towns literally stuck between mountains. The lake at Coeur d'Alene was really cool too.

Spokane, and most of Eastern Washington, is remarkably uninteresting. We stopped in a town called Moses Lake, where the rain was starting to get crappy, as temperatures were dropping. This is where I finally reached a point of frustration, and let go of some tension. I ended up smacking the brakes hard an a short red light, and shit came flying forward, freaking out the cats and sending the two plants we tried to bring flying (for the second time, actually, as they also went flying with deer in the road coming down from Mt. Rushmore). I did a lot of swearing and a solid steering wheel pound. I just had it with the long drives. And this mess in the car, looking for a shitty Pizza Hut because there was nothing else around?

Before too long, after another hundred miles or something, we hit the Columbia River Gorge, which was beautiful and vast. It reminds me of the part I've seen toward Portland, but yet it's different too. There was an overlook just up river from the dam and the I-90 bridge, and I jumped out of the car to snap a few photos. Just beautiful.

Driving up from the river got interesting, with some snow or sleet or something, but it wasn't horrible. The electronic signs were all warning of doom through the Snoqualmie Pass.  During the climb, I kept waiting and waiting for it to be horrible, and it really didn't get bad until just before the high point.

It was the way down that things got interesting. I didn't find it to be any more challenging than any typical winter storm in Northeast Ohio, but as is generally the case with winter driving, it's the actions of others that can get you into trouble. Clearly, most people driving through had no fucking clue how to drive in snow. Braking too hard causes you to slide and lose control. Why is this so hard to understand? Even in a downhill situation like this, don't get too quick, but don't start brake mashing. Things were probably at their worst about half way down, back where the temperature transitioned back from frozen to not.

Further down 90, things relaxed, and there was even sun. The temperature in Redmond was 40. When we got to the location to pick up the keys, the place wasn't ready. Apparently I had a 5 p.m. check-in time. I don't recall choosing that, and I was fairly irritated. They brought in the keys around 4.

The temp housing is adequate. I'm glad we'll only really spend two weeks here. On the plus side, it's literally a block away from the building that I think I'm working in. I'm glad that the cats can actually just hang out and not be moved again for a few weeks.

I'm exhausted. I mean, really wasted. I can't wait to turn in that damn mini-van tomorrow. Here are the stats:

Total miles: 2,500 (weird, eh?)
Max speed: 88 mph (downhill in Montana, east of Butte)
Average speed: 67 mph
Total drive time: 37:25



November 14, 2009, 8:59 AM #

The Gorge is absolutely spectacular.

Agreed with you on driving in snow -- I'm pretty confident in my abilities (don't go too fast, don't mash on the brakes, and also don't go too SLOW when facing hills). When I lived in Seattle it rarely snowed, but when it did you may as well have declared an emergency over a half inch. I remember one commute in particular where there was what I considered a dusting, so off to work I went. The people around me were freaking out. One car in front of me spun out, went to the side of the road. I went around him and kept going. A bit later I happened to look in my rear-view mirror and saw the SAME CAR spinning again.

Oh, and then there was the snowplow that turned at an intersection and left a pile of snow in the middle because the driver didn't know what HE was doing...

I love Seattle :)

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