Monday, November 9, 2015

Almost Home

During our summer road trip, we saw more interesting sights that I could squeeze into my real-time posts. Now that I'm back home and have fished all 548 photos off my devices, I have a few more road trip stories to share. 

To catch up on the rest of the trip, start here.

Drawing close to home is a pivotal moment in any road trip. But when you hail, as I do, from Seattle, Washington, where we find ourselves tucked all the way up into the extreme northwest corner of the continent, it's kind of a special big deal.

When we come back from the open road, there's a sense of retreat, of withdrawing from the wider world to our private little niche; a place that no one goes through; only to. During my early years in the Midwest, I returned from road trips to more centrally located, along-the-highway type hometowns, and the sense of retreat and return was considerably less emotional.

Hello, mighty Columbia River. I've been a Washingtonian for decades now, and I still can't believe I live so close to your wild, beautiful self.

^ Crossing your home state line certainly qualifies as a major milestone on any road trip, but in geographically bipolar Washington, the east side of the state feels as foreign as the moon to us west-siders. For me, it's not until I cross the mighty Columbia River that my heart truly begins to stir. With the wheat fields of the Palouse behind me, and the slow steady climb up the lee side of the Cascade Range about to begin, I sense the terrestrial tides beginning to turn.

Infinite stands of deep green firs growing thick and deep green across the mountains? Moody, overcast clouds? Dreamy patches of fog drifting across the landscape, even in the middle of a summer's day? 

Check. Check. And check. I'm definitely back in the PNW.

But the high point - quite literally - of every trip home is arriving at Snoqualmie Pass. Here, at the crest of the mountains, the dry forests of eastern Washington give way in a rush to the lush, foggy Douglass firs, and the true Pacific Northwest begins.

From this summit, it's an hour max to downtown Seattle and the western terminus of Interstate 90. How satisfying it is to come literally to the end of the longest interstate in the US of A, and bumping smack dab into the little chunk of Pacific Ocean known as Puget Sound. You definitely know the road trip's over when you run out of land.

Then, with one last right turn, we head north for the final twenty minutes of our journey, rolling through the familiar city streets and suburbs of our normal, everyday life.

And then we are home, cozy in our little corner of the great big world, where we live our happy lives and wait with anticipation for the next road trip to begin.

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