I woke up to the sound of blaring horns, with cramps in both my legs and a sore back. Took me a minute to figure out where I was. Oh Yeah, I’m parked in a rest stop in the middle of Montana. We spent the night sleeping in the car with the dogs. No road trip is complete without a night in the car, hunched over the steering wheel in a sleeping bag. Warning! This is not something that should be done by the faint hearted. But I consider it mandatory if you haven’t done it since you were 20. It’s a right of passage for road trippers. We had to get ourselves from the middle of nowhere Montana to Seattle. It was going to be a long day…
Our first mission was critical: Coffee! We pulled off at the first highway exit and found a gas station/souvenir shop that was actually open that early. We had a very nutritious breakfast of mini donuts and cold hard-boiled eggs from our cooler. We sat on the deck of the car while the doggies ate and watched the sunrise while we were still shaking of the sleep. It was a beautiful and serene way to start the day.
Considering we had another 500 miles to cover we decided to stay on I-90 until we reached Tacoma. After some driving, and crossing back into Idaho, we both agreed a nap was in order and pulled off the Interstate right before Kellogg, ID. We stumbled into a pretty cool statue that was built to honor the deaths from the Sunshine Mine disaster in 1972. The Miner’s light is supposed to be positioned pointing at the mine entrance and the light is always on.
We got back on the highway feeling a bit more refreshed and soaking in the scenery of Idaho and Washington. Our conversation went back to the previous evening and we spent more time discussing life as full-time travelers. We realized that neither of us had a desire to return to our regular lives. We were both were tired of the rat race and felt like we had been stuck in this massive consumerism cycle. Always buying the next new thing and then working more and harder to pay for it, just to replace it again. We decided we needed a “Fight Club” style reset for our lives (no blowing up our condo was not part of the plan) but couldn’t decide who would get to be Brad Pitt or Ed Norton. We had finally figured out what we wanted, to travel the world together side by side, but had no idea how to get it. With Cream wailing in the background we continued chewing up miles of interstate.
As we came up to the Columbia river crossing we spotted a pretty busy highway turnout and decided to pull in and take a look. We stopped at the Priest Rapids Hydro Electric Site which is part of the Wanapum Dam. The views were absolutely amazing. You could see the entire reservoir, the windmills across the river, and a great shot of the I-90 bridge that crosses a couple of miles down river.
Right across the river is the Ginkgo Petrified Forest. We chose not to stop because we were pretty tired, and the doggies weren’t allowed to walk around. From here we pretty much booked it to Tacoma, found our hotel, took some hot showers and had an afternoon nap. Once rested we decided to head out for a drive and explore Tacoma.
We often stay in a smaller city or suburb right outside a major city when we travel. We typically find a lot more pet friendly options this way and save quite a bit on hotel costs. Tacoma was a neat little city with some great old buildings. We found a nice drive along the Schuster Parkway that took us to Commencement Bay and the Puget Sound.
There are several lovely parks along the road where you can go for a jog, take the dogs for a nice walk, or go out on the pier. The weather was gorgeous, with a nice breeze coming off the water. We walked and enjoyed the views for a while and worked up an appetite for dinner.
We went on a hunt for something different to eat that night and, thanks to Urban Spoon, found an awesome Hawaiian joint a few miles south of where we were. It was called Ali’i and Sumo’s. The food was amazing and very affordable. After dinner we went back to the hotel and prepped ourselves for our first big city visit to Seattle.