I have been on the road for three days. I feel like I've been driving incessantly for the entire time, and have crossed practically half a continent. Indeed, as I've even driven over the Continental Divide, where one would naturally assume the rest of the journey would be downhill. That would be in error, however. Here is what I have seen so far:
1. Ferries in the summer are busy. Duh. I knew this already. While I love living on an island, the drawback comes when you have to get off. Most of the time I go about my daily life without leaving The Rock (no, I am not incarcerated at Alcatraz, that is also the nickname for Vancouver Island. That, or simply "the Island"). The ferry can serve as a nice someone-else-take-the-wheel conduit to Vancouver. But there are times when taking a ferry can be painful, and that time is summer.
Busy morning at the Duke Point ferry terminal.
I am no stranger to ferries. When I was a little girl, my Nana lived in Victoria and my family in Saskatchewan, and it was always a treat to take the ferry to visit her. It felt like we were going somewhere exotic. Back in my grad school days, one of the elements of my thesis was to see if the ferry between the Island and the mainland could be used to assist in quantitative surveys for marine mammals. So I have ridden the ferries hundreds of times: as a tourist, an islander, a commuter, and a researcher. This time, however, it meant I had to think about exactly what time I wanted to leave, whether I want to spend the extra money on a reservation (I did) or gamble that I could get on without one, and it also meant adding several extra hours to my journey.
2. Eastern Washington could not be more different than the Pacific Northwest. There are no trees, and seems more like a prairie. There are a lot of dams, which mirrors the western part of Washington, but they seem more obtrusive. I guess I knew this already too, but when I spend most of my Washington time along the western edge, eastern Washington always catches me off guard.
A different side of Washington.
3. My new car is great on gas. I've been filling up about every 800 kilometers, which is pretty much double what my VW van would get. But I can't sleep in it as easily, and I require extra accessories to keep food cold.
4. Coeur d'Alene has a beautiful bike path around the lake. Well, I don't know if it goes all the way around, but I enjoyed the section I rode.
Lake Coeur d'Alene.
5. Montana seems determined to re-surface the entire I-90, all at once, and right when I'm trying to get through.
6. Montana really does have an endless expanse of sky. I haven't been to that state in maybe 20 years, and the celestial vista is remarkable.
7. Despite Wyoming having spectacular landscapes (Yellowstone, Devil's Tower, the Grand Tetons - beautiful craggy mountains whose name unfortunately translates to "big tits" in French), the I-90/I-25 corridor is mind-numbingly boring.
Wyoming from my rear-view mirror, which is all I want to see of the Interstate.
8. I didn't see any cowboys in Wyoming, but I did see two "Go Western!" billboards. I'm not exactly sure what is meant by going western, perhaps donning cowboy boots and exerting a general cruelty to livestock?
9. Seeing the Rocky Mountains on the horizon in Denver evokes the same feeling I used to get driving east of Calgary to Banff as a kid. A kind of mystical, powerful yet grounding feeling.
Colorado Rocky Mountain high on the horizon...
10. How is it I've been gone for only three days, but have amassed an entire load of laundry already? A couple of runs, ride, workouts in hotel gyms, walks, I guess the year of laundry is going strong.
Tomorrow I'll be meeting up with Kirsty in Leadville. I can't wait to be in one place for a few days, go for some mountain bike rides in a place I've never been, and oh yeah, run at 10k race at 10,000 feet elevation. I must have been drunk when I signed up for that one.