Seattle to Southern Utah in 36 Hours

After we leftPortlandwe drove up toOak Harbor,Washington, about 2 hours north ofSeattle, to visit Nate’s friend, Melissa and her husband, Greg. Nate told me that Melissa was his high school girlfriend, and that he hadn’t seen her in almost ten years. He predicted that I would get to witness a funny reaction from Melissa when she saw him, as he looks a bit different now than he did ten years ago.

When we got close to their house, it became clear that they lived in a really nice area.

Melissa  and Greg’s neighborhood on Whidbey Island:

We pulled up to Melissa and Greg’s house, and Greg was outside grilling our dinner. He greeted us warmly and I checked out what was on the grill: a boatload of chicken and grilled veggies. I started to get excited. Melissa came outside to say hello and I witnessed the reaction Nate guessed she’d have: “You’re so much hairier than I remember!” she said with a look of mild shock on her face.

Melissa took us inside where I saw the rest of our dinner: mashed potatoes, chard from their garden, pineapple, and biscuits. They also gave us some of Greg’s homebrew; the first IPA I’ve ever liked. Melissa and Greg: you win for best dinner we’ve had on the road so far. Thanks guys!

They insisted on sending us home with most of the leftovers and two big bottles of homebrew, plus a huge bag full of homemade cookies. You guys are awesome! Thanks 🙂

We were poised to make a serious push to get to Bryce Canyon in the shortest amount of time possible. Although we wanted to get on the road as early as possible, we thought it unwise to pass by Seattle without stopping for at least a little while. We decided our one stop in the city would be Pike Place Market, the famous market at the pier where people throw fish to each  other.                                                 

It was overcast when we got into Seattle (surprise!), and we sat inside and got some fresh seafood for lunch. By the time we finished and started walking around the market, the sun had, against all odds, emerged. We checked out some local art and food stuffs from the vendors, and finally found the fish market, something on Nate’s list of things to see. It was a bit underwhelming compared to what I’d pictured, but we did see one fish get thrown! We wandered into the outdoor part of the market and into the sun, seeking a little shop that Melissa told us has the best olive oils. Along the way we saw some pretty impressive street performers. My favorite was the guy that played guitar and sang while balancing a chair on his face – a very useful skill. He played an original song called “I love my mom”, in which he basically said “I love my mom, I love my mom, I love my mom”, over and over really fast. Though the lyrics left something to be desired, the beat was catchy. We found the oil shop and got some gifts to bring home, then decided it was time to hit the road. I would love to return to Seattle someday and really check it out, as we didn’t get very far in the 3 hours we spent there. I was told it’s more laidback than Portland (if that’s even possible) and as far as cities go, laidback is a characteristic I value highly.

So after less than 24 hours in Washington, we were off on the next leg of our journey. We headed south and drove back through Oregon, headed east towards Idaho. When the sun started setting, we figured it was time to find a spot to pull off and reheat some of last night’s leftovers. We’d hit a pretty barren section of the state and found a nice hill with a view of hundreds of wind turbines, and decided to eat dinner there. We put some music on the computer, Nate dropped the tailgate and busted out the grill, and we fixed ourselves a repeat feast of Melissa and Greg’s amazing cooking. Of course, I took the opportunity to snap a few pictures while Nate did the cooking (these had become pretty standard roles for us).

I find wind turbines both eerie and picturesque…

 

After dinner we found a campsite in eastern Oregon and crashed relatively early, hoping to get a head start on the day tomorrow. It paid off as we had our most successful quick wake up and go yet! We were on the road by 6:30 and Rose blazed through the whole state of Idaho in a glory. Speaking of blaze, by the time we got into Utah it was HOT. I’m guessing in the triple digits. The speed limit was a cool 80 mph, and I couldn’t resist trying to keep up, even if it meant pushing Rose to her limits. This proved to be a bad idea. Somewhere just before Salt Lake City the red engine light came on and Nate started to freak out a bit, so we thought it best to stop. Turns out Rose started to get heat stroke and we had to pull over and give her a rest and some water and coolant. We took the opportunity to pray that this wasn’t the end for our beloved ride, and also eat some Carl’s Jr. After the fast food (they delivered it to our table and the burger was goooood – Carl’s is fancy), we checked back on Rose and, true to form, she had recovered beautifully. We hit the road again, this time keeping to a reasonable speed, with Nate reprimanding me if I started to let it creep over 65. Despite our slower pace, we managed to make it to Bryce Canyon that night, found a campsite, and checked ourselves in around 10 p.m. By the time we got into the park, it had long been dark so we didn’t catch even a glimpse of what the next few days would hold for us, but I had a feeling we were going to wake up to some spectacular scenery.

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