Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Tales from the Road Trip: The day we peed in a town called Ritzville

Bright and early Monday morning we staggered resentfully jumped energetically out of bed, packed my car with all it could hold (including two pet water frogs who were seatbelted in the backseat) (in their tank, wiseass) and set out on Day 1 of our Road Trip from Seattle to Chicago.

We started in Renton, a suburb just south of Seattle, at about 8 am. We pretty much had the road to ourselves, which is very strange and whattheheckish for Renton at that time of the day. Eerie, in fact. Spooky. Disturbing even. *shuddering* But whatever. We certainly weren’t complaining.

We got on I-90 and off we went, winding our way through misty Western Washington.

We made a pit stop on Snoqualmie Pass in the Cascade Mountains because we hadn’t started the trip on a full tank of gas (whoopsie!) and I always (ALWAYS) fill up at half a tank so I never (NEVER) have to risk running out of fuel on the freeway—or worse!—in the middle of nowhere.


I’m not usually anal, thankyouverymuch. Just ask the weirded-out people who were setting things up at my wedding last year when I was all in anti-Bridezilla mode, saying, “eh, whatever, it’s all good,” anytime they asked my opinion on anything. They’ll tell you. However, when it comes to filling up my car at half a tank, the. Car. Will. Be. Filled. Up. At. Half. A. Tank.

Got it?


So, we stopped at Snoqualmie.

$27.03 later we were back on the road. Soon the lush green mountainous landscape of Western Washington was behind us and we were cruising through Eastern Washington, which looks a wee bit different.

We stopped off for a few minutes or so at the Wild Horses Monument which overlooks I-90 and the Columbia River.

The view was incredible….

….but, holy heck, it was WINDY!

I was fascinated with all the little albino grasshoppers that were leaping around all over the place up there.

Scope updated his Facebook status.

And Wednesday was doing a super duper job of freaking her poor mother out!

(Girlie, if you fall, you’re buying your own Bandaids, ‘kay?!)


Back in the car, we passed by George.

Uh-huh. That’s right. We have a city called George, Washington.

(But I’m not sure if there’s really a Hannah, Montana.)


(Or a Raising, Arizona.)

(Or a Baked, Alaska.)

(Okay, I’ll stop now.)

(You’re welcome.)

Along the way we passed this oddity….

Yep. It’s a carnival funhouse!

And then it was lunchtime, we all needed to pee, and we saw a sign for Ritzville and pulled over.


I’m not sure what I expected Ritzville to look like. Maybe…. oh, I dunno…. kinda ritzy or fancy or snazzy or something like that. Or—ooh, I know!—home to the world’s biggest box of Ritz Crackers!!!! YEAH!!!! Wouldn’t that have been great? But no. Nope. Ritzville looked like this….

Total false advertising. Wow. But, still, we found a McDonalds for lunch in Ritzville and Wednesday took the opportunity to check on the perplexed frogs strapped in the backseat….

The frogs were just fine. Freaked out beyond all reason, but just fine. No little froggie heart attacks, so yay! We filled up the car again and were quickly back on the road.

Washington State bid us farewell by buzzing us with an Horizon plane.

And then we crossed over the border into Idaho.

Idaho pretty much looked like this the whole way....

And, as the Idaho panhandle we were travelling through is only about 70 miles wide, we didn’t even need to make a stop in Idaho before we found ourselves crossing into Montana.

(Eww. Please excuse the ghost of the dead bug on the windshield in that picture. Unfortunately, it won’t be the last.)

Montana was hilly. (Understatement.) And wooded. (Anti-hyperbole.) And COVERED with signs for Clark Fork. (Complete and utter truth.)

Seriously. Every half-mile or so we passed a sign for Clark Fork. We were practically tripping over them. After being on the road for ten hours or so, it started to get increasingly hilarious every time we saw another Clark Fork sign.

(Sad, I know.)

We filled up the car again in Missoula and got back on I-90 where we soon passed the West Riverside Forest Fire by the freeway.

There was a helicopter making water drops with a woefully inadequate-looking bucket, trying to douse the flames. It was like watching someone trying to put out a campfire with a thimble.

(As far as I know, the fire is still ongoing and is only 35% contained. If you are interested, you can read the news updates on the fire HERE.)

We drove on….

….and on….

….and on some more. Soon the sun was setting beautifully beside us.

From that point on we kinda stopped taking pictures of our drive because they were all coming out like this….


We stopped in Butte for dinner (insert rump roast joke here) and then drove to Bozeman for the night. There was a college shindig going on in Bozeman and it was not easy finding a motel with an available room. But we eventually stumbled upon the Bozeman Inn.

The fact that the Bozeman Inn seemed to be the only motel with available rooms should have been a sign that it—uhh—might not be the best place in town to stay.

(Oh, hindsight, you little minx, you!)

But we were so exhausted by that point that we didn’t really care that the Bozeman Inn was obviously a little sketchy. In fact, I was so sleepy that I honestly didn’t care that our room smelled like old rancid mushroom soup, and—worse!—I didn’t even notice the disturbing stain (vomit?!?!) (diarrhea?!?!) (BLOOD?!?!) that was on the bed Scope and I slept on until Scope pointed it out to me the next morning.

Ugh. Oh dear God. Nasty. I feel the urge to go have a two hour long shower every time I think about it! Gah! Makes Ritzville look perfectly ritzy indeed! My advice? If the only room available is at the Bozeman Inn, do yourself a favor and go all Mary and Joseph and find yourself a barn instead.



MONEY SPENT ON GAS: $42.30 or $69.33, depending on whether or not you believe the first fill up counts.
LICENSE PLATES SEEN ON THE ROAD IN WA: 15 (Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Florida, Idaho, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio, Oregon, South Dakota, Washington, and Alberta)
LICENSE PLATES SEEN ON THE ROAD IN ID: 3 (Nevada, West Virginia, and Quebec)

Up next: Day 2 of our Road Trip, where I swear I was kidnapped by Looney Tunes and held captive in a twisted, unending Wile E Coyote cartoon. No joke, there was even a real honest to God ACME sign along the roadway, okay?!?! I wish I were kidding.

Stay tuned....

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Monday, August 29, 2011

Tales from the Road Trip: The part where I pull a bait n’ switch on you by not actually getting to the road trip part yet. (Sorry.)

WARNING: This post may contain peanuts. And a picture or two.

A few weeks ago, Wednesday and I boarded a plane and flew 2000 miles from Chicago….

….to Seattle….

….to get some tasks done and to hang out with my family for a little bit before packing up my car with our pet frogs (whom my mom has been babysitting for the past year) and driving them back home to Chicago.

The joke was on us though. The family went camping instead.




(Do we offend?)

Seriously. Wednesday and I were left home alone in my mom’s place for a week, which actually ended up being a lot of fun, unexpectedly…. despite the fact that we missed “our dude” Scope like a couple of big, pathetic crybabies.


We had Wednesday’s friends come over; we went shopping (Oh, Hallmark’s ridiculously cute, yet offensively expensive Keepsake Ornaments, how I love thee!); we went on hour long walks up hills; we plotted mammoth plans involving thousands of photographs and Windows Live Movie Maker; we marveled that Autumn is already alive, kicking, and changing the leaves of the trees in Seattle (Fall? Already? Really? C’mon!)….

….we took a zillion pointless pictures of ourselves and our new ‘dos….

….and we met up with Wednesday’s Guardian ad Litem, who will be speaking for her in court. (But I'm no longer allowed to talk about that. Sorry.)

On the 17th, my family decided to crawl back out of the woods to spend a few days with us before we had to leave. And on the 19th, Scope flew into town.

Or he was supposed to.

Thanks to Mother Nature throwing a temper tantrum on the east coast and grounding his flight, his plane ended up three and a half hours behind schedule. He FINALLY landed in Seattle at 1:00 am on the 20th.

*shaking my fist menacingly at Mother Nature*

It had dawned on Wednesday and me that in all his visits to Seattle, we have never shown Scope Seattle’s beaches. Our favorite beach in Seattle is Seahurst Park. I have been going there since I was a wee, runty, obnoxious kid, as has Wednesday. So, Saturday the three of us loaded up into my car and went to the beach….

Sunday we met up with my mom, my sister and her brood at I-Hop for breakfast….

….where my littlest niece showed off her new walking skillz (which Scope got an uber-cute video of which you can see HERE)….

….and then Wednesday, Scope and I met up with Callista and her hubby at Mourning Market, a spooky, gothic-themed craft fair, which was fantastic!

There were hearses parked outside….

(Yeah, that’s right. It’s the Barbie Dream Hearse. Fabulous!)

And there were all kinds of creepy crafts and ghoulish goodies to purchase inside….

My favorite were the Siamese twin ragdolls….

But for $30 a doll? Ouch! The cheapskate in me said, “I don’t think so.” However, the cheapskate in me applauded enthusiastically and even did a backflip or two for the free bat-shaped chocolates they were handing out….

(FREE chocolates?!?! Yes, please!!!!)

Sunday night, Scope, Wednesday and I went to my dad’s house to visit him. Three days before, he had started cringe-worthy cancer treatment (I’ll spare you the details of what was done to the poor fella) and was still in some pain, but he really, really wanted to see us before we hit the road the next morning. And we really, really wanted to see him too!

He showed Scope the massive model train track layout he is building in his backyard….

….and then when Dad said he felt well enough to go out for Mexican food, we all piled in his van and went out to dinner….

After dinner we went back to my mom’s place to start packing up all our scattered belongings for the Road Trip (*insert vacation-y fanfare here*) back home to Chicago the next morning.

Up next: Day 1 of our Road Trip, where we peed in a town called Ritzville! Stay tuned.

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