The drive from Portland to Eastern Washington is quite a depressing drive. If you've ever had the pleasure of coming out this way, then you know exactly what I'm talking about. The beautiful bluffs and evergreens of the Columbia Gorge soon give way to the vast sprawl of dry grasses and empty hills that are found in the eastern parts of Oregon and Washington. Some say that it has its own kind of beauty, but for me it kind of feels like a slow march to death. Green gives way to brown. Tall everygreens give way to low, stubby shrubs. Waterfalls give way to barren cliff faces and rocks. Everything turns dry and brittle. The only thing more depressing than the drive is what you find at the end of it all. It's not like the boring drive South through California where you get palm trees and Disneyland at the end. This drive has Spokane at the end of it. Yeah, not much of a prize for enduring the most painful 6 hours of driving known to man. Okay, I take that back; Iowa may have been worse. But I just have to remind myself that I get to hop on my bike tomorrow. And not only that, get to ride into some beautiful, mountainous, country scenery. It may just make up for all the dry nothingness of Eastern Washington.
Pretty vs. Ugly
Okay. To be fair, Spokane does seem like a decent little city. The downtown has a lot of cool older brick buildings, and the waterfront area is nice as well. It also has cool things like this:
The groups' spirits are high. Ben and Kim have only argued once so far, and that was over how a certain picture should be taken. Of course Kim's version came out a lot better...and Ben pouted, spending the next ten minutes trying to take a better picture. He never did. What makes it worse is that it was a picture of a barn...on a hill. Definetely not an award winning shot either way.
Besides that, the trip has been pretty uneventful so far. We did witness the worst parking lot engineering at the Dalles' Jack In The Box. We believe the genius behind the Oregon City Taco Bell parking lot has fled east to find a job with more suckers who are willing to give him a job. This moron put the drive-thru and the exit on the same path, essentially trapping everybody in the parking lot. The only way to get out without waiting for an hour or so is to back out from the way you came in; which is exactly what we did. Good driving, Ben!
Yep, that's been the highlights so far. No rattlesnakes, no accidents, no flat tires...so far so good. But then again, we haven't even gotten on our bikes yet.
So, I was trying to think of a clever way to end this blog entry. I wanted to find a way to bring back this whole thing to the beginning, tying it all together with a nice bow and everything. But I figured instead I'd give you the sensation of disappointment that this drive produces. It starts off good, but then dwindles down to complete boringness. Sorry; my inspiration has faded with the color.
May the following pictures inspire the deepest parts of your hearts: