Leslee and I just returned from an unplanned trip to Seattle-two weeks there plus three days of driving each way. Up via I-10 and I-5 with a couple of detours to avoid Phoenix and LA traffic. Of course, one of the highways on my detour route was closed so we had to make another detour. Then, the streets have changed since I lived in Palmdale (1962) and I managed to get lost. The first two days was not a fun drive. Our dashboard thermometer hit 118 degrees in Indio/Palm Springs and it never dropped below 100 until we hit Medford, Oregon about 7:00 PM. California’s Central Valley was covered with dust, smoke, or pollution and visibility was only a few miles. The Siskiyou Range and the Willamette Valley were beautiful as always.
I don’t understand how people live in metro Seattle and fight that traffic every day. Three hours from Olympia to north Seattle, a distance of about 60 miles. Several people told me that’s an everyday experience.
Although it was a working trip, several highlights stand out. One was a gathering of the Jacobson clan (Leslee’s family), many of whom we hadn’t seen since we left Seattle 22 years ago. Thanks, Kyle, for hosting, and thanks for everyone who made the drive in from Enumclaw. Another highlight was a neighborhood reunion in Tamarack Lane, the greatest neighborhood ever for raising kids. Since Darren was in town, three of the cul-de-sac “youngsters” also attended. A good time, Nancy. Lastly, Bob Wolf and I made a pilgrimage to the newly opened LaMay Auto Museum in Tacoma. 1,500 antique cars, all restored to new condition, were on display. I highly advise it if you’re a car buff.
Our return trip was across the Cascades via I-90, down to Boise, Salt Lake City, and the Arizona Strip. We had coffee with Nicole and Leslee was able to hold four-month-old Henry for an hour.
The occasion was sad and the visit was brief, but it was good to see old friends and in-laws again. We did miss three weeks of the Monsoon (my favorite time of year in Tucson), although it followed us north and we had a few days of rain. Mother Nature has been kind to us since our return with several soaking rains and thunder-boomers. We are in the midst of another serious storm and I am saving every two or three minutes in case the power flickers again. The detention basin is full and the toads are yakking (they sound like ducks). “Come here, ladies. I’m the biggest and baddest toad in the pond.” The toads are interesting since they spend eleven months underground and emerge as soon as summer rains fill their pond. We have some amazing animals in the desert.
Oh, yeah, the advice. Try to avoid arriving at or leaving any community when the sitting President is visiting. We were scheduled to leave Seattle Wednesday morning and President Obama decided to do the same. The Secret Service managed to close three of the four freeways for several hours during morning rush hour. The mad rush in the AM anywhere in Seattle is always bad but having three-quarters of the freeways closed results in several hours of chaos. Avoid presidential visits at all cost.