The Great Baseball Ride: Pacific Northwest.

“On trips you do new things, and this is a new thing.”

Soren Judge

The Great Baseball Ride continued as we headed for home.  We’ve hit up 12 stadiums thus far over the first three legs of the trip, starting with Atlanta, then to the two Florida teams, then to Chicago for the Cubbies, down route 66 (Cards/D-Backs/Angels), and up the Pacific Coast (Padres/Dodgers/Giants/A’s/Mariners).

The goal for the day was to get as far towards Mount Rushmore as possible.  Based on our calculations, it seemed like we could either go a short ways and hit Spokane, WA in four to five hours or go longer and shoot for Missoula, MT in 7.5 hours.  We went with the latter, but of course we did it in about 9/9.5 hours. After some morning laundry and swimming for Soren, we didn’t depart until noon. We completely forgot that we would lose an hour changing time zones, so we got in around 10/10:30pm. 

We’ve also never been in these states before, so we want to make sure we see things.  As we moved East in Washington the landscape changed dramatically. It went from mountains covered in trees to rolling hills, to more rocky landscape.  

Columbia River

We crossed the Columbia River and came upon something called the Wild Horses Monument, an art installation up on a high hill comprised of 15 steel horses.  We went to check it out and Soren decided he wanted to climb to the top. This was not a simple hill. It was high, it was steep, and it was rocky, and to add to it, we were wearing sandals.

We told Soren that we shouldn’t continue, and without stopping his ascent he says, “On trips you do new things, and this is a new thing.”  What do you say when a five year old tells you that? The answer is “You’re right, let’s go.”

We made it to the top (not with ease).  Soren loved it, and didn’t want to go back down.  Eventually we got him off the “mountain” and were back on our way.

These are the kinds of stops we want though.  We don’t want to speed past the fun and the beauty, so we end up taking a while on the road.  

As we crept towards Idaho, the landscape returned to mountains and trees.  We had been paying over $4/gallon in California, and that quickly dropped to sub $4/gallon once we got into Oregon.  It stayed there through Washington, and dropped to sub $3 once we got into Idaho. Another strange thing was that in northern Oregon the gas stations we went to pumped the gas for you; I don’t think we had the option to do it ourselves.  I had never seen that before. I was also happy to see that when we filled up in Spokane that there was no longer an extra (usually 10 cents a gallon) charge for using a credit card. That is a rare thing in Minnesota.

Idaho was stunning, but we were only in it a short while on I-90.  We drove past Coeur d’alene Lake and it’s now on the list of places we need to visit more in-depth; absolutely stunning.  

In Montana, we pulled over at a rest stop, where there was an actual payphone, and snow on the ground, and a beautiful, crystal clear, mountain fed creek.  It was one of the best rest stops we’ve been to.

I don’t think Soren had ever seen one of these before.
Snow still on May 14th? When we left Minny on April 14th there was still snow on the ground, but having spent so much time in the American South, we forgot all about it.

More mountains, more trees, a little more snow (up high).  Montana started off as stunning as we had heard, although we had been seeing stunning for quite a while.  We were about done with the car, and bee-lined for Missoula.  

Another Super 8 ($80 before taxes), another late night food stop (we have to stop doing this), and a little of the movie Sweet Home Alabama (I would like to stop doing that as well).  As every night, we were ready for bed.

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