The day started peacefully with hot coffee breath fogging against cool misty ocean air. With steamed eggs and overnight oats in our bellies, we took off around 8am to buzz back up the coast towards the ti-cities. We spent a night with Peter’s parents, Lisa & Jim, at a Comfort Inn in Kennewick to break up the long drive to McCall, Idaho.
The ride was pleasant as we flanked the Pacific coast and wound along the famous Lewis and Clark trail. At one point during the drive I was changing the album on Spotify when all of a sudden Peter shrieked “Oh. My. God.” in a way that can only be compared to Janice from Friends.
It all happened so quickly.
A few cars up, someone had sheet’s of plywood barely fastened to the back of their truck. They were uprooted by the wind as we wrapped around the Columbia River.
The plywood separated as it was hurled across the two lane highway. Red break lights beamed and tires screeched to a halt just as the corner of one of the pieces of plywood made contact with the windshield of a navy blue four-door sedan to our left. Both vehicles involved pulled over to their respective sides of the highway. As we passed, we saw the shattered window that could have been ours if we were 30 seconds ahead of a few cars. The driver who was hit seemed obviously shaken up but otherwise okay.
Other than this ordeal the rest of the ride was pleasant and we were both thankful to be safe and that everyone was okay. We made a list of our dreams, listened to slow jams and pressed on to the city.
The Tri-Cities refers to the pocket of three cities in southeastern Washington: Richland, Kennewick, and Pasco. Each city borders at least one other city or one of the area’s three rivers, making the Tri-Cities seem like one uninterrupted mid-sized city. Kennewick itself is an interesting place that is both loud, wide boulevards of shopping centers, Red Lobster, Taco Bell, QFC, and quaint neighborhoods with dead ends and roundabouts all surrounded by scenic views of rolling hills and mountains. It could be anywhere USA.
The Comfort Inn was a chance to re-set and re-evaluate some of the things we felt we needed to perfect before moving on with our trip. We decided to ditch our cute but completely non-functional wooden-slated crates for cerulean blue plastic tubs with lids. Somehow, anything exposed in the car makes the car seem like complete chaos.
After a five-minute soak in the hot tub at the hotel, we rested and showered. Dinner was at Restaurante el Chapala; a traditional mexican-american family restaurant with yellow, faux adobe stucco walls, rounded archways, oversized comfy booths, and a never ended supply of chips, salsa, and conversation. Our dishes arrive on giant sizzling plates (too big for each server to carry more than two), and a fish bowl sized margarita. We shoveled food into our faces until we were slouched over and FFP (full and firmly packed.)
Just as you think there is only black pavement and strip malls, you turn a bend and are winding roads separating fields of wheat and acres of vines. We got a bit turned around for a while, but eventually found our way to Emmylou Taylor; an old dear friend of mine who was visiting her family.
Her large family makes time every year to get everyone together in one place and we just happened to be rolling through the same place. It was amazing to see my good friend and to sip on cold session beer in lawn chairs by the aqua glow of the swimming pool. We met her beautiful nieces that I had seen pictures of over the years, and were able to meet her extended family I had heard so much about. We shared new stories of adapting to change and reminisced about old times. With promises to meet up again in New York City some day soon, we said our goodbyes and were back to the hotel room to brush our faces and wash our teeth.
Tomorrow we leave for the cabin in the woods!