And just like that we are off!
Cody and I decided in advance that we really wanted to begin our adventure with a simple drive and a relaxing evening. We chose to head first to Northern Quest Hotel and Casino in Spokane where we had stayed before and just treat ourselves to a nice room and a fun night out. Well, as sometimes happens, there were a few wrinkles.
Firstly, I thought it would be nice to dive headlong into this new life of ours with two eyebrows instead of one. I needed help with this. I called the spa at the hotel and booked an appointment. Why not, new life, new face. Felling pretty bourgeoisie, but also a little trepidatious, I headed down to the spa and gave over to the madness. I wore the robe and slippers. I ate apricots and almonds in a soothing lounge while waiting for my “treatment.” I literally drank the white privilege cucumber water.
There is so much more to tell about today that I am going to move past most of the ridiculous information about the Zamphir like music, aromatherapy and mood lighting that I could go on about for days, and cut right to the important part here. My face reacted to the waxing. Seriously. Like baking soda and vinegar, reacted. So now I was totally relaxed and calm and my right eyelid looked like I talked back to Mike Tyson. Maybe a drunk Mike Tyson, so he just glanced off the eye but it is most definitely a rash –so not cool. This is the point at which I had to choose freak out or laugh it off. I wanted to freak out but instead I embraced the pioneer spirit, I just gave up and went to the casino and gambled. I hung out with my husband and had a great time all the while trying to forget the slight burning and raised welt above my eye.
It really was a lovely night nonetheless. Having now learned my lesson about fighting above my weight (or class maybe) I decided that enough was enough and returned to my senses. It was time to take off my pants and check the plan (hotel rooms are a pants free spaces, everyone knows that). Now having firmly reestablished myself as an average person, I prepared for today’s trip the best way I know how . . . by looking up strange or wacky roadside attractions to view along the way. For this I utilized one of my favorite resources, the Roadside America website. This is a remarkable collection of the interesting, slightly less interesting and just plain weird sites in every state.
While I was hoping to locate the largest collection of cast iron skillets abandoned by pioneers along the Oregon Trail, the world’s largest bottle of ketchup (which is actually in Illinois) or a local taxidermy museum, what I found instead was still pretty cool. The oddities we encountered did not make my face feel much better but when we got stuck for an hour in rush hour/construction traffic outside of Tacoma they did give us something to talk about.
In George . . . let’s just take a moment here and enjoy that there is a George, Washington. (ha) Okay, in George we encountered this delightfully large bust of who else but the first President of the United States. Apparently, the locals are not super thrilled with it. Maybe they don’t feel like it’s dignified. I don’t know what their deal is but me and my wonky eye sure loved it. George Washington in George, Washington, I don’t care who you are that is just funny.
A little further down the road we encountered the Wild Horse monument near the Ginkgo Petrified Forest State Park. Now, it had to a thousand degrees outside but as committed adventurers we left the sanctity of the air-conditioned car and took the short paved, steaming hot trail to the overlook to see the flat nearly unmoving Columbia river way too far from us to do us any good and some metal cutouts of wild horses also very far away on another hill.
Our last stop, before the traffic backup that made me want to walk off into the woods and just live right there with the bugs and bears, was Ellensburg. This is a nice little town in the middle of prairie with gale force hot winds. We stopped here because in the center of town is a statue of a bull. This bull sits on a bench and you can sit next to him to and take a picture. Then you have a picture of you sitting next to a bull on a bench. We did that.
This brings us to our location for the next few days, Olympia. As we explore the area and surrounding towns we will see what speaks to us here. I expect there will be people who will speak to us as we have already had two uncomfortable elevator encounters, but I’m thinking more of the area. What is here for us? Does this place have any magic that we can’t resist? I don’t know. I can say that we had a remarkable dinner at an Italian wood fire oven pizza place where we were served a pizza with French blue cheese, by a Spanish waiter, while I drank and Argentinian wine and that waiter did not stare at my jacked-up eye, not even once. That is a pretty good start