The difference between the country between Wyoming and Idaho and Washington is startling. Wyoming is Big Sky country, after all – and the sky IS big. Rolling hills that stretch for miles and miles and miles. Traffic so light that you can almost consider yourself alone under that sky. Just you, the hills, the two ribbons of the Interstate, and the sky – and the truckers, the dead prairie dogs on the side of the road, the irrigation sprinklers.
Idaho? Well, I only saw 60 miles of it at the Panhandle end (Yes, boys and girls, Idaho has a Panhandle too), and that went by quickly enough. By the time I got accustomed to it, Idaho had disappeared into the rear view mirror. I saw no potatoes.
Coming up out of the Columbia River basin, the Interstate climbs steadily upward for 20 miles and pops out quickly – Kaboom! There’s a huge (and I mean huge considering it’s over 100 miles away) magnificent white inverted cone investing your line of sight. Mount Rainier is impressive anyway, but when it suddenly appears as it did this morning, it gets your attention quickly.
The western Washington mountainsides (another mountain pass – Snoqualmie this time are starkly different from their southern counterparts. Where Colorado and Wyoming are lightly forested, Washington is bursting with firs, aspen, and other flora I have no way of identifying. The trees jostle each other for space on the mountainsides, and it’s green, green, green.
Seattle is crowded. I’m here at 9:45 AM. Most rush hours in most cities have begun to taper off, but, apparently, not here (maybe it’s the bridges and ferries that slow everything down – and these people start out 3 hours behind New York business hours!). Traffic finally began to slacken as I neared Bellingham near the border. Nothing remarkable in the geography here, but you’re quite aware that this is a sea-going climate. Salt air and dead fish smells permeate the atmosphere. Better, some say, than a cattle auction atmosphere. I have no opinion.
Crossed the border without incident after a 20-minute lineup wait. My girl Bernice (navigation) got me to the hotel easily enough (I didn’t know she spoke Canadian, but she does), and I was quite surprised to find that my host and hostess are Chinese-Canadian. Just sitting around waiting for Li Hui’s flight to arrive this afternoon.