Washington: Snoqualmie

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Fun to say, repeatedly!

The Snoqualmie mountain pass is how you get over the mountains just east of Seattle—and that’s where I am and what I’m doing now.

It’s probably the most beautiful, wooded area you’ve never heard of—or seen.

The falls were discovered by an engineer for the railroad named Charles Baker in the late 1800’s. When he found them, looking for a route for the train tracks over the northern Rockies, Baker realized their energy could be harnessed—for the new discovery of electrical power.

Baker borrowed some money from his dad and bought up the land around the water feature. Two hydroelectric power plants were built to serve the area—and the railroad—and still operate today. It was the world’s very first underground power station.

Seattle.

I spent a few hours driving around Seattle. It’s an old-style kind of city, spread out along its waterfront and packed with sporting goods stores (one on every corner, it seems).

The Space Needle was fun to see but, Seattle is a member of the one-way street club (every street is a one-way!)—and I really hate that kind of Central Business District. I suppose it’s fine for the locals but, for visitors—like moi—it’s a huge hassle.

The first Starbucks.

I went to Pike Street to catch a glimpse of the very first Starbucks, squeezed into a small walk up storefront and facing the bay. No parking, for the most part—and a line of people who also wanted a taste of the first “corporate coffee shop.”

Sorry but, I don’t care for the flavor of Starbucks coffee!

They roast their beans to perfection and then they roast them a little bit more—until they are just burned. They say that’s how Starbucks gets its “smokey flavor.”

Burned coffee!

No, that’s not flavor. That’s burned coffee, morons! I prefer Dave’s Famous Minivan coffee drip—even when it’s frigid cold and I have to boil water in the elements to get some made.

Finally, snow!

The weather service has been talking about large amounts of snowfall for over a week now and, finally, I got some!

Oh, the Sienna doesn’t like snow—I’ve found myself piloting her slightly sideways on the highway (even at only 35 MPH). It’s like the back tires are going faster than the front tires—but, we know that’s impossible!

It’s icy and slippery but, there’s no accumulation—primarily because the State of Washington appears to be quite diligent in snow removal. So, I have yet to test out the tire chains.

I did watch a few YouTube videos on how to put them on so, I think I’m ready for the install when they’re necessary.

Drained.

After a couple of hours of this high stress highway maneuvering, I really needed a rest area to decompress. And I found one just east of the Snoqualmie pass. It was the second rest area; the first one on the map simply didn’t exist!

I had the entire rest area to myself until nightfall—and then hundreds of trucks turned in, fighting for spaces to stop and rest (several trucks pulled into the passenger car section as the truck side filled up). A very gladiator-style affair!

Learning curves.

That’s when I saw something I realized that I had to do: wait for a plow truck to go by—and get in line, following behind! It worked!

Chilly Willie’s.

It’s 17°, real temperature, and “feels like” five degrees but, the forecast calls for overnight lows below zero—the real zero—to minus five over the next few days both here and in the places to which I am going.

My final destination for this leg of the trip: Yellowstone, just south of Bozeman, (MT). That’s where I-90 takes me!

Happy trails my friends!

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