First off, the About page has been updated!
I recapped the first leg of our trip from St. Louis to Seattle in a post last week. After a day of sightseeing and rest in Rapid City, we headed off to our next stop, Missoula, MT. Since we were following I-90 almost the entire way, we drove through Wyoming and Montana on our way to Missoula (which is very close to the Idaho border). Our final day of the trip went through Missoula to Seattle. It was so adorable when we could catch Charlie gazing at the scenery from out of his window!
Warning: this post is mostly about how much I love mountains. Seriously, though, Ryan and I would make this trip over and over again because of the scenery. Also, I apologize for any grainy photos or spots on the photos; using an iPhone to take pictures through a windshield is less than ideal but the best you can do when the speed limit is 80 mph.
The first part of this drive when we were in Wyoming was beautiful. It was exactly how I imagined the West: mountains, trees, and barely any towns or cars on the highway.
Eastern Montana was honestly the slowest portion of this entire trip. This was the only part of the trip where I just closed my eyes and napped for a bit (don’t worry, Ryan was driving!). It’s not completely barren, but it is flatter compared to western Montana and Wyoming. But then, all of a sudden, just like how South Dakota went from being flat to super hilly, Montana went from being so-so to offering spectacular sights when we entered the Rockies.
Neither of us anticipated how much we were going to love Missoula. It’s tucked in a valley where five mountain ranges within the northern Rockies converge. It’s a college town (University of Montana) without feeling too collegiate; instead, there’s lots of good restaurants, breweries, and so much more we would have loved to explore if we had the time. Back in college I wondered why some of my friends chose to go there for graduate school, and now I get (also, why did I go to school in flat and boring Ohio? At least we got Charlie there!) Missoula very much seemed like it was part of the Pacific Northwest, since it has so many trees, temperate weather, and mountains.
I totally started checking out races to run there in 2016 or later. Yes, they are at 3100 ft above my practically at sea level existence, but Ryan and I just want to go back there. Destination race?
The drive from Missoula to Seattle was the most beautiful drive I’ve ever taken. Honestly, it was more beautiful than when I traveled by train through Switzerland, Luxembourg, northern France, and Belgium. The Midwesterner in me wanted to call the Black Hills back in South Dakota mountains, but these (the Rockies and the Cascades) are MOUNTAINS.
It only took us about an hour to drive through the panhandle of Idaho and it just flew by because of how scenic it was. Coeur d’Alene takes your breath away with its scenery, which includes a lake and (surprise!) more mountains! They don’t joke about the Pacific Northwest begin overcast but to be honest, I kinda love it.
Eastern Washington is a desert of sorts (and was about 20 degrees warmer than both Missoula and Seattle that day) but was still beautiful. Okay, Spokane was sort of boring, but once we got past Spokane it looked like we were in southern Utah or somewhere. This is the Columbia River below:
Around the middle of Washington we began to see more mountains. I think it was Mt. Baker that was the most visible from the highway, although we saw Mt. Rainer as well.
Then we drove through the Cascades, which was both an incredible sight to behold and also was possibly my first experience in feeling carsick. Driving through the mountains is not for the faint of heart and we were both very relieved at that point we had hired movers instead of renting a U-Haul.
By the time we arrived in Seattle, we were tired and just ready to settle into our apartment…when we encountered Seattle traffic. Apparently Boeing has a shift change mid-afternoon on Fridays, and we were lucky enough to get stuck in the middle of that. But at least when you’re stuck in Seattle traffic you’re surrounded by hills and evergreens and see mountains in the background.
Question of the Day:
Have you ever visited the Rockies or any of the Western states?
Where do you want to go for a destination race?