I’m not Klingon… it was NOT a good day to die!

Day Two

Driving from Missoula, Montana to Mt. Vernon, Washington = 551.6 miles (about 8 hours with MANY delays!)

Once again, Montana is BEAUTIFUL! If it had an ocean somewhere, I’d move there YESTERDAY! And people know how to DRIVE there!  The posted speed limit is 75mph… through CURVY, mountain passes! (Granted, they also post a “suggested” speed… but that’s optional!) There was construction too… but in Montana, when there is a sign saying that the “right lane is closed in 1 mile” people get over when they see the sign. As opposed to Coloradans… who stay in whichever lane they were in when they read the sign, and cut as many people off as they can – at the last possible second – when the lane actually ends.

Ok… this picture is “saying” a few things:

1. Literally: Welcome to Idaho

2. Girls who take pictures on curvy, mountain passes are NUTS!

3. Said girl should have stayed farther back from the ginormous RV… and zoomed out a little more.

I literally crossed the state of Idaho in one hour. That concept it kind of foreign, since I’ve never been to the Northeast. I usually get to drive across states like Colorado, Wyoming, and Montana which take at lease 6-8 hours… (Don’t even get me STARTED on the DAYS I’ve spent getting across Texas…) It was refreshing! And sadly short – since the mountains were beautiful there too!

Soon enough I made it to Washington. (Side note: I-90 Westbound is the way to enter this state! The hwy 82 entrance from Oregon, is depressing.) The clouds promptly darkened and grew… It was like it was saying “Welcome back to Washington Aris! I missed you! Here is the perfect weather, and just enough rain to wash the bugs off your windshield…. please don’t ever leave me again.”


At some point… I went through the “Kansas” part of WA. (And don’t get me wrong, I love Kansas…. when I  drive to  KANSAS.) The picture doesn’t do the rolling hills justice. I felt like I was in a painting… The fields were real, but instead of flat- it was like they had giant bubbles under them.

And another WEIRD town name… I respectfully submit:


And then Moses Lake happened.


I thought something had DIED in my car! It smelled like outhouse… with dead animal/rotten meat that sat too long in a sealed container- in the SUN… with that smell of a multi-vitamin…

I opened my car window to see if it smelled better outside the car…

I almost gagged it was so STINKY. I still have no idea what was in that town… but I can probably never go there again.

About 60 miles outside Seattle, I started seeing signs that trucks would be entering the highway to slow traffic, so the heavy machinery/LARGE trucks could get in place for some rock blasting/construction. I’ve been behind something like this before… it is painful… so when I saw the flashing lights enter the highway… in FRONT of me… I did what anyone WOULD do in that situation…. get behind the guy, so as soon as he moves I can GO!

As frustrating as it is to go 20 mph…. for 10 miles (or so), especially after going 70+mph all day… When I looked back and saw the LOOOOONG line of cars behind me (that stacked up in a matter of seconds)…. I just couldn’t help it, I channeled my inner-kindergartner and smiled when I realized…



Just before I got to Seattle, I stopped to get gas and take a restroom break…

There was a small 2 stall bathroom with a tiny sink. A silver-haired lady was trying to get a coffee spill out of her shirt (even if it wasn’t coffee, I’m still happily assuming it WAS) and when I went to wash my hands another lady came in… as the silver-haired lady was going out. I don’t know what look she gave the other woman to provoke the response she got… but the lady told her “I’m a GIRL… my [boobs] are just small! (explicative)” Silver Lady left the restroom QUICKLY… and the other lady kept talking (to me?? I’m not sure.) ” I’m really getting sick of this!!! SO STUPID! I don’t understand WHY this keeps happening” etc….

I left before my hands were dry…

cause, let’s face it… I hate confrontation on T.V., let alone 2 feet away from me in a public restroom! ( I was going to get a nice hot tea… since the weather was cooperating, but there wasn’t time –  I had to get out of there before that lady came out~)

As I drove away, with my heart pounding… I started thinking about the absurdity of what the lady said.

But first, let me paint a picture:

1. Short (Like 1 inch long) bleached blond hair.

2. No make-up. (not even chapstick)

3. A baggy hoodie.

4. LONG, baggy, jean shorts.

5. Large tattoos, of SOMETHING big, on both calves.

6. Sneakers.

7. Over-powering cigarette smoke – like so bad, that after just 30 seconds in the same bathroom as her, I smelled like smoke when I got to my car.

Now, I’m not saying that any one of these things is not feminine. But if you just glanced out of the corner of your eye… it’s possible that the combination of ALL SEVEN would cause a lady to make sure it was, in fact, a WOMAN that just entered the restroom. It is completely fine with me if a woman chooses to dress like the above…

Just don’t be SHOCKED when someone looks twice. (And if it frustrates you- like it did that lady… perhaps changing one element would create a more feminine persona???)

Might I suggest trading the cigarette smoke for perfume?? 

Entering Seattle, I played Owl City’s “Hello Seattle”. (I’ve been waiting to do that since last summer!)

Seattle, wasn’t quite what I expected… there are houses everywhere… little jewels of color on the lush, green hills… surrounded by water. When I drove closer to downtown… I was a bit surprised to see how similar it looks to Japan. The large apartment buildings/style were everywhere! Gorgeous architecture. I arrived downtown around 3:40 on a Tuesday afternoon. 

Traffic acted like I’d gotten there at 5pm on the Thursday before a 4 day weekend.

But, it’s quite refreshing to be in traffic with a full tank of gas, an empty bladder, and absolutely NOTHING to be late for. pleased

Just as traffic was clearing up… a man from British Columbia driving a mini-van (and trust me… I don’t hold EITHER of those things against him…) decided it was time to get in the left lane… WHILE I WAS STILL IN IT, RIGHT NEXT TO HIM.

I gave him the freak-out honk… to let him know I was there.


That’s when the panic set it…

You would have thought my steering wheel had been magically turned into a bongo drum- the way I was WAILING on it!!! 

He was H-A-L-F-W-A-Y in my lane before he looked over to see me flailing and yelling, and spitting… and having a heart attack!

He looked surprised to see me there… and casually waved a meek “sorry”.

I got past him, FAR past him, and slid into the right lane… putting my car back in cruise control…. breathing like I was in hour 22 of a VERY arduous LABOR.

As the title states…. it wasn’t a good day to die!

It WAS, however, a good evening to go to Gentlemen Gene’s Pub… which, as Jared pointed out… sounds like a “gentleman’s club”. (Not gonna lie, I thought that too, until I saw photos of a very down-to-Earth pub and a fantastic menu.)

I had giant prawns, with a baked potato, and salad… and for dessert a caramel layered friazo which looks like this:

It’s layered ice cream, caramel, and candied pecans… which helped my day end just a little sweeter. (And also steadied my sugar levels, since near-death experiences rob you of your blood sugar… )



“Table for one please”

Day 1

Driving from Castle Rock, CO to Missoula, MT = 957.8 miles (13.3 hours)

Oh the stories I have from today!!

But let’s start at the beginning:

Yeah… I’m cursed. After all of my pre-trip planning… I STILL ended up not getting to bed until 1:00 AM only to wake up at 4:00 AM to be on the road by 5:00. But I was as excited as a kid on Christmas Eve… so waking up was pretty easy.

After a quick stop to pick up a few essentials at Wal-mart (I don’t think I’ve EVER made it out of town without stopping there first) my sunrise drive through Denver went smoothly AND quickly. Maybe because today was the first time I’ve driven through Denver that early, but it smelled like frying oil…

And to be perfectly honest… it can smell like whatever it wants, if I can drive the length of the city going at (or slightly above) posted speed limit signs.

But I’ll tell you.. if I WAS tired (and I’m NOT saying I was) …. at ALL…. I woke up REAL QUICK- when a large spider started swinging down from the roof of my car… inches from my left shoulder…. while I was driving….  75mph.

Needless to say, he died… and I was the victor of that battle.pleased


In Wyoming… they think it’s fun to put large silhouettes of animals on tops of hills. These two I get… buffalo and cowboy on his horse.

This next one….

Yeah… it seemed random to me too. I laughed at the silly Wyoming people…. and thought that the artist must have been ecstatic to embrace his/her inner child.

And then I saw the advertisement for the dinosaur museum.


This next picture is proof that I have no life get excited about the little things in life. For 10 years I have lived along the I-25 corridor. Four years ago I drove onto I-25 where it BEGINS, near El Paso, TX and had driven as far up as Cheyenne, WY… but no farther… until TODAY!! As of today, I have driven on the ENTIRE Interstate 25. Interestingly enough, there is no “start” or “begin” about the I-25 sign near El Paso… at least, not that I remember.

The next picture shows 3 things:

1. How excited I am to accomplish said goal.

2. How AWESOME I am at taking photos of myself, while driving, and while driving fast!

3. That my Atlas looks like it’s on display for an ad. Trust me… it is my paper GPS.

Entering Montana for the first time EVER! I love the mile marker “zero”.

The crack in my windshield… which I am sure was caused by a rock, but it sounded like a bug. (Those of you familiar with travel-by-car, know the difference.) I think the possibility of windshield-cracking bugs is a more exciting concept. Even better…. I got to watch the crack grow to be this size. It happened pretty instantly. (UPDATE.. it is only about another inch longer from when this was taken… I’ll have to post a new picture at the end of the trip to show it’s growth.)

Montana is BEAUTIFUL (well… starting after Billings… from Wyoming to Billings on I-90, it pretty much looks like more Wyoming) Half of my 13 hour drive looked like this.

Add a little Bruce Hornsby and it was AMAZING.

When you look at this next photo… just know… I’m confused too. Is it the name of a town? Or an ACTUAL opportunity?? What does that kind of opportunity entail? Is it an opportunity for ME (the traveler) ?? Or….

In any case…. um  GROSS! (*Shiver*)

I finally got to Missoula, checked into my hotel, changed into my dinner clothes, and went to a restaurant called “The Stone of Accord” which is an Irish/Pub type restaurant.

After careful consideration I got fish and chips – the pub-classic, (the chips were made in-house) and the most amazing tartar sauce EVER. The coleslaw was even good.

Guess what I had for dessert????

Yes, it might look like a fully-loaded baked potato… however… it is in-fact vanilla bean ice cream rolled in cocoa powder and topped with whip cream, caramel sauce, and mint leaves… the “dirt” around the bottom is crushed oreo cookies and chocolate fudge. It’s called the “Irish Potato Sundae” and it’s the dessert the Stone of Accord is known for.

I only ate a bit, but the experience was worth it.


The Day Before…

I used to leave EVERYTHING that needed to be done until the last day.

Which usually ends up with me staying up till 2 AM, and waking up at 5 AM a VERY sleepy driver in need of multiple Amp energy drinks.

I’m proud to  say, NOT THIS TIME!! Granted, today has not completed it’s craziness… and I DID stay up till 3 AM last night, which resulted in not hearing my church alarm clock this morning. (FAIL)

However, now that I’ve left a reasonable amount of work to do today… I’m not as stressed… which leaves more time for contemplation.

There is something so wonderful about the day before a journey, and it is this:

It hasn’t happened yet.

The anticipation, the expectation, the excitement… nothing has had a chance to go wrong… like a blank page that has all the potential in the world. It could either be a masterpiece, or a frustrating mess, but before that first mark is made, it still could be anything.

And not to sound too depressed, but once that trip starts you start filling in the memories at lightning speed…  day by day… until you are heading home.

And not that home is a horrible place. But let’s be honest, it’s not a cabin in the woods… two minutes away from the ocean. (At least my house isn’t.)

In the spirit of “living in the moment”… here’s to the day BEFORE the journey, and all the wonderful memories this vacation will add to my life story.