Thursday, August 19, 2010

My Great Escape

I ran away from home last week.  I made a phone call to "Nana" to watch the girls at 3:15, and by 5:00 pm I was on the road.  I had just come from a vacation with my daughters and my mom, sister, sis-in-law, and all the cousins.  We had a great vacation swimming in pools, playing at water slides, eating ice cream every evening, and playing games together.  We all stayed in 1 condo and maxed every available mattress and airbed.  After 4 days of sun and fun, I came home and it was my husband's turn.  Every year he takes off on his Harley with our group of biker friends, but I have declined the previous offers to go as I feel I just couldn't do 7 days on the back of a Harley.  This year he left on Friday (I got home the day before) and on Saturday night it dawned on me that his vacation was quite a bit different than mine.  Not only did he have a week of freedom with no kids while we were gone, but now he was going to have another week of sunshine, friends, adventures and no kids!  Now, don't get me wrong, I LOVE my kids and wouldn't trade the vacation we took for anything, but the thought of the sunshine, open road and freedom was sounding pretty appealing.

I packed only what I needed, and only what would fit into 1 side saddlebag of a motorcycle.  I was to be gone for 4 days.  How little could you pack for a 4 day trip?  I was pretty proud of myself.  Armed with mascara, a swimsuit, bandanna for my hair, and a few tank tops, I was ready.  My husband was just 100 short miles away, so within 2 hours, I arrived.  We spent the night in a little mountain town in Washington called Leavenworth.

The town is a Bavarian Village where EVERY store (including the Safeway) is in Bavarian design.  On any given day you can walk down the street and hear polka music and yodeling from the gazebo on Main Street.  It's a charming little town - a great place to have beer and brats!

The next morning, we made some WONDERFUL Monte Cristo sandwiches for breakfast and started my leg of the journey.  We drove from Leavenworth to a town called Pateros.  I cannot tell you how many times during the ride I wished I had brought my camera.  The pictures in this post were found on the Internet, not taken by me.

It's one thing to be the driver on the motorcycle - you need to stay very focused on the road, but it's another to be the passenger.  I get to sit back and enjoy the ride (and the scenery!)

It seemed like every time I turned my head I missed another Kodak moment.  Everything from the 2 bald eagles sitting in the river waiting for lunch,

to the praying mantis we saw at the gas station. 

We drove through beautiful fields of hay and wheat,

old abandoned homesteads that I was sure would fall with the wind of our motorcycle,

and the most fragrant fields of lavender where I would close my eyes and breathe in the most wonderful aroma. 

I think my favorite sight was when we passed a couple of gorgeous work horses pulling a tractor ridden by a beautiful woman in a straw sun hat.  She was working her fields the old fashioned way.  It was such a charming sight. (Unfortunately this is not the actual picture.)

We drove through towns where all the windows of most of the homes were boarded up.  You can tell the economy hit some towns harder than others.

We stopped at the Grand Coulee Dam and sat in amazement at it's majesty. 

Something of this magnitude really makes you wonder "how did they do that???" 
In a stop at a local gas station, we talked to the folks from town and asked if we could drive over it. 
It turns out Homeland Security does not allow that any more.  That makes sense.

Another missed photo op was the old man at the gas station.  He was a Native American, and he was wearing a t-shirt resembling the Old Navy logo - except his read "Old Native".  We all got a chuckle out of that.

Some of the roads we traveled were badly burned and scarred from wildfires.  Through the blackness we saw life re-emerging and new trees growing.  Recently over 1200 lightening strikes were recorded in the cascade mountains igniting many wildfires.  By the time we rode through, they had all been contained or extinguished - thank goodness.

As we drove, I looked over and noticed a large group of wild horses - no fence, they were free to run as they pleased.  I wish I had my camera for that!

Another leg of our journey took us to Sun Mountain Lodge in a town called Winthrop, Washington. 

 Winthrop is a "Wild West" themed town with wooden sidewalks, saloons and great little stores.  As we sat atop this mountain where the lodge sits, a little deer pranced by - unafraid.  He stopped for a few minutes in front of us, wagged his tail, and trotted off.

After hundreds of miles of riding, several charming towns, quite a few biker bars, and a few red-neck pool parties, we ended our journey at our friend's home in Orondo, WA.  It's a beautiful home that sits on the Columbia River with a pool and guest home.  We arrived and enjoyed a wonderful barbecue dinner and some delicious wine, as well as a refreshing dip in the pool after a 100+ degree motorcycle ride.  Life was good!

The next morning we began our final journey home.  Back through Leavenworth, back over the mountains, back to reality.  I got back in my car (which I had left in Leavenworth) and drove home.  A few leaves slowly drifted down on the road in front of me as if to remind me that fall is quickly approaching.

I'm glad I ran away from home for those few days.  It was nice to spend those 4 days with my husband and our friends, and it was nice to enjoy the scenery around me. 
Now, back to the smiles and hugs from my 2 girls, and back to my
Chaotic Bliss.

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