Thursday, June 19, 2014

Ashford, WA to Sandpoint, ID

After yesterday's update, I made the choice to drive to the entrance of Mt. Ranier National Park so that way I'd be there and ready to go first thing in the morning.  Most of that trip was after dark - which is normally something I won't do when traveling this way.  I like to see where I am (and more importantly, what I'm missing).  Lots of dark and winding roads, a few deer on the side of the road to keep me alert, but otherwise a non-eventful drive.

Almost.

I was approaching the small town of Ashford from the west.  It was near or after 11:00 pm.  I noticed emergency flares and equipment from quite a distance up the road.  As I reached the flares, I was approached by a gentleman who told me that on the road just ahead, a tree had fallen and took out the power lines.  The lines were across the road.  They were waiting for the power company to come and cut the power so they could cut up the tree and remove it from the roadway.  I had the option to go back one town... about 15 miles back, or to pull over into the church parking lot at the side of the road to wait (he suspected it wouldn't be more than an hour to remedy the issue).  He informed me that the church doors were open in case anyone needed to use the restroom while they waited.  So, I waited.

The later it got, the more I wished I could just stay parked where I was for the evening and then finish the short drive to the park once I had gotten up.  Just before they cleared the road, I was talking to another lady and her daughter in the parking lot.  Conversation touched on how I was from out of state.  I happened to mention to her that I wondered if anyone would mind if I remained where I was parked for the night... and she informed me that the gentleman I'd originally talked to when I stopped was the pastor of the church!  Nice!  As the waiting cars filed out of the church parking lot, I walked up and explained that I was from out of state, unfamiliar with the area, and super tired... and I asked him if he would mind if I crashed in the Jeep until morning.  He was totally cool with it.  Gotta love small town folk sometimes.

Thank you!

I was up and rolling again by just a little after 7:00 am.  I think I was located way down in a valley, because this monstrosity of a mountain was nowhere to be seen.  And I started to become a little concerned with the clouds I saw off in the distance - I was afraid that Mt. Ranier was going to play the same game of hide-and-go-seek that Mt. Hood did earlier in the week.  But, I was already there and continued...


Fortunately, I was wrong and had been looking in the wrong direction.  It wasn't until just before I reached the first visitor center within the park that the mighty mountain came into view for the first time.

Pictures really don't do it justice... particularly cell pictures.

























I noticed as I made my way through the park that there were a very large amount of waterfalls here too... and it took a lot of restraint on my part to not stop and photograph EVERY. SINGLE. ONE. of them.


I can't decide what I stopped to photograph more of... the waterfalls or the mountain.



I made myself progress through the park, and I was out on the east side by noon.  Determined to make some distance, I hoped to get into Spokane before calling it an evening.

Some of my scenery along US Highway 2 - reminds me of the default Windows XP desktop wallpaper.

I arrived in Spokane by 6:30 pm, stopped at a truck stop along the interstate to get a shower, fuel and dinner... and then decided to push on since I still had some daylight left.

So tonight, I reside in the lovely town of Sandpoint, Idaho.  Tomorrow's goal is to get in, and through Glacier National Park. This includes a trip up to the Polebridge Mercantile and Kintla Lake... as well as across Going To The Sun Road.  It should make for a very full day.