On our way back, we stopped through Priest River, Idaho, to visit Jim Kline, a high school teacher of mine. We took a hike with him and his five dogs (Bonnie, Emma, Chico, Muttley and Penny), enjoying a great romp up and through the property. We had hot chocolate inside, and caught up more and surveyed the garden, as Old Man Kline brushed out his dogs. We packed into the car, smelling of dog, promised to not wait so long for the next visit and headed on our way back home.
We stayed at the same hotel in Spokane as we did on our way out and managed to find yummy Thai food as well, a little bit of comfort food after a few days of peanut butter and jelly sandwiches.
From Spokane, we stopped by Mount Rainier. We tried to see the meadows at Paradise and Sunshine while there, but the entry roads at the parks were closed, still not open for the season. Drat!
We drove on and had dinner in Salem, Oregon then got back on the road. We ran into alternating 5-mile stretches of road where Oregon has the freeway under construction. J’s three most hated words? “Construction Zone Ahead”. The slower speeds dragged out the drive. Although it’s all lovely, the scenery is much the same in the dark, after all. We pulled into Grant’s Pass, after another long, long day.
Driving south our last morning on the road, the lush forests of Oregon thinned and we could tell we were getting closer to being back home in California. As if to welcome us back, in Yreka (right at the border) there was one last clump of California poppies still blooming, well past its normal spring-time season, waving at us along the side of the road. A few more miles later, the oldies station played the Beach Boys’ “Surfer Girl”. The types of cars, license plates and rising temperatures all confirmed: Yep, we’re back in California!
We decided to improvise a bit and drove through Lake Tahoe on the way home. They’re doing road construction there, too (we have this knack for finding construction on our way home)!
We had lunch at the Blue Agave at Tahoe, devoured some chips and salsa with our lunch, and supped up some mightily fine margaritas. A bit later, we stocked up on calories, sugar and caffeine at the Nestle’ Café at Heavenly, then headed home along the 395. The late afternoon sun caught the hillsides and cast long purple shadows, and our approach to Mono Lake was luxuriously bathed in … sunset.
Lunch in Tahoe and sunset along the Sierras? Can the BigBear deliver? [sigh]
Unfortunately, the High Sierra Café, which everyone knows is open 24 hours a day serving up their incredible Chicken-Fried Chicken, was closed when got to Lone Pine. Closed?! We were horrified! … and very hungry! We found a couple of burgers and headed onward. We got home at 2:30am, unpacked the Mustang, and plunked down in our bed, dead tired.
The next morning, we squinted in the bright sunlight that flooded the living room and considered the 80-to-90 degree weather of the day ahead and quickly set in to enjoy the comforts of home: our own coffee, shower, kitchen and best of all, our own washer and dryer.
Mmmm, home sweet home.
What? It's over? Catch all the photos here.