Thursday, December 30, 2010

Across Washington in the Winter

This post is for all our non-Washingtonian friends. Every time Heather and I drive across Washington between the Seattle and Spokane areas, we wish we could bring all our friends from other places to show them what our state is like. Of course, we assume you would all actually want to come. This time, as we were driving back from my parents' house in Newport to Seattle, I decided to photo-document the five-to-eight-hour, 320 mile drive. Imagine that you are riding along with Heather, Ginger, and me, as I drone on about each interesting landmark or geological feature. Please try not to fall asleep, as this will be very interesting and educational. After all, you're getting the condensed version!

Feel free to click on any images you find particularly pleasing to see them at a higher resolution.

We woke up in Newport to fresh snow, so Heather had to clear off the driveway with my parents' snowblower. She truly lives for this experience.

Newport is at about 2500 feet (762 meters) above sea level, and there are hills and coniferous trees. The drive from Newport to Spokane, south on Highway 2, takes about an hour.

We pass Diamond Lake, which is frozen over, and the building where my church used to meet, originally Rogers High School, and now for many years the Diamond Lake Grange.

Heather handles snow driving expertly, but some situations are more difficult than others (British friends: the 'lorry' you see in this picture is actually called a 'truck'. The second image features a 'snow plow').

We drive through Spokane, then out on Interstate 90, past the trees into the center of Washington.

The center, which includes such wonderful areas as the Columbia Basin (technically a much larger area), the Palouse, and the Channeled Scablands, is mostly flat with rolling hills or plateaus, and gets less precipitation than the western side of Washington, lying in the rain shadow of the Cascades.

The town of Moses Lake – the lake is also frozen over.

Next, we approach the mighty Columbia River, which flows down the middle of the state, then goes down to form the Oregon border. Driving down into the Columbia Gorge:

The Columbia Gorge is a very windy place, and a large wind farm was recently built on the west side, at Ryegrass.

The land gets a little more hilly, and we approach Ellensburg, the home of Central Washington University and about 600 fast food restaurants aimed at travelers halfway across the state (British friends: after returning from Glasgow, Heather and I had a very hard time remembering how to pronounce Ellensburg properly--hard 'g'!).


Now we are starting to climb into the Cascade Range of mountains - to most Washingtonians, the border between Eastern and Western Washington (completely ignoring Central!). Not a very good day to photograph them, but I tried anyway.

Going over Snoqualmie Pass, traffic was reduced to one lane because of an overturned tanker truck. This added at least an hour to our trip, and we had to stop in the tunnel for a while.

Nighttime in the Cascades.

Then home to Seattle! Thanks for riding along. We'll do it again in the summer sometime, and give you a better look at the Cascades!

Monday, December 20, 2010

The early family Christmas

Promised photo of my mom's tree, up and decorated.My new niece, Maicie. What a cutie. She has stolen my mother's heart. Why didn't Ginger's entrance elicit so much fuss?
Look at that adorable little tail. I love the sausage body. Can't she stay this small forever? Oh wait, no, she's lab/german shepherd mix.
A portion of the beautiful Christmas present from Justin and Allison.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

OUR Christmas tree!

Well, it's definitely not my mother's Christmas tree. But it is the tallest that could fit in our home.
Our first Christmas tree!

Sunday, December 05, 2010

Farm out!

7 adults. 1 llama. The quest to find the perfect 11 foot tree for Mom's home. Oh, and the cheapest.
Allison, Justin, and Joel. Look at all that gorgeous red hair.

Is this THE ONE???!? Quite awesome. I think it was Joel's first choice.We found it! This is not a trick of photography: the tree truly is bigger than all 7 adults put together. My mom is not afraid of massive trees. Now... since we hiked miles into the forest to find the 'cheaper' trees, how to get it back down to the farm??!
How 'bout a homemade yoke? Look at those 2 oxen!
Happy Christmas Tree-ing to you and yours this season!

Before and after