Yesterday I started from Caldwell, Idaho about 8:45am, and in a half hour I was in Oregon. The temperature was in the teens and as I climbed into the mountains on I-84 it dropped as low as 7 degrees. A sign announced we were entering a snow zone, with chains or traction tires recommended. I had neither, but it was a sunny day (with some areas of fog), so what, me worry? The mountains were white, as were the roadsides, and gradually the roads had spots of white as well. The trucks around me (and there were a lot of them), slowed to a crawl, with cars dashing around them. This was not wise, as along the way a half dozen cars had slid off the roadside onto the median. At one point traffic stopped for a truck/car accident. No one was hurt, but immediately after the wreck trucks started pulling over to put chains on their tires. I didn’t slide, but at times slowed to as little as 20 mph. It was a long morning!
Around Pendleton, Oregon, I-84 comes down out of the mountains in a spectacular fashion. I think my ears popped, the descent was so dramatic! The temperature rose 30 degrees to the low 40s, and the valley stretched out ahead, with minimal snow. I breathed a sigh of relief and stopped at a DQ for lunch. Back on the road, past Pendleton, there were more mountains, but they were covered in evergreens–it felt as though I’d finally reached the Northwest. I passed over the Columbia River into Washington, and made my way though desert terrain, but with regular settlements, to Ellensburg.
Ellensburg is a lovely town, with great restaurants and attractions. The desk clerk at the Best Western was very helpful, giving me a map of the town and recommendations of several places to eat. I chose the Palace Cafe on Main Street. The place was decorated in a transportation theme, with railroads predominant. The staff were friendly and service was outstanding. And the food was great! I’m only sorry I have to leave here today–it is a place to spend some time, if you have it.