Wednesday, March 15, 2006

here today...

...gone tomorrow!

This pic's from my car window outside of Ellensburg, WA of a snow squall... the last blue sky I'll be seeing for awhile.

I've been gone from the blog 5 days? FIVE DAYS???!!!

I didn't know.

I had to go to Colville... the far northeast corner of this state. Not the most out of here corner but the far northeast corner that has well... some semblance of a population base. Beyond Colville... farther northeast is Ione and places like that.

I travelled to Spokane where I've taken a motel room for a couple of nights. Not that Colville doesn't have any motels... they do... two. It's just that as I get a bit older I like to have my "toys" with me... laptop, wireless internet access, etc. That way "the wife" and I can keep in touch and, well... never mind.

I'm driving to Spokane on Interstate 90... Heading roughly towards DG! God help me!

You see, DG's in that "state to the right of us"... Idaho. Towards the right of this picture. Kinda "uphill" from here (even though the picture suggests downhill).

Anyways, this I-90 freeway goes quite aways but all I need to know is that I travel 400 plus miles to Spokane, Washington and hang a left on Highway 395 then travel 68 miles north until I run into a mountain... that's Colville. Well, not really. Colville's kinda at the base of the mountain so if you run into the mountain then you actually drove through Colville... and probably damaged your car. I chose to do the 'round trip to Colville from Spokane each day rather than stay in Colville. Nothing against Colville... I just did it that way. Personal. Nothing more. Okay!

So, when I got up this morning at the motel in Spokane I noticed there was a light dusting of snow... about 3 inches on the company truck. Spokane's weather is a bit different than Ellensburg's and oh-so-much different than Olympia's (We be on the "west side"... the "milder" side).

As I headed north on highway 395 things seemed to get a bit more... intense... I guess that's the word. Patches of snow, ice and slush mixed with bare and wet 60 miles per hour pavement. That can always make for a sucking seat cushion type of ride. Those types of rides where you truly don't need a seat belt because your butt is securely fastened by suction to the seat cushion of the drivers seat... stains and all. I've actually seen people who've had to wait for days until the suction is released and they can get out of their car... usually after really, really, really close calls. Trust me!

I had a couple this morning. Very few this afternoon... it "warmed up" to the high 30's and the snow on the road melted a bit.

Now I know DG's thinking "You baby! You whiner!" because I'm complaining about the weather and the road conditions but that's really not the problem. I'm trying to get 68 miles north from my location to a meeting. The speed limit is 60. I leave the motel at 07:30 a.m. to allow for the two lane, 68 mile commute for a 09:00 a.m. meeting. 12 miles north of Spokane the traffic is doing 45 miles per hour on a 2 lane road. You do the math... I'm gonna be late.

Worse yet, from the looks of things that picture shows the better road conditions and that dude in front of me still did 45 miles per hour! 35 degrees, wet road, 45 mph!

As I get closer to Colville the weather takes a turn. Things get a tad bit icier, roads get a bit funner... like amusement rides at some shopping mall carnival... and this isn't really a bad, snowy day. It's one of those days where you just can't seem to decide how you're going to drive because the weather is so damned different from one hill to the next.

All that I know is I've been driving for over an hour and still haven't reached Colville... 68 miles north of Spokane. I'm still 21 miles south! On a two lane Highway... cars doing 45 miles per hour (in kilometers that's still slow Ed and Sue!)... already late for a meeting.

A meeting to discuss wildland fires.

To discuss the puzzles surrounding how they started in 2005 in this very, very fire rich portion of the state. A meeting in late winter to discuss fires from April through October of 2005.

I do it every year. I go out and recap with each of our state's 6 regions the wildland fires they had to suppress the year prior... and discuss how we're going to train for those we're preparing for in the years to come. At least on the cause and origin part of things. How'd they start and where'd they start... puzzles.

Now, all I want to do is go home...

That'll happen tomorrow... after I make another trip to Colville and back... back... 482 miles back to home! Home and "The Wife".

Yah... I'm whining now.


DG said...

I know what the problem is. Mountains! Folks in the midwest who live on the flatlands and rolling hills just have no concept of how trecherous things really get when there is ice and snow on the roads as you wind through the mountains.

No, you folks back east and the midwest, you have hills, we have mountains.

So, I know your plight. That and the fact that you have two web feet from living on the west side!

But you do have an important job. Wild fires are a menace to us all out west. I appreciate what you do!

DG said...

Oh, I forgot my gratuitous remark...

"is that a picture of your daughter?" (his says making a reference to your age and her obvious youthful looks)

Cathy said...

Not only are you on the west side and the milder side, you are on the better side. Sorry DG.

It's sunny and warm in Tennessee. Us Southern girls are out in our shorts and flip flops with rosy cheeks. Makes for some great driving conditions. I will admit to the scenery not being as lovely but at least we can get out and get some speed under us.

Still though, even with the icy conditions, that is one beautiful place up there. Happy trails!

D. H. said...

DG- LOL... your webbing just dried out. If you spent a bit of time over here the webbing would come back. Puyallup isn't that far up the road from us... and "no", not "the daughter". It's "the wife" shaving her legs. But then again, you knew that. I'll tell her about the comment though. It'll make her day.

Cathy- I've been in almost all of the states as a child and as an adult. I haven't found any of them I'd rather live in and raise our kids in than here. And yeah, you're right... this side is the "better" side. The wife and I lived in eastern Washington for over 5 years. Don't get me wrong... it was nice... but it wasn't "home".

LOL... Rub it in about the weather in TN. Give it a couple of months... say July... then let's chat.

Sunshine said...

We are supposed to be getting some snow - but I don't suppose it will be in the same league as you have there!!!!!!!

Son is trying to notch up some gliding time to enable him to fly solo and the weather is certainly conspiring against him at the moment - every weekend brings another challenge - two weeks ago - ice and snow and last weekend - gale force winds - what this weekend will bring is anyones guess - oh fog - we have not had that yet!!!

Hope you return well from your trip.

Sounds like some very important work you have!!!!

D. H. said...

Hi Sue!

Well, as you know I'm back now. It was quite the trip.

Your son is doing the glider pilot thing??? That's great!!! I've always wanted to do that. I was a parachutist in the army with one of our Airborne units and later when attached to a special forces unit and I loved it! I hope he gets his stick time in soon.

RE: my job... not that important but it's a fun one. One I can feel good about working through until I'm ready to retire.