New beginnings

(On the third anniversary of our drive across the US and our arrival in the PNW, I think back and talk about what it was like on each day of the trip. This is Part 7 of an 8 part series)

January 27, 2011

Soon after we left Butte, MT, I noticed something tall and dark in the distance. I90 was taking us toward the mountains, and toward this tall dark thing. We could see it for miles, and it seemed like it was in our view for hours. At some point, the road curved, and it finally started to drop away. I took a picture of a nearby exit sign, and later looked it up. It is the Anaconda Smelter Stack. It stands alone in tribute to an America that was once growing faster than it could keep up, and building things at a record pace.

Marker of days gone by

Marker of days gone by

The road soon wound into the mountains and into Idaho, and our beautiful scenic views returned. We wound around and through tall mountains covered in snow and pine trees. This whole trip we had been listening to the Harry Potter audiobooks (Stephen Fry UK versions), but this is where I most remember it. Even today, when I think about driving through the mountains in Idaho, I think about Harry Potter.

Coeur D’Alene was beautiful. The lake downtown was framed by trees and mountains in the distance. The air was brisk but not too cold. We ate lunch at a funky restaurant that had cars on the ceiling and old coin operated parking meters at most booths.

Hot Rod Grill

Hot Rod Cafe

A few hours later, we arrived in Bellevue, WA. Driving around the corner on 405 North and seeing the downtown Bellevue skyscrapers laid out ahead is still one of my favorite views in the area. It felt strange to be at our destination, to not have any more road ahead. But it had been an amazing trip, and I had no idea what was to come.