Tag Archive | Snoqualmie Pass

Antiques Roadtrip to Boise

In late June, Jon and I had an amazing opportunity.  We went to Antiques Roadshow!  I’m sure you are wondering about the backstory…  In case you don’t know what Antiques Roadshow is, you are really missing out.  It is a television show on PBS, where people bring their antique and collectible items to be appraised.  The show has events in 8 cities each year, and they amass an army of appraisers to assess everybody’s items and tell them a bit about them and the value.

Each year, people can enter their name into the lottery for 2 tickets to an Antiques Roadshow event.  You can only enter for one city per year, and you can only enter once.  After the date for entries has passed, they randomly choose 3,000 people per city to receive tickets.  The tickets are free, and it is against the rules to sell them.  If you win tickets, you get a pair of tickets to the event where each person must bring at least one item to be appraised, and you can bring two.

This was the fourth year I have entered the lottery, and I didn’t win tickets when they were in Seattle, Portland or Spokane, all closer to home.  But this year I won!  To the event in Boise, Idaho!  That’s an eight hour drive from home, but I was so excited that I won, we decided to make a weekend trip of it.  The funny thing is, they send you an email to let you know the winners have been selected, and you have to go into the website to see if you won; I was so convinced that I probably didn’t win that I waited the longest time to go check.  Once we found out we got tickets, we had to put in requests for time off!  Luckily, I didn’t have much going on for those couple of days at work…  Jon and I both got the long weekend off, and we left for Boise on Thursday evening after work.  We made plans to make it to Pendleton, Oregon the first night, knocking out a little more than half of the drive.

We headed out a bit late (due to a lost driver’s license and some time spent searching for keys – people who know us will know who lost their stuff…) and were on the road when the trouble started…  We were on our way over the mountain pass when we saw a sign indicating that the pass was going to be closed for rock blasting 10 miles in front of us.  Starting at 8 pm…

It was 7:54

(Insert expletive here…)

I crossed my fingers and prayed that because it was government, they wouldn’t be starting right on time…

But they were…

Right on time…

We were stuck in a dead stop at the top of Snoqualmie Pass while the construction crews worked.  The sign had indicated a closure of 2 hours, with additional time if necessary to clear the road.  Yikes…

There was nothing to do but wait.  I took the opportunity to take some photos of Lake Keechelus, a beautiful crystal clear blue lake at the top of the pass; the source of the Yakima River.  I am almost always barreling by this lake at 60+ miles per hour, so it was kind of neat to be able to just enjoy it for a spell.  Talk about making lemons into lemonade!  Of course, the mosquitoes soon drove me back to the car, and I pulled out a book to read.   At one point Jon decided he was going to go for a run up the road, but fortunately he didn’t  go too far.  The road crew was better than on time and under budget – they had us moving again in 50 minutes, leaving me to wonder if they over-estimate so they can deliver the re-opened road with travelers thinking that they got lucky!

Lake Keechelus at the top of Snoqualmie Pass - You can see the completely empty I-90 in the background

Lake Keechelus at the top of Snoqualmie Pass – You can see the completely empty I-90 in the background on the left side at the edge of the lake

After the closure, we got moving and made good time, but of course we were already an hour behind schedule.  Which meant that we weren’t going to get to Pendleton until midnight.  Oh well, we just kept driving…  Sadly, more of the trip was in the dark, so it was a long, dark, desolate, tiring drive.  It also meant a sad dinner of gas station snacks, because we didn’t want to make any more stops than necessary.  Ugh…

But we eventually we made it, and were able to get a good night’s sleep so we could continue the rest of the way to Boise in the morning!

Terror on the Pass

This last weekend we were going to be traveling east of the mountains so Jon could compete in his third half-marathon, the Tri-Cities half-marathon.  He picked a race in Eastern Washington for a couple of reasons; he wanted a change of pace from all the driving rain we have been experiencing, and he figured that we could combine the race with a nice little weekend getaway in wine country.  But the problem – there was a winter storm warning in effect.  We started hearing about it about a week before the trip; we had already paid Jon’s race entry and booked a hotel.

The storm was to bring major, heavy snowfall in the pass, which would mean a harrowing couple hour journey and the potential to be stranded in a line of cars while they close the road to do avalanche work.  We watched all week, nervous (I considered asking Jon if the race was really all that important).

The way the weather people were talking about it, there was a serious risk of going the way of the Donner Party – stranded for months at the top of a snowy pass with no choice but to wait for your spouse to die so you could eat him.  I say “him” because surely Jon would die first – I have more body fat.  Of course, I mentioned my concerns to my co-workers (I think I phrased it something like, “I’m going to die…”) and my one co-worker (she’s a mom) brought in a bag of all the things I would need for my journey; a little snow shovel to dig out the car, a huge flashlight, and some big gloves for putting on the chains.

So I threw that stuff in the car along with the chains I purchased for the trip (keep in mind that in 37 years, I have never even owned chains, much less put them on) and the stuff my dad told me to pack – blankets, windshield wiper fluid, de-icer, hand warmers, a tarp (to kneel on when you put on the chains) a scraper, and enough food and water to have a picnic for 40 – that way we could survive for a while before I had to eat Jon.

Jon had to work until 3, so we were going to be heading out right when the forecast was saying that the worst would hit.  I was ready and waiting when he pulled in, and we flew out of the driveway to go meet our fate.  I even had some butterflies in my stomach as we heading up to higher elevations…  where we were met with this…

I-90 Snoqualmie Pass

I-90 Snoqualmie Pass

Bare and wet…