On the Road

On the Road

If you’re wondering if you can drive all the way from Seattle to Spokane to a soundtrack made up exclusively of the band TV on the Radio, the answer is Yes.

I read nothing in the following save happenstance, but the opening lines my ears heard once I plugged in the iPod and got the car moving were the following:

Every lover on a mission/Shift your known position/Into the light

Not a bad start as I began my drive into the light from Seattle to Spokane.

I left Seattle at 10:48AM on Friday, headed east in a Jetta I’d rented that morning. This was my first rental car experience and boy was it a doozie. Actually, it wasn’t much of a doozie; it was simple as could be. The best part of it was the Jetta, which was zippy and white and seemed to enjoy driving fast, the latter point being one I wasn’t inclined to argue. After I picked her up we slid down Aurora and then hit I-90, turned left and soon the city was behind us.

The day was beautiful and sunny and clear and we cruised across Lake Washington, from whose vantage I was able to see both Mt Rainier and Mt Baker. We passed through Issaquah1 and then began to climb until eventually we topped The Cascades and slipped over Snoqualmie pass.

The Jetta wanted to Go man go! like some jazz-&-amphetamine-addled character right out of Kerouac and in no time I found that she handled great at 95mph. I then thought about what a horrible start to my trip it would be to get a ticket for driving at 95pmh and I eased her back, a simple but unmistakable act that surely demonstrates how far from Kerouac I am.

East we went. I stopped at a rest stop in Cle Elum, which sounds like the intro to a bad Stephen King novel but in fact was quite lovely. For the day that particular rest stop was staffed by folks from the Toppenish Grace Brethren Church Youth Group, who were kind enough to drive up from Toppenish to provide us travelers free coffee and cookies. What a day. Behind me the Stuart Range of the Cascades shone bright and snow covered as Americans zipped past in their SUV’s.

Soon I approached the Columbia River and the land grew dry and scrubbed. Large propellers spun on the steep hillsides. As we crossed above it the river was green and slow, a beast so used to being tamed that it had forgotten its strength. On the other side we climbed up and up and then leveled out. The fields were a rich deep green and signs marked their growths—alfalfa, sweet corn, unknown riches. The land began to dry and dirt devils whirled their dervishes in thin spirals. I settled in behind a midsize truck and turned up the radio.

I arrived in Spokane. The air was hot and dry as a slap in the face. I grinned and took it. A couple hours later and the light had begun to fall away. For a time at least I’d looked into it.

  1. Let me pause and note that I despise Issaquah. To me it is nothing more than a pus-filled zit seething on the face on our human experience. The iron stain lining Satan’s hitter. Insert any other images that might convey to you, dear readers, what a terrible, terrible place I find Issaquah to be []

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