The drive from northern Idaho into eastern Washington is pretty uneventful. In fact, I didn’t even see the sign welcoming us into Washington, so I couldn’t do my standard little ‘new state’ dance. All I really remember of most of the drive towards Seattle is that the land is FLAT. Very very flat. And the fab Spanish radio stations – the announcer rattling off the weather report at warp speed and the Nortena music (basically Mexican polka – you know you want to dance!).
One of my fav things about this drive was the large section of road where Washington has mandated crop nameplates. It was great! My extreme lack of any farming knowledge has always made for annoying drives – other than corn, and maybe wheat, I have no clue what is growing along those long stretches of farmland on so many roads in the US. The signs showed us what ‘ALFALFA’ looks like, or how to spot ‘POTATOES’ from a distance. ‘PEPPERMINT” seemed to be another Washington standard. It was also fun to see all the orchards, with the names of some of my favorite apples on them – yum. And tons of cherries.I still have no clue what ‘TIMOTHY’ is – I’m obviously not totally educated, but it livened up an otherwise boring section of road travel.
About midway through the state, mountains spring up seemingly out of nowhere. The sign for the town of Leavenworth should have tipped us off, but it took a few minutes to realized that the entire town was done up like little Germany, or some remote Alpime village. Even the McDonalds, Wells Fargo and gas station signs were crafted in a flowery script with little flowers curling around the letters, the buildings had peaked roofs and were painted colorfully. Very cute.
The next stop on our trip was Everett, WA – a very important place for one reason: the Boeing factory. High on Nick’s list of things to see, this was actually a really cool tour even for non-aviators. I’ll let Nick tell you more about it, but basically we got to see the enormously large hangars where the do the assembly for their ‘widebody’ (2 aisle) jets, including their new 787, which hasn’t yet been released. My favorite part was seeing the ‘DreamLifters’ – 747s that they have cut the top off and enlarged and created a hinged tail section so they can transport parts from their factories all over the world to the hangars here to assemple them together. I call them Frankenstein planes, but they probably look a little more Quaismodo-ish, with their big humps.