Wednesday, August 21, 2013

East from Seattle across the Cascades

Other than a baby who didn’t fall asleep until the 11:00 pm taxi ride from the Seattle airport to my friend Andy’s house where we were staying, we had an uneventful return flight to our regularly scheduled road trip. The most confusing part was figuring out where all the stuff we’d taken out of the trailer and truck to bring home or for the couple nights in Seattle would fit back in. After a tail waggingly gleeful reunion with Gorilla where the people running the kennel couldn’t say enough about how sweet she was, we made our way to Airstream Adventures NW to pick up our home.

Walking into the service office, Jeanine confirmed that our “coach” was ready and parked right out front. “Uh, actually, that’s not ours,” I told her confidently, noticing the large double vista windows we often covet on other people’s trailers along one side. But when she explained that it must be in the next row and led me outside, I couldn’t quite as confidently say exactly which one was, in fact, ours.


It was weird to think that somewhere on the other side of those tinted solar rock guards and riveted aluminum panels was the safe and homey capsule in which we’d thus far spent almost 60 nights this year and would soon spend another 30. In one of these units, Wynne’s high chair hung off the dinette, magnets from the National Parks we’d visited in the Southwest were stuck to the fridge and we could list the contents of every drawer or cabinet before opening it. After figuring out that they’d washed it, I spotted the rusty brackets of our Equalizer weight distribution hitch that looked much the worse for wear after just a week in the salt air along the Oregon Coast, but still had to walk around to check for the ADV-O-DNA sticker in the lower right corner of the back window before being sure.

On a side note, it’s come to our attention that there are those in the overlanding community who pronounce the abbreviated moniker for the “Adventures of Dave and Ann” in a way that makes us sound “like a Russian prostitute.” I remember the few days after we actually decided to start planning a drive on the Pan American Highway. We’d been following blogs like Bumfuzzle, Lost World Expedition, and The Darien Plan and decided we had to come up with a name for our blog. Little did we realize at the time that as more people blogged and used social networking while traveling, this name would become something that we’d be known (and even recognized!) by for going on almost 4 years now. Early on, we’d realized that we needed something shorter that “Adventures of Dave and Ann,” and perhaps influenced by hours on the Adventure Rider (ADVRider) forums while planning our three week ride on the TransAmerica Trail, we went with “ADV of Dave and Ann” which became ADV-O-DNA. To us, it had always been pronounced AD (like what you do to numbers), VO (like the first part of what you do to elect a president), DNA (like the information stored in the double helixical molecules that determine whether our eyes are blue or green). For the three of you out there reading this, what’d it sound like in your head?


Sitting in Seattle traffic at 4:15 on a Wednesday was not quite what we’d been missing about being on the road. After a stop to resupply the fridge and pantry, we determined that our plan of driving the North Cascades Highway was not going to happen without a very unhappy toddler, so we got out the road atlas and picked another route that headed into the mountains. It usually works for us just to head towards some areas marked green on the map, and we can usually find camping. Before long, we were following the Skykomish River past Index Mountain and a memory came rushing back of coming out here to rock climb one summer during college on the East Coast. In fact, Andy and I had just been trying to piece the details of that road trip back together the night before. All we could really be sure of was that we’d gone climbing in Index and then returned to find that Phish was playing a show in town that night. Or was it Blues Traveler. Wait, was that in Burlington?


While a campground we’d read about in Index was inaccessible due to a washed out road, we found Money Creek not too much farther up the main highway. One of the best parts of traveling like this is the ability to discover random places you never would have stopped otherwise, and, I should add, have all the comforts of home when you get there. We backed into a small site with a nicely framed view of the Skykomish, unhitched and parked the truck across the front. Another tight fit. We’d unfortunately run out of propane on the tank attached to the refrigerator while parked at the dealership, but still had a week’s worth of frozen goodies from home in the small fridge we’d left plugged in at Andy’s, so we thawed a container of Ann’s homemade chicken tortilla soup with some avocado and cilantro on top and settled in at the dinette.


The next morning was our scheduled day to take a run. The every other day routine has been great to keep us moving a little after long days in the car, but also reminds us that while we’re out to see as much and do as much in these beautiful places as possible, there are also just daily parts of life that we have decided are important. Getting exercise wherever we happen to be, Wynne’s bath in the shallow base of the shower in the trailer and eating unprocessed and healthy food.

Plus, you never know what might happen while exploring a new place out on a run. This morning, we continued up the small offshoot road on the far side of the Skykomish, towards the train tracks we knew were close from the whistles and rumbles that had come by every hour or so since we got there. Ann was really excited to run up the tracks with the Bob stroller and even called me a few names I’d rather not repeat, but I just didn’t think it was safe.


I decided instead to take a short cut through the woods and then, wouldn’t ya know it, just as I was starting to winder whether anyone was following our blog or even knew how to pronounce it, someone recognized me! I looked to my right and heard, “There he is! OH MY GOD! It’s HIM!”


I continued on back to the trailer to get some ADV-O-DNA stickers for them and maybe a Sharpie just in case they wanted it personalized, but by the time I got back they were gone. Still, it felt good to be appreciated.

*** Blog Post Update: It’s come to my attention that it’s possible they mistook me for someone else.