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We're going to join the Cascade Cobra Club for a trip from Vancouver, WA to Leavenworth, WA for a long weekend. We've decided to tow the Cobra to Vancouver, spend the night prior to their departure and again before heading home. Thought this would give us both a rest out of the weather and because it's a short trip, but long drive getting there. It's been a long time since I've been through Washington, so this will be like new again. We'll be heading straight up on I5 and then to I205 to Vancouver, spend the night in Washougal, WA and meet up with the group the next morning for the drive to Leavenworth.
The plan for the Cascade Cobra Club is: Hwy 14 to Maryhill, Hwy 97 to Yakima for lunch and fuel stop, 97 to 2, to Leavenworth. Saturday drive to Lake Chelan for lunch, Hwy 2 and Alt 97 on West side of Columbia going up, Hwy 2 on East side of Columbia coming back. Club dinners each night in Leavenworth. Return Sunday 97 to Yakima, Hwy 12 to Randle, then, either 12 to Napavine and I-5 home, or 131 south to Northwoods. Time is about the same for those options, but the twisty road to Northwoods is a lot more scenic. We'll make a group decision at Randle, depending on current road conditions and weather.
So, we'll plan for the best of times. Even if we get some moisture, it won't be the first (or probably last) time we ever get wet in this car. What's an adventure without rain...PLEASANT!
Our drive to Washington is going to be early. Not a big deal for us because we are early risers. So early, we wake the worms for the birds. :) Plan is to leave around 4am and arrive by 6pm or 7pm at our hotel in Washougal.
Well of course things never go perfect. We did leave home at 3am and thought we'd get to Washougal by at least 4pm. That didn't work out too well though. The trip all the way to Portland was just fine. It was trying to get through or around Portland that was difficult. And we thought Bay Area traffic was bad.
As we got close to Portland around 3pm, it all went haywire. We (meaning me) missed the I205 exit and we had to go further on I5 to hit the 84 to get on the I205 and cross the Columbia River to Washington. That's when it all went south, so to speak. We got on the 84 and it was a mess. Stop and go to 30mph and then my Garmin told me a stall on the I205 is causing a 16min delay. OK, not bad, just got worse. That 16min delay backed everythng up on both the 84 and the I205 prior to the stalled car. Oh, forgot to mention the stall was on the bridge itself. We couldn't get over for the I205 connection so the Garmin led us through town, just like all the locals were doing. So, after sitting in traffic, waiting for bottleneck intersections, multiple stoplights, the last planned hour turned into three hours. We arrived at the hotel at 6pm. So much for planning. A long day for sure, 16hrs towing a car!
Our meeting place is the Pendleton Woolen Mills parking lot, which is only about 15min. from our hotel. After meeting at 8:30am we plan to leave at 9:00am for the drive to Yakima, WA and then to our destination at Obertal Inn, in Leavenworth, WA.
We had lunch at Cowice Canyon Kitchen and Ice House and I think we could've saved a bit of time staying on the highway a bit longer instead of driving through a dozen or more signal lights and city traffic. After lunch we stopped for gas and then on to Leavenworth. Another problem raised it's head...
All of us didn't make it through the signal light so I waited up the road for Don. We got on the highway only to find the group ahead had long vanished. We stayed together all the way to Leavenworth and between the Garmin, Google Maps and Don's (driver I waited for) knowledge of the area, we got to the hotel first. I was just surprised the other part of our group didn't stop at an area where we would definitely be able to see them, but it never happened.
The drive was just brutal with winds in the 30mph range and hitting you from all sides and adding in the fact we were doing 60 to 70mph. It didn't really settle down until we got about 10 miles from Leavenworth. We even got a few sprinkles a couple of times, but the weather turned out nice and we got to the hotel at 4pm. After checking in, we went across the street to the Blewett Brewing Company Beer and Pizza for a few hours to unwind.
After breakfast at the hotel we headed out around 10:30am for a hour drive to Chelan for lunch and a brief rest. We drove up the "ALT"97 along the Columbia River and had a light lunch at Campbell's Resort on Lake Chelan. We stopped at Ohme Gardens County Park, but after stopping we found out there was a lot of walking and associated fee, so we opted to forgo and head to Chelan.
After lunch it was time for a gas stop and head back to Leavenworth for the afternoon. With our no nonsense planning, we ended up going back the same way and Butch had to get his paper map out to show us how to get out of town. Our plan was to drive back on the other side of the Columbia River, but in true fashion, we got turned around so to speak and just put it with the norm for the trip. All good fun.
On the way back I got a shot of this rock face mountain that had what looked like graduating year numbers drawn on it. If we would've gone the other way, I wouldn't have seen it. So it was good we made a mistake.
Our dinner plans were at the Bavarian Bistro and Bar, which was about 1.5 blocks from the hotel. After dinner it was time for us to hit the sack.
After our breakfast (seems all we do is eat) it was time for our goodbyes and on the road(s) home again. It always seems short, but worth the wait and time spent having fun. This group was no exception and this being our first meeting, are ready to join them for another trip in the future.
Packed up and ready, we left Leavenworth for our destinations. We retraced our path back down the 97 to 14 and as we split off to home or hotel, we gave a big wave until the next adventure. Along the way we drove some roads that Don and us didn't see on the way up because we got separated leaving Yakima. So to us, it was nice to see something new. The drive took us along the Yakima River (off the freeway on 821) and nice two lane nicely paved road.
Stopped in Yakima again for a good lunch and fuel stop. We ate at the Powerhouse Grill and filled our bellies to get us through the day. I know we weren't eating dinner after getting to our hotel that night so it was perfect timing. We then filled up our cars and off we went. Shortly after leaving we waved goodbye to our first pair to leave the group for home. Happy trails! Next it was a quick stop at a Mickey D's (McDonalds) in Glendale for a potty stop and ice cream before coming back down to the Columbia River gorge for our final destination.
Once back down along the Columbia River, I spotted a train switching yard and just had enough time to snap a picture.
Driving along the Columbia River we saw a lot of wind surfers, sail surfer, jet skiers and any other type of human aqua activities where the lack of wind is almost impossible to find. They looked like they were having as much fun as we were in our modes of transportation. All in all, a good day for everyone.
We want to thank the Cascade Cobra Club for allowing us to tag along and enjoy some new country and friendships. Safe travels to all.
Monday, July 2, 2018