There is an exit for “West The Dalles.” The sign never fails to make me scrunch up my nose and think about it. West The Dalles. Maybe there is an East The Dalles. Central The Dalles?
…it is the metropolis I currently sit within. Impatiently.
I planned a holiday gift for my mother. It didn’t quite work, but close. Her favourite holiday is Thanksgiving, because of the tradition of family gathering. Only, as so many things in her world, the gathering of family for the holidays is mostly an ideal created and tended lovingly in her mind. It’s never actually happened.
My great plan was to gather her four kids and their families at HER HOUSE for Thanksgiving. One of the reasons we don’t visit her often is because it’s a major strategic operation just to get there. I’ve mentioned already she lives on a mountaintop, outside of Moyie Springs, Idaho. It’s about 20 miles from Canada and 6 miles from Montana.
(For anyone my age or older, you may remember the Ruby Ridge incident, when FBI agents surrounded the home of a white separatist family and shot most of them, killing the wife through a window, while she stood holding their baby inside the house, and killing their 13 year old son – shot in the back while he was running away from them. Yes… I’m still bitter about it. In any case, Ruby Ridge is basically in Moyie Springs.)
I’ve got two out of three brothers & fams committed to the family gathering. One of them took no effort at all and has been my star of the holiday! One of them required major mucho dinero spent on plane tickets and rental car from big Sis to agree to the plan. The other one… drat! Can’t get him & fam up from Boise (8 hour drive, though in the same state).
Getting to this point has been such an undertaking (ugh, what family can put us through…), that now I am exhausted and broke and I’ve got my own 8-hour drive ahead of me. I have Wednesday off, and got out of work early today, eager to make a quick hop to Kennewick and crash with some friends. I had been checking the forecast for a week, and Tuesday night looked like the best weather of the whole week. Tonight was supposed to be my one big chance to make some major miles!
Except that I got HAMMERED by a blizzard just outside of The Dalles. Just before West The Dalles actuallly, but I still managed to scrunch up my nose while I thought about how funny that sounds, and then quickly yanked my attention back to the icy road, no visibility, cars crashed off the highway on both sides, so far away in the dark that even the highway lights couldn’t illuminate what sort of destruction lay out there.
I sat in a KMart parking lot for 30 minutes hoping it was just a quick burst of snow that would move on, but no such luck. So, giving in, I checked into a crappy Motel 6 and got the LAST AVAILABLE ROOM (one of the staff had to clear her own stuff out because she was using it as a breakroom). And here I sit. It’s still snowing, but only barely at the moment. Temperature is forecast to drop to 3 degrees here tonight, so all the ice and snow that was just deposited isn’t going anywhere.
I was supposed to be in Kennewick /she whines/ with my friieeennndddss… /she whines some more/. Well, hey, I knocked a whole hour and half off my drive. Only six and a half left for tomorrow. That is, if the weather is more cooperative.
Wish me luck with the family. It will make Mom’s decade. And that, hopefully, will make it worth all the trouble it took to make it happen.