We both agreed that there isn't a whole lot to see crossing North Dakota except lots and lots and lots of wheat fields! However, as we headed West, we came across some oil or gas wells as well as hitting the edge of Theodore Roosevelt National Park. I'm short on pics to share with you because I was taking more of them on Dan's camera than on my phone. The photo below is, I think, of the Badlands in Western ND. Pretty rugged country there, but not as barren as the Badlands in South Dakota, as I remember from a trip there 35 years ago.
We managed to push through and cross the border into Montana for the first night of the trip--right on schedule. The next morning we again took off bright and early but the morning coffee soon made itself felt and we stopped at a wayside rest stop at the confluence of the Yellowstone and Rosebud rivers in Eastern Montana to take care of business. I had to take a pic of my "boy." He looks quite happy there and as we got closer to Washington, his grin just got bigger and bigger!
The second night we spent in Missoula MT, surrounded by mountains. It was very beautiful and I can quite understand why my friend Pat loves to vacation in this state. Even in the winter with cloudy skies and very little greening of the landscape, this is an extremely beautiful state.
Shortly after we left Missoula for the third and last day of the trip, we crossed MT into Idaho at Look Out Pass, pictured above, from the ski lodge there. Had a great chat with one of the ski patrol who grew up in Seattle and gave Dan some tips on living there. Can you imagine how beautiful this place must be in the summer with all that dirty snow melted and grasses, flowers and trees all in their splendor? I think I need to return a little later in the season to see for myself! After we crossed Idaho, it was flatland across Eastern Washington until we hit the Cascade Mountains just East of Seattle. More beautiful scenery and again, I can only imagine how beautiful they must be in summer.
Our plan was to take me to my downtown Seattle hotel and then Dan would meet up with his friends for dinner and to go Vashon Island where he'll be staying until he finds an apartment. I was in a really great hotel--got a King Executive Suite!--and believe me, I really enjoyed being out of the car after 3 days of driving! To be honest, I was a bit lonely after Dan dropped me off and I settled into my room. I truly enjoyed having all that time with my son, who I rarely see by himself anymore, and I'm so glad I was able to spend the time with him. I know I and the whole family will miss him but I also know that this is a very good move for him as well as his entire family. So, I can't be too sad.
I was in a really great hotel--got a King Executive Suite!--and believe me, I really enjoyed being out of the car after 3 days of driving! But, to be honest, I was a bit lonely after Dan dropped me off and I settled into my room. I truly enjoyed having all that time with my son, who I rarely see by himself anymore, and I'm so glad I was able to spend the time with him. I know that I and the whole family will miss him but I also know that this is a very good move for him as well as his entire family. So, I can't be too sad.
Sunday morning, I had a huge, and delicious, breakfast at the hotel, knowing I wouldn't have another meal until dinner, and took off with my bag to walk to the train station. It was a little less than 2 miles and I thought I would be able to do that with ease. However, I didn't figure in the weight of my bag! OMG! I thought I was going to die! That thing must have weighed 50 pounds and fortunately, I'd brought the shoulder strap so I could carry it across my chest and not in my hand, but still I had to stop more than several time to let my bad knee recover a bit before going on. But "still she persisted" :) and I eventually made it.
There were several vest pocket parks along the way where I could sit and rest for a little, one of them being this one on the site of the original UPS company. A gorgeous little waterfall, in the heart of the city. I wasn't the only one who was lingering there that Sunday afternoon.
And finally I made it to King St. Station which was amazing! Built in 1904-1906, according to Wikipedia, the station has been completely renovated and restored to it's original beauty, and it is a sight to see! I was in this station back in the early 1990s but I had no recollection of the depot being this ornate. Well, that's because the restoration was completed in 2013, so much of the plasterwork was hidden at the time of my first visit. I spent about 3 hours here before boarding the train, and I wasn't bored one bit. (Excuse the play on words. Ahem.)
The train departed Seattle late Sunday afternoon and didn't arrive in St. Paul until early Tuesday morning meaning 2 nights on the train. I didn't have a sleeper berth so that meant sleeping in the seat in coach. Fortunately, a lot of people got off in Spokane and I was able to have a double seat for myself for the rest of the trip. I could stretch out and get some pretty good quality sleep both nights.
In the morning we were going through the mountains near and in Glacier National Park, and on the train you get real, real close to nature! There are no shoulders on the train track as there are on the interstates, so the trees and rocks are right outside the window as you pass by. Hard to take pictures because there's so much stuff outside the window, but I think this one kind of captures the mountains. It was snowing during this part of the trip, so it looks a bit hazy. Mountain in the background, river in the middle, and trees outside my window.
The rest of the trip was rather uneventful, again passing over the plains of eastern Montana and ND, but some of that time was at night so I slept through it. We arrived in St. Paul about an hour ahead of schedule and fortunately, Don had left home with lots of time to spare in case he ran into traffic, so he arrived about 10 minutes after I did! Perfect timing! After we got home, he made plans to play golf, I unpacked, petted the cat and crawled into my bed--a real bed!--for a 2 hour nap. The rest of the day was spent getting ready for guild meeting that night. And I'll tell you about that tomorrow.
Now, I need to get to the store and replenish the larder since Don devoured everything while I was gone. :) I'm glad to be back home but I loved the trip.