The hills around Yakima have this peculiar two-dimensional flatness, and eventually we decided it was because they were all the same colour and there was no shading to give perspective or depth, they all looked like they were precisely the same distance away, like a mural on the heavens. We stopped at a view point to take a couple of pictures but unfortunately the view point was not facing the mural hills, but rather the flat plain between the swelling Yakima ridges and the more sharp and jagged Cascadia peaks of the big mountains which lay between us and home. But we took a few shots, and off we went again, skirting Ellensburg and swinging back onto the I 90.
We had written directions I had cribbed from the net the night before as to how to get to Snoqualmie Falls, which was a place we had been to when we had first visited Washington state, lo these many years ago. We were supposed to take Exit 25 off the highway, but we got hijacked by Exit 33 (which said Snoqualmie Falls, dammit) so we turned in there instead and wound up getting to the falls along the back ways, through a small town, along back roads with wildly peculiar signage in places, following an optimistic arrow which pointed ever onwards with the magic words "Snoqualmie Falls". Eventually we happened upon them, rather startled, with no real warning; the main upper area is being refurbished and is essentially closed until November so we parked at the Salish Lodge hotel, wandered up the stairs to the view point to look at the Falls, smiled at the beauty and grandeur of it (and, experienced Washningtonians now, immediately started wondering whether in fact we were seeing them at their best and if we should come back in, oh, say, February or March during the Big Melt and see them when they are more in spate... but don't get it wrong, they were spectacular enough as they were...)
Took a few pictures and then meandered back to the Lodge to find something to eat. The main dining room was closed until 5:30, but there was a bar and small restaurant upstairs called "The Attic" and we went up there. The thing has large picture windows overlooking the top of the falls - but only three tables which sit next to same. And when we got there they told us there was a wait for the tables of some 20 minutes or so - which seemed reasonable, so we sat down to wait it out. A table (NOT a window) opened up in the central area just as a couple of Entitled People walked into the bar - you know the kind, dressed casually enough, but with haircuts which had to have cost a couple of hundred dollars apiece and with every item of clothing carefully chosen to say "casual, but we paid a lot for it anyway". They entered the room, pointed out the empty table to one another with a gleeful finger, and made a beeline to it. THey were intercepted by a waitress who told them that there was a waiting list; at the same moment I caught the woman's eye, and she, after sliding her gaze off mine, said to her husband artlessly, "Oh, I suppose all these people are waiting for a table" - as though she'd only just, you know, noticed us there. Then she said to the waitress, "So, could we reserve a window table in oh, I don't know, about half an hour - we could wander off and look at the falls and then come back..."
Hackles. I haz them. And they were rising fast.
The waitress said no, and then someone came to tell us that our table was ready, and then someone from a window table turned and said, oh, WE're leaving, so we got a window table - the one with the best view - and I lost sight of the Entitled Couple after that. I don't care what happened to them, WE got the best seat in the house (gloat gloat gloat). The meal, while not entirely unexpectedly pricey, was also exceedingly good - they serve good coffee, very nice crusty bread, and the food, when it came, was plentiful but not overwhelming and very nicely prepared and presented. I can definitely recommend stopping by the Salish Lodge Attic if you're anywhere in the vicinity (and Snoqualmie Falls are worth actually going TO the vicinity. Very pretty place.)
Well, all that - Falls and lunch - took up almost two hours, so we hit the road again at 4 PM or thereabouts. We successfully threaded the maze of the Greater Seattle Road Trap, skirted the suburbs on the 405, found the I-5 and got on it, and were home just before six that evening.
Everything was in order, cats were happy to see up (and have the heaters turned up), and now I have a bit of homework to do to clean up after the conference before I can get back to the Novel in Progress. But this was a good conference, a nice trip, well worth the journey (even though I was a tired puppy when I finally pulled into my driveway after all that driving).
The usual transmissions resume next week. Hope your weekend was good and productive.