When I wake up it’s already starting to become light. I open the back door of my car while I stay in my bed. Now it feels even more like camping, because I can hear and smell nature from my mobile home. The visitor center opens in about an hour, so I have to wait a bit if I want to go there. Since I’m on a campsite I realize I can my my own coffee on the stove. That’ll be a good start of the day. It’s nice to be in adventure mode again, but it just takes some adjustment from waking up surrounded by loving people to waking up alone. I remember what my grandma often tells me: you are never alone. And that’s true. I’ve got many friends back home in the Netherlands and here in America. The other day I realized that I don’t feel like going back to the Netherlands yet, though it will be nice to see my friends and family again.
While making my coffee this morning I suddenly start to see how someone like Ana can travel around for three years. Of course it’s not an easy life, but it’s a free life. No office you need to go to every day, no obligations at all. You work for a while to get some money and then you travel further. Maybe I’ve caught the adventure bug, because suddenly I understand her lifestyle where as a few days ago I thought I could never live like that. I don’t know, I’ll give it some more thought as I continue traveling. In two weeks I have to go home first anyway, so I’ll just enjoy my time here and ponder on the adventurous lifestyle while driving in the coming days.
When I’ve finished my coffee I drive to the visitor center and ask for places where I should stop along the road. Then I drive to a small town and call with my grandma to discuss the travel plans. She recommends me to first go to Yellowstone and then come back North to visit them and Glacier National Park. That wasn’t the plan, but she is usually right so I decide to follow her advice. Yellowstone is about twelve hours driving from here, so I don’t know if I’ll make it today, but it sounds like a good idea to change the route.
Driving through North Cascades is amazing. There are big lakes with many trees and huge mountains covered with snow. These views compete with New Zealand and I can say it’s one of the most beautiful areas I’ve seen in America. I stop at the two places which the park ranger had recommended me and then I continue driving. I turn up the music and prepare myself for a long ride. I stop a few more times to takes pictures of the impressive scenery. I’m thinking: ‘if you can visit only one state in America, visit Washington’.
After driving through the mountains for a while there is another nice surprise. I see a sign called Winthrop and before I know it, I drive into an old Western town. All buildings are made of wood and so are the sidewalks. There is a saloon, a bakery, outdoor stores and tourist shops. Then I see a bookstore coffee place, my favorite combination. I walk in and get a cappuccino and some souvenirs. The lady in the bookstore tells me that there live about 500 people in town, so it’s pretty small. The town is more than a hundred years old and absolutely worth a visit. I think if I would have arrived here by night, I would have spend some time in the saloon and stayed here overnight. Now it’s the middle of the day, so I continue driving. When I drive out of town I feel like I’d like to spend some more time here, so I turn my car around and park again in the western town. Sometimes you just need some more time to experience something better. I buy an ice cream cone and sit down on a bench. Then I visit some more stores before I continue my journey.
It’s still many hours driving. The landscape changes from mountains to farm land. When I’m in Spokane, one of the most east cities of Washington, I stop to take a break. My grandma recommended me a pizza place here in town, so I go there and order a pizza to take with me on the road trip. While driving further I enjoy a delicious pizza. Crossing the state border to Idaho the gas prices get cheaper again and I’m able to get gas for under three Dollars per gallon, something I haven’t seen for weeks. I fill up my car and continue driving to Montana. When it gets dark is starts raining like I haven’t seen before on this trip. It’s hard to stay focused on the road, so I just slow down and follow another car. It’s one of the few times I drive slower than the speed limit, but of course it’s more important to arrive safely. I decide that I want to make it to Missoula in Montana tonight, so with that goal in sight I continue the road trip. Just after ten o’clock I arrive in the city and I’m tired of the long day. I tell my navigation system to find a Starbucks and there I park for the night. It was a long day, but I’ve covered a lot of distance. Driving 456 miles today has brought me all the way to Montana. Yellowstone is not far anymore, but I’ll start the day tomorrow relaxed in the Starbucks to do some working and blogging. I’ve done enough driving for now. I can use a break and will probably continue somewhere in the afternoon tomorrow.