Eastern Washington State has a desolate and barren beauty to it. For someone like me who grew up in an area with trees, plenty of moisture and green plants everywhere, sometimes I have to look a little harder to see the beauty. But it is there. Like this little oasis of a homestead in the middle of dry, dusty fields.
We took the less traveled roads on our way to Portland. It added time onto our journey, but was far more interesting then our usual route through the Tri-Cities. From Spokane, we hopped on Rte 195 south through to Spangle and Rosalia. Then we meandered along back roads towards Walla Walla (where they grow the best onions ever!). The route was punctuated with tiny towns. Like St John (population 558) which boasts "clean sidewalks and nice neighbors." If you've ever stepped on gum or dog poo on a sidewalk, you'll know that this is an excellent selling point for any town. Or Malden (population 203), where you feel like you've stepped back in time. Or Pine City, a near ghost town with a population too small to count.
We're coming up on elections in the States. There are posters everywhere, even in small towns. On the shed below, you can just make out a sign which says Elect Suess. When I saw this, I got so excited. Dr Seuss was running for public office! Finally, someone with common sense was putting their name forward! There was hope for American politics after all. The Sneetches were going to be sorted out once and for all. (Remember the star-on and star-off machines?) Then I realized it said "Suess" not "Seuss". My hopes were dashed.
I love looking at all the old buildings along the way and imagining what they were like in their heyday.
If you like old signs, there are some great ones in Eastern Washington. I particularly like the colors in the 7-Up sign. It would make a great retro t-shirt.
There was a great old "rip proof overalls" sign in Endicott, right next to the library. We've seen these signs before in our travels in North Idaho. The wind was blowing so hard that I thought the library sign would fly off the building.
As you drive through this part of the country, you breathe in the dust, watch the tumbleweed scamper across the road and wonder how anything grows in this place. But it does. Life always seems to manage to find a way. Even in the most desolate and barren of places.
Have you ever driven through Eastern Washington? Did you visit some of the towns along the way? Could you live in a place like this with dust storms and tumbleweed?
Drive on 11 October 2014