We will soon be on the road again. The Sun-Seeking Smiths are heading east and south across Washington State, looping down into northeastern Oregon and back again. Joel's the driver and I read the maps.
We’ve been studying our trusty maps -- those wonderful paper fold-up types that allow the voices in our heads -- and not a mechanical one -- to determine our routes. We don't leave home without them.
Yes, before you tell us. . . we realize a GPS could do the thinking for us and get us there by the quickest and most direct route (and we know many of you love them). But on our road trips the journey is as important as the destination. So determining the route is half the fun of the trip for us.
We’ll head east and spend a night or two in the state’s second largest city, Spokane, the metropolitan hub of an area long known as ‘The Inland Empire’. We’ll head south on a portion of the old Inland Empire Highway as it meanders through agricultural land and the small towns like Spangle and Rosalia scattered among the fields.
Our Oregon destination is the Wallowa-Whitman National Forest.
We will stay at one of our favorite Northwest places: Wallowa Lake Lodge. We celebrated our anniversary there three years ago. We’ll do the same this year.
Our return trip may include a stop in Pendleton, Oregon, where we will go underground on a history tour or to its famed woolen factory. . .or maybe to Walla Walla for a night in the heart of Central Washington’s wine country.
We’ve got little structure to this trip – we are leaving ourselves open to some new discoveries along the way. I’m sure those old paper maps have some in store for us.