Day 1 : The Drive Begins
I woke up on the 24th morning all excited. I was still skeptical about Idaho as a destination, but I was looking forward to the road trip. I had already packed all the luggage and gear the previous day and kept them on standby at the door way.
The plan for the day involved meeting Debolina at work around 2:30 PM as her office is right next to mine, then going to Seatac airport to pick up the car where Subhadip will meet us and then start the drive from my home once I pick up the luggage.
Like how all great travel plans turn out, this one did not go as planned. Meeting debolina was delayed because of meetings and work commitments. By the time we were free, it was around 4:00 PM and by 4:30 we started for the airport – right in rush hour traffic. Subhadip somehow managed to get to the rental car facility before us and managed to work out a good deal with the car rental guys by the time we reached. However, when we were about to sign the documents, we noticed in one of the agreements that Idaho is not covered by sixt and their cars driven in Idaho would lead to extra charge. (I don’t remember exactly how much, but it was expensive).
These days, I make it a point to check rental car coverage after the experience. It could have easily escalated to a huge charge as most of our drive was to be in Idaho
This was my heart break moment, because my entire enthu for the trip was about the car and the road trip. The receptionist at Sixt was nice enough to refer us to Budget car rentals nearby. They luckily had a car of the specification we needed so we decided to take it. We were assigned a Jeep Grand Cherokee.
By the time all the formalities were done and we started from Seatac Rental car facility, we were already late – around 5:45 PM – and it started raining as well. By the time we reached my home and started from there to Spokane, time would have been around 6 30 PM. Not the best start for a road trip.
Spokane is about 300 miles (~480 kms) from home, around four and half hours drive and we were starting to get hungry and discussing about food options. While we could not come to a decision on where to stop for dinner – we were aligned on one thing – we wanted good Indian food and it should be something on the way. The best place I know which met this criteria is ‘Aahar’ Restaurant which is in the Snoqualmie area. We stopped here for dinner around 7:00 PM and after a filling dinner we got back on the road by 8:00 PM. We had a long 4 hour drive ahead of us.
The drive to Spokane was more or less uneventful. It was raining heavily when we started, but by the time we reached Ellensburg, the rain subsided. But there were patches of very thick fog on the way. Another thing I remember is that we were quite perplexed seeing an orange-ish haze on the fog as we reached Snoqualmie area. While we were discussing various theories for it, the reason turned out to be just the lights at Snoqualmie Ski and resort. We passed the rest of the time just discussing the strategy for covering the distance. After all, we had 2200 miles (3500 kms) to cover in 3 days and It would be too much for one person to drive (?). Around 12:30 PM, we reached our stay and tucked in for the night. Day 2 was where all the fun (and the pictures) are to be.