Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Day 75: Winds in the Land of Potato

 Seattle Bound, Day 4:
full disclosure: this was from the other day when I first
Idaho and 'ready for potatoes'
 I woke up in Missoula, fresh faced and late check-out requesting, because when life hands you the opportunity to upgrade your dwellings for free, you take as much advantage of that as possible. I had breakfast, got together the laundry I had done the night before (having recently discovered that most hotels have laundry facilities), stuffed as many coffee creamers in my pockets as possible and was on my way. I poked around town for a bit to have a look around, as I had wanted to do the night before, prior to having the pleasure of meeting George (and learning from experience and Tyler, that Missoula has a bad drug and homeless problem). Then it was time to head west.

The drive was uneventful for the most part, until I drove back into Idaho - now in the panhandle - and the wind began. Someone had told me to stop by Ceour D'Alene and, about 30 minutes out from the small, lakeside town, I was on a mountain pass, being thrown side to side by intense winds. What was more concerning were the tractor trailers being visibly tossed about on the elevated highway. By this point, it was getting dark and the rain was beginning to fall. I stopped for gas to assess my options; hotels in the area were too much and were not on the docket for the evening, even though I had scored a free room last night. I was still aiming for the Wal-Mart in Ceour D'Alene, even though it wasn't safe to be driving anymore. I was only about 30 minutes away from my goal for the night. I decided to push forward.

wind is mean and i don't like it.
75 ... that explains the tractor trailers...

When I arrived in Ceour D'Alene, the town was a disaster. I had been driving for five hours and spent the next three going no more than three miles. 70% of the stop lights - in a town FULL of lights - were out from the storm; branches were in the road; trees were down. I pulled into a parking garage thinking I could park there for the evening, but while they had free parking that night, I couldn't decide if I would have to pay to get out in the morning. Additionally, the parking garage, though a massive structure, was swaying in the wind, which made me nervous, it was full of cameras, and I couldn't figure out where I could use a bathroom if I used this as a camp.

I pulled back out and tried - again - to get to the Wal-Mart. I sat in traffic for another 40 minutes and went maybe seven blocks. I turned right...again. I found a Safeway, but it was patrolled, not 24 hours, and in a residential area, meaning, again, I'd have no 'toilet.' I  pulled back out into traffic, but refused to go towards the Wal-Mart where all of the lights were out. Ironically, the lights in 'old town,' near the river, were all in service.

I got so frustrated that I was still in the car three hours after arriving in my destination, that I gave in and paid $45 for a damn room in old town. It looked really shady, but the Expedia reviews were well enough. By this point I was also starving, it was pouring rain and still windy as shit and I was unwilling to shuffle around my car to figure out something to eat. I drove down to get a burger from a food truck. Best $8 of the day. I then settled in for the night - for the second time (since Route 66) in room 111. Good luck or angels or something - but this number appears a lot since I left (prior to leaving, I often saw 444. A sign of death in Asian cultures) so I took that as a good sign despite the bad evening.

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