Friday, 25 September 2009

Day 20: Chelan, WA - Wenatchee, WA

A game of two halves, Barry. Unlike Gaul, the North Cascades are only divided into two parts, viz. the east and the west sides. The east side is, at least at the moment, warm and sunny, and the mountains are a rather dull brown colour until you get high enough for the trees not to wilt in the heat. The west side is exactly as I expected, which is to say covered in fir trees, unless they're pines, and partly cloudy with a chance of rain.

But soft! I get ahead of myself. I spent a pleasant few hours yesterday evening in the pleasant company of three Canadian motorcyclists. Mike (who didn't talk much) and Dan (who did when he got the chance) are police officers and were on their way home. The other bloke, whose name I shamefully forgot e'en before bedtime, is a bearded musician without a prostate gland (who only stopped long enough to draw breath), and was taking the scenic route to San Diego. 'twas he who recommended stopping at the top of Washington Pass and Lo! He was right.

Further down the west side of the range is the Diablo Lake overlook. Lake? Check. Hydro-electric dam? Check. Mountain shaped like a tooth from a Shimano Hyperglide(tm) cassette? Check. Srsly.

Then I got lost. Not trusting the soi-disant Mountain Loop Highway to come out where I thought it might, due to its careful placement between two pages of the road atlas, I attempted to use the map to follow the route I thought I wanted, and ended up in some residential limbo twixt Granite Falls and Monroe. The TwatNav is only much use if you can feed it a street address, and if you are foolish enough to try to make one up, it will bury you deep in a maze of dead end streets, with the locals giving you and your motor-car - which, don't forget, is registered over two thousand miles away - filthy looks and probably calling the Polis into the bargain.

Finally I found US-2 and recrossed the mountains. To the west: 17 Celsius and cloudy. To the east: blazing sunshine and 37 Celsius. With it being this hot, it was clearly a Best Western day. At least, that's where I stayed in Grants Pass (36 degrees) and where I would have stayed in San Rafael (42 degrees) if the TwatNav hadn't insisted that the shopping mall car park to which it directed me was in fact an hotel of said chain.

But soft! I get ahead of myself again. On the way down from Stevens Pass lies the town of Leavenworth. Leavenworth is well over five thousand miles from Munich, yet every building in the town is in a grotesque faux-Bavarian-stylee, and I mean everything. Napa Auto Parts? Yep. Wells Fargo Bank? You betcha. The Scottish Restaurant1? Yes, even that bastion of corporate identikittedness is making like it was designed by Ludwig II. Auf wiedersehen? Not if I see you first, matey. The most serious lack of Quality encountered to date, and that's about all you're going to get about Pirsig's philosophy from me. Lila mostly passed as far over my head as a Malcolm Marshall bouncer.

And so to Wenatchee, where the Best Western exists, and Melanie the receptionist is cute, and the entire building is non-smoking chiz. There is a balcony to the room, on which one is not allowed to smoke either. But the desk and chair in the room are the best I've encountered in the last three weeks, to the extent that I'm wondering how I can smuggle the chair out of the hotel and into britain. High-backed leather executive swivel job. Nice.

Unlike Stupid Google. I ask Stupid Google to find a liquor store and a place wherein beer might be obtained. Stupid Google finds both, but neglects to note that next door to the latter is one of the former and instead directs me to one two miles away on the other side of the river.

In ten minutes I can reserve my seat for tomorrow, and then seek out food. The final instalment of this Automatic Diary will depend on jet-lag, laundry and Her Majesty The Queen.

(Returns, white-faced and fuming, from British bloody Airways webby science)  Online queue-jumping not available on ths flight.  Cockwombles, the lot of 'em!

Thought for the day: This room has a fridge. In the fridge, at least until I put my beer in it, was naught but an opened carton of Arm & Hammer Baking Soda. A quid for the most plausible answer.

1 - McDonalds

1 comment:

  1. Many gold stars for the whole write-up, loved waking up and reading the installments, while drinking a nice cup of coffee.

    Now that you've got a blog you should keep up the good work. :-)