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Heartwarming Small-Town Romances and Thrilling Mysteries

Continuing the tale of our Idaho and Washington trip, Hubby drug me away from Boise and headed northwest to Ellensburg, Washington. It’s just northwest of Yakima which will play a role in this story. We haven’t traveled in Washington much, so the roads and small towns are not familiar to us. We looked for a free road map of the state but with GPS, who needs it? Apparently, that’s what the usual places to find one must be thinking because we couldn’t find a Washington state map anywhere.

We met Hubby’s cousin at a very comfortable AirBnB that backed up to the Palouse to Cascades State Park Trail. It’s a rail-trail that runs from the Columbia River in the middle of the state to the west side of the Cascade Mountains. Parts that draw bicyclists to the trail are the 2-1/2-mile-long tunnel through the crest of the Cascades, the high trestles, and the over-mile-long bridge across the Columbia River. It’s like waving candy in front of a toddler.

Hubby and Cousin took off from the AirBnB the first morning to ride the stretch from Ellensburg to Beverly, a small town by the bridge over the Columbia. I was to meet them there that afternoon. I relaxed at the cottage, gave a presentation about the writing life over a Zoom call, and read a book. When it was time, I got in my little truck and set the GPS for Beverly. It immediately took me down two dead-end streets while trying to find the interstate. I should have known it wouldn’t get better after that.

The GPS directed me to turn south toward Yakima. Off I went, enjoying the ride until we got within 5 miles of Yakima and it all of a sudden started telling me to turn around. What??? I would have given my kingdom (if I had one) for a paper map to see where Beverly was. So I got my phone out and set it for Beverly. It also told me to turn around.

About that moment, I got a call from Hubby asking where I was. When I said almost to Yakima, he asked me why I was going south when I needed to be going east. He told me to go east. He did? He remembered it; I didn’t.

I turned around and went back and when I hit the interstate, I turned east. It was another 30 miles or so to get to the river. I was beginning to wonder if it had changed course. I finally topped a hill and the mighty river was just below. I saw a small bridge to the right of the interstate bridge. That was it. I found my way to Beverly (basically a gas station with a few houses around). I parked on one side of the station and got my cell phone out. No coverage. The other side was shady so I moved my truck to take advantage of that. Lo and behold, there stood Hubby and Cousin with their bikes. I was only an hour late, but at least I’d found them.

The next day, we went west on the interstate, over Snoqualmie Pass and down the other side a little way. We found the dropping off place where it was spitting rain. On our drive over, they wondered if the tunnel was open, but notice came through that the long tunnel was being opened for the first time that day. Talk about timing!

They’d given me detailed instructions on how to find Rattlesnake Lake where I was to pick them up. I don’t blame them for not trusting me. They took off and so did I.

I easily found Rattlesnake Lake, a beautiful state park with walking trails around it. I walked around some, then read a good book in the occasional sprinkles that came over. I waited there for what seemed like forever. Since there was no cell service there either, I drove back down the hill to where I could see if I had messages or anything. Nothing. By the time, I got back to the parking lot, they were riding around looking for me. My timing was off, but I wasn’t as late as the day before.

They said the tunnel was amazing and loved going through it. They both had good rain gear, so the intermittent showers and mist didn’t bother them. We went back to the same drop-off place, and they went down the other side.

Again, with good instructions, I found the place we were going to meet. It was an old railroad station that had been converted into a BBQ place. We got there about the same time. Success at last! The place had great food, and they had fun watching other bikers go by.

Cousin had to go back to work the next day, so Hubby and I went to northern Idaho to the Trail of the Coeur d’Alenes. Hubby took me along the route he was going to ride and pointed out where to meet him along the way. I’m glad he did. The following day, he took off, and I met him in those places…until the last stop. I stopped for lunch and ice cream along the way. It put me behind schedule, and I was late to our next-to-last stop. By then, it was starting to rain harder, so he called it a day without finishing the final five miles.

Moral of the story: Provide me with a paper map or detailed instructions if I’m going somewhere. And make sure I have time for meals and dessert. I’m a good support driver if I have those things and a good book.

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