I returned from D.C. on the 19th of December, had my marathon of work on the 20th, and took off on the 21st to go to Great Falls. It was an 8 hour drive, and there were some sketchy parts that go along with winter driving. On the road to Spokane, things started off great, but eventually I felt like something was wrong. I’ve been with my car for over 80,000 miles and 6 years, so I have an intimate knowledge of how it handles, and something just wasn’t right. As I headed up a small hill, I figured out exactly what was wrong. The spedometer started bouncing between 70 and 80. At first I thought it was odd, and then I realized that it was the cruise control trying to keep my speed up as the tires were slipping on ice. Realizing that the road was slippery made all the pieces fit into place and I changed my driving style immediately. The strange road conditions lasted all the way into Idaho when I got to the passes (which were surprisingly manageable).
Once I was in Great Falls, I found my sister’s apartment, and we met my mom for dinner. Afterwards, I saw a friend from high school and we caught up. We got kicked out of the Barnes and Nobles because they were closing, so we went to a nearby bar, and I realized how much I appreciate the no-smoking law in Washington. I went back to my sister’s place and hung out with her friends until late, when she kicked them out. The next morning I met mom at her apartment and we started packing all of her stuff. She was moving to Kansas to go to graduate school. She hadn’t really started packing, and she had planned to leave the next morning, so we had a lot of work to do. Fortunately, we got it all done. We picked up boxes from Katie’s job at the mall, had lunch with one of mom’s work friends, and picked up the U-Haul. In the evening, we started packing it.
Packing the U-Haul was too much fun. It was a giant game of Tetris, except the rows wouldn’t disappear. I have to admit that I did a spectacular job of packing it. Incredibly, everything fit. Even more incredibly, I had managed to save room for a table and two chairs that we were originally convinced would never make it, AND we realized that the minivan pulling the trailer was empty, so we got to take some stuff out and put it in the van. Fortunately, she made it to Kansas safely, so the packing must have worked.
I was under a time crunch with the packing, because that night I was meeting some high school friends. We got together at a place called the Sip ‘n Dip, where a large glass window views the inside of a swimming pool and mermaids occasionally swim around (yes, in Great Falls, MT. It’s odd, isn’t it?). It was nice seeing the friends. They’re doing well for themselves.
The next morning I went to breakfast with the sister and the mom, and then we parted ways; mom going East, me going West, and Katie going back to her apartment. The drive back had some excitement, this time on the pass, where it hadn’t been plowed and I couldn’t go more than 40 without sliding. I made it back to Richland safe, though. This was the 23rd.