Last weekend, my mom and I traveled to Snohomish, Washington to show Flash in his first dog show. I was originally hoping to travel there with Brian, but unfortunately he had to work. That left me without a traveling companion or a car, so I was incredibly grateful when my mom offered to drive up with me.
As I was already at my mom’s place in Montana, we left from there. Altogether, that made for an eight hour and three minute drive, according to Google Maps. The trip itself ended up being a little longer of course, since we stopped at several rest stops along the way, as well as a brief break at my house in Cheney and a small detour to visit Brian at work.
My absolute favorite part of the drive was going over Snoqualamie Pass, simply because the scenery is so breathtaking. Driving the pass itself was also quite the adventure, mostly because of the road work that we had to make our way through.
At around Ellensburg, LED light-up road signs began showing up, telling us that trouble was ahead. According to the signs, rock blasting was to take place from 7:00 pm to 8:00 pm along a stretch of the pass–effectively closing the pass to all travelers.
As these things tend to work, seven o’ clock was, of course, our ETA for reaching the pass. Almost immediately, my mom picked up the speed, pushing the limits of what was legally possible. The amusing part, was that every driver around us seemed to be doing the same.
Along the way, we reached a point of the road where one lane–just one– of the three-lane interstate split off from the other two lanes, due to more roadwork. There were no signs warning of this, and when the split occurred we were sucked up into the black hole of a wandering road, meandering around curves and over ridges with no clue whether we were still part of the actual interstate or not. My mom and I both were panicked for a good fifteen minutes. Had we gotten off on some random exit? Were we venturing down a side road, never to return? We had know way to know. It was with a sigh of relief that our road finally joined its siblings, and we continued our journey back on track.
Luckily, my mom’s fast driving paid off and we made it to the pass before the rock blasting started. We squeezed through just in time and carried on in our trek.
The dog show took place at the Cascade Air Park in Snohomish, WA. Snohomish is a cute little town with darling views to boot. Everything was green–as everything in western Washington always is–and little farms dotted the countryside. I was hoping for a chance to get out and take pictures, but unfortunately that wasn’t able to happen.
Flash did really well in his classes, considering this was his first show. He was kind of a wiggle-worm, wouldn’t stack quite right, and wanted to play with all the other dogs, but that didn’t stop him from taking home a first place in the Bred by Exhibitor competition on our second day. That’s pretty impressive, considering he was the youngest entry at the show.
Did I mention I wasn’t able to take any pictures while we were out and about? Well, here’s why. I was stung in the foot. And bitten. By the same hornet. Did you know that yellow jackets have stingers that they leave behind, just like bees? I sure didn’t.
We were walking around in downtown Snohomish, looking for a bookstore so I could leave a few of my books there on consignment. As we rounded the corner to a store, I felt a sudden sharp pain in my foot. At first, I ignored it. But when the pain increased, I looked down to see what was wrong. A yellow jacket had attached himself to my foot, just below the strap of my sandal. As I danced around in a frantic attempt to fling him off, he crawled down the side of my big toe, leaving his stinger pulsating and embedded in my skin, and as his guts stretched out behind him, settled in to bite me on the side of my foot. By the time he flew off–undoubtedly to go die somewhere–I could barely walk.
I hobbled as far away from the scene of the crime as I could, and then set myself in a chair to take of my sandal and assess the damages. My mom scraped the still pulsating stinger out of my toe, and went off to a nearby store to find some ice. The pain increased and increased. After several minutes, my toe had swollen so much that I couldn’t even put my sandal back on–it didn’t fit.
I have a slight allergy to yellow jacket stings, something I realized several years ago after my entire leg swelled up from one bite. It’s called a “large local reaction” and is different from a systemic reaction–the type you get an EpiPen for–in that it is not life threatening and only affects the area around the sting. That being said, it is extremely painful. My toe continued to swell for the next three days, and by the end of it, my entire foot and part of my ankle was hot, painful, and puffy.
Flash seemed to sense my pain. As I was lying on the couch, he brought me his toys, one-by-one, and tucked them next to my leg. Then he laid down on the ground next to me and took a nap. Cutie.
We stayed in the nearby town of Monroe, WA because Snohomish didn’t have much to offer in the way of lodging. The hotel we stayed at was interesting to say the least. At a hundred dollars a night, it was the cheapest place we could find that did not have terrible reviews. That being said, if you are ever visiting Snohomish or the surrounding area, I really cannot recommend staying at the Fairground Inn.
To start, when we first arrived we were unable to check-in for a good twenty minutes because the door to the main office was shut and locked (even though a lit-up open sign stood in the window). When the manager finally showed up, we were told there was an extra twenty dollar a night fee for having a dog–and were then charged twenty-two dollars a night. On top of that, we were warned that any messes made by said dog would add an extra $150 charge to our total. Needless to say, we kept a careful eye on Flash the entire weekend.
The room itself was only okay. The bed was comfortable enough, though basic, and there was an old and torn black couch against one wall with cushions smushed up like a lunch bag sandwich you’d forgotten about and sat on. The carpet was uneven, and the floor in the bathroom strangely tacky. When I first dropped my head to the pillow on my side of the bed, I found myself wondering if I should have covered it with a jacket or something first.
The hotel had a “weekly rate,” which meant it was filled with an interesting crowd. One woman had lined her hotel room window with plaques about Pomeranians and tiny bobble-head hula dancers. A walk down the balcony between rooms smelled like cigarette smoke and sweat. Many of the patrons had their doors propped open, and fat old men lounged in chairs with their shirts off and beers in their hands. Younger people hung out in the parking lot, all day and all night. When I brought the dog out to the bathroom one night, my mom asked me to take my cellphone with, just in case.
The icing on the cake came at about 9 pm in the form of a long, floorboard shuddering horn. The hotel was located about a hundred feet from a train track.
We got sushi the second night at a tiny restaurant across the street from our hotel. I saw several of these sushi joints in the area, so I think they may belong to some sort of chain. The food was quite affordable, and actually very good. Cheap sushi tends to be flavorless or warm, but this was neither. In fact, the rolls we bought were nice to look at, and had a deep, sharp flavor which I would have expected from a higher end place. The bowl of brown rice we ordered as a side made me wonder why I’ve never liked brown rice before. If you are looking for an affordable option in the Snohomish area, I’d definitely give this sushi joint a try.
Because of my injured foot, we weren’t able to get out and explore the area like I had hoped. I did however, find several things to do in Snohomish (or nearby) that would be worth checking out.
- There is a Kangaroo Farm in the (relatively) nearby city of Arlington. Don’t ask me what a kangaroo farm is, but it certainly sounds fun!
- Blueberry picking also seems popular in the area. And who doesn’t want some nice fresh blueberries? I found two different farms in Snohomish, the Mountain Blueberry Farm, and the Blueberry Blossom Farm.
- I also found two hot air balloon companies that operate out of Snohomish. I’ve always wanted to ride in a hot air balloon, so this in particular may be something that brings me back! Check out the Airial Balloon Company, and Over the Rainbow.
On our way home, we took a slight detour to stop by Snoqualamie Falls. I’ve never been there before, and now that I’ve seen it, I would say it is a must visit for anyone traveling through Snoqualamie Pass. Normally the falls have a lot more water in them than they did this time (I’ve seen some amazing pictures), but they were still breathtaking. Also, staying at the Salish Lodge, the brown building seen to the left of my head on the top picture, is definitely on my bucket list now.
Overall, our trip was filled with a lot of tiny adventures. It was definitely one that I will remember for a long time. In the end, it was the less than perfect–and sometimes downright painful–moments that made this trip one to remember and filled my imagination with countless stories to tell.
Have any of you ever been to Snohomish, or to the surrounding area? Let me know about it in the comment section below!