I always get a little anxious the night before an off-road adventure. It’s that feeling a school boy gets as he walks across the hall to ask a girl to the home coming dance. You know that feeling filled with worry, anticipation and an entire world of possibilities in front of you if you can just do it.
Tomorrow I will be meeting up with a group of drivers from Pacific Northwest Backroad Adventures for the first time to explore some 4×4 trails. We will be driving the trails up to Gallaher Head Lake and exploring some old abandoned mines along the way. I have been a member of the PWBA Forum for a while, reading a number of their trip reports that sounded very interesting. When this off-road adventure popped up I jumped at the chance to go along, which bring us to tonight.
With the meet up in Round at 9:00 am I had two choices. One, get up at O’ dark thirty, catch the 5:20 a.m. ferry and drive for three hours to the Old #3 Restaurant or spend the night in Cle Elum about 10 minutes away and enjoy the evening exploring this sleepy little town. I oped to option two.
The great thing about little towns is that everyone has a story and if you ask they will tell it too you. The hotel I picked is the Timber Lodge Inn and it turns out Mia, the woman who runs the place spent time exploring Nepal. Sure Cat Stevens may have sung about Kathmandu but she had walked it streets, toured the temples, and flown over Everest’s base camp. I listened to the story as she described the sites, smell and people she met including a National Geographic Photographer. You could see the sparkle in her eyes as she retold the story and tried to paint the pictures for me that filled her mental Rolodex. Mia also knew every restaurant within miles and sent me to best pizza around. And of course she was right… Although, Mia did not mention how warm and friendly the crew there was. And when crew at Sahara Pizza saw I was eating along, they came over and kept me company, telling me their stories.
So tonight I sit on the balcony of my hotel room under the glow of a big moon writing this story, excited about tomorrow’s off-road adventure, looking forward to meeting more new friends and exploring the back roads of the Cascade Mountains. No matter what tomorrow brings, I’ve already had a great time.