Washington State

Waking up to the sound of more explosions, we decided to continue our quest to pick up some travellers for the Rainbow at a quieter, inner-city location. Another Starbucks car park it was then. And while we waited for the replies and responses to our Craigslist ad to sort themselves out from maybes into definites, there were a few things needed doing to Jigsaw to make her a better passenger transportation vehicle than she already was.

First I had to finish the bike rack so we could store the bikes in their proper allotted place, out of the saloon area. Second I had to re-seal the rubber thing around the gear shift so our passengers wouldn’t slowly suffocate in noxious engine fumes. Third I had to try and get the radio going even though the antenna seems well connected and I can’t think what else could be the problem with it.

By evening, we had stocked and filled up ready for the Gathering and moved back into Seattle proper to go rendezvous with our two Tennessee-born ride-sharers.

Interstate 5 was our chosen route down to the bottom of Washington State. In and around Seattle and Tacoma, the road surface is pretty noisy and not smooth at all. The number of lanes keeps changing – usually the slow lane is somewhere in the middle – and vehicles will overtake on the left and the right in a kind of high-speed version of India. Further south, things quieten down a little. Rest stops are about 30 or 40 miles apart – otherwise you would have to turn off the highway to eat or fuel up. At our chosen rest stop there was a free coffee and biscuit place run by a Presbyterian crew. I asked them what the deal was and they said ‘we just do it to keep everyone awake while they’re driving’. Fair enough – Day 4 in the US and no enforced Bible bashing yet then.

Turned off the interstate just south of Mount St. Helen and followed a long highway that turned to just a smaller road after passing a succession of lakes and reservoir, through towns that didn’t look much more than a couple of huts and a rusting dumpster, getting smaller as it became a forest road; twisty and threading along the contours, round the hills. Sometimes just straight up the hills, in crawler gear slowly, a few cars around and stuck behind us – not quite the crowds I had imagined this close to the site.  The last junction, which should have been obvious, sent us on the wrong road up past a tatty estate car with a boat on the roof, an old pirate asleep in the front seat and a big black dog stretched out behind. This wrong road ended as far as a slough plough had got, 3 miles on, in a two foot wall of crushed ice. The growing convoy turned round and went back, one guy soliciting directions from the sleeping pirate, which were understood to be “take the other road”. We took the other road and 50 metres on was the Welcoming Crew to the 39th (or possibly 40th) Rainbow Gathering.

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