Urban Drive

The long Easter weekend was an opportunity to visit our family inPortland. Driving south on the highway can be a boring yet quick way to do the 500 km journey. Still, diverting occasionally from the main route allows a sense of exploration. In our case this has introduced us to a few entertaining experiences.

After passing the border in a relatively quick 20 minutes we had an option to try out the Blackberry coffee house in Blaine. It was only 6:40 am and I knew that the place was already open. It was at that moment, when we kept on driving without stopping, that I reminded myself that I’d better stick to the concept of trying out new places. When you are not in a rush, taking the time to experience the landscape is a better way to make the distance.

There is though some wisdom in making the initial driving sections longer. At the start I can handle driving better than at the end of the day. Breaking the trip into too many sections might turn it into a tedious affair. So we got to Everett at about 8:30 am and drove off the highway. Taking the route to the sea front brought us to Mukilteo, a place we’ve never been before. A few questions to locals lead us to the Red Cup Cafe’. Perfect for breakfast.

The business was purchased in about 2009 by the lovely current owner who is already familiar with most of her clients. Marianne Brown has a warm, rolling laughter. If your coffee fails to wake you up, you won’t have to wait long before her voice will. The atmosphere in the place is absolutely friendly, so are the service and the food. That was a great start.

Nothing was waiting for us in Seattle so we took the I 405 to get away from potential rush hour traffic. This proved to work well. On our way back we saw warning signs for jams on the eastern route. Although the I 5 was busy the traffic flowed well. Still on the way south, we stopped at Furney’s Nursery to look at some plants.

It was when I worked in a landscape architecture office that I had the revelation that plants can be fantastic gifts. Flowers eventually wither and are thrown away. Many other gifts might be useless and end up in the dumpster. A plant on the other hand, is a living present that can grow and provide ongoing joy to its owners. So we brought a bunch of plants in small pots for to hosts in Portland for their well maintained yard.

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We made two more stops before getting to Portland at a leisurely 3:30 pm. For a quick stretch we parked beside the Country Cousin Restaurant in Centralia, where some old tractors decorate the parking lot. The 1973 built structure is styled after farmyards of an even earlier time. Then just about 100 km north of Portland we had a friendly conversation with the owners and operators of ‘Coffee Connection’, a trailer type coffee stand. Their blackberry crushed ice was a good refresher.

This post is part I of a series. To read part II click here.

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