It was a lovely day and I strolled the area near Tacoma’s Glass Museum and stopped to capture I-705. I was talking to my dear husband and I said the highway wasn’t built when we first moved here and he said it was. We were both right. I moved here at the end of 1989 and he moved here in the spring of 1990 because he stayed in Texas to sell our house there. The road opened between our two moves.
Last Monday dear daughter and I were traveling westbound across Washington State. I knew that I wanted to get over the I-90 Snoqualmie pass through the Cascade Mountains before 7 because I wanted the daylight and they were threatening long delays after that for avalanche control. By 6 we were stopping in Thorp. I filled up the tank and dear daughter ran into the Thorp Fruit and Antique Mall for snacks and a weather advisory. We had just passed a sign that said traction advisory and I thought that didn’t sound good. The guy in Thorp pulled up the WSDOT traffic cam for dear daughter and it did show snow falling, but he said we could make it. We had no chain or snow tires. After a few miles we had snow and soon after that it was sticking to the road. Soon we couldn’t see the road and we were down to two lanes. Trucks passing sent waves of icy snow onto my car. And then the trucks were required to chain up. Just before the summit, I passed a sign requiring traction tires, but alas no tire store to purchase them! We crept to the summit at about 30 mph and then started downhill. That was worse! Cars were fishtailing and going about 15 mph. At one point I lost control, crossed a lane and nosed into a snowbank. I looked around (thank goodness it was still daylight) and the guy behind me was also in the snowbank and the guy in front of me was all over the road. Really, at that point one has to keep going or plan to sleep in a really cold car worrying about another vehicle slamming into you. I backed up, practiced my deep breathing and kept crawling along. Finally the road cleared and suddenly it was over. The photos show the relatively flat part before it got bad.
Snoqualmie Pass began as Native American foot trails used for hunting game and gathering plants. In 1865 a wagon road was made to entice settlers to Seattle. In 1884 it became a toll road. The first car went over the pass in 1905 and by 1915 there was a new two lane road. It wasn’t until 1931 that the road was kept open all year round. In the 1950s and 1960s it was expanded to a four lane road (2 in each direction) and renamed to I-90 to be reflective to the national highway system.
I was driving around the other day and found this terrific mural 2914 East Main Avenue. It is a Trompe-l’œil style and I was tempted to drive on through to the beautiful mountain sunrise. But of course that would be a bad idea. I think the building is used as apartments. There is a sign on one of the doors that says “Due to the recent thefts, the upstairs tenant has been instructed to shoot … then call police“.
Today I stopped at the Fallen Riders Outdoor Memorial Park at South 46th Street and Yakima Avenue. I had noticed the motorcycle in the air on other occasions, but thought it was simply art. But now I know that is part of a memorial park. The best information I can find about the park is from the group’s MySpace Page, which says “Fallen Riders Outdoor Memorial (FROM) has been founded by a small group of individuals, who are compelled to provide a sanctuary for their fallen brother and sister riders, that have ridden by their side. FROM’s main mission is to have a public awareness to honor our fallen brother and sister motorcycle riders. This outdoor memorial has been designed to give awareness to non-motorcycle riders about the dangers of the road, and to create a safer environment for all to enjoy. The Fallen Riders Outdoor Memorial is located at 4600 Yakima/Thompson Ave. kitty corner from the 48th Street Pub and Eatery, Tacoma Washington.”