Walla Walla is in the southeastern corner of Washington State which is about 360 miles East-West and 240 miles North-South. My family lives on the western side of the Cascade Mountains, which trend North-South dividing the state into Eastern Washington (the lesser recognized ‘dry’ side where we grow most of the grapes in the state) and Western Washington (the more populated, ‘wet’ and recognized side). There are many occasions that we make the drive from our little burg here in the corner of the state over to my family. This weekend was one of those occasions with two family birthdays to celebrate. As all hands are needed until the wines are barreled and crush is declared over, my missing hands required Jason to take on all of the punch downs we have for the day I was gone. In return, my journey west included eight cases of wine, a combination of Lagana Cellars and Locati Cellars wines, to be delivered to a couple of places.
An hour and a half before daybreak we were on our way west. The sun rose behind us as we drove over sage brush spotted basalt ridges, heavily farmed in grapes, hops, various tree fruits and row crops where there is sufficient soil. The natural terrain has an austere beauty to it. Once on Interstate-90 we began climbing toward Snoqualmie Pass in the Cascades. Where the evergreen trees grow thick with the residual rain coming over the mountains we were treated to a light show of vivid rainbows! It was interesting to watch them shift with the angle of the light, a couple of seconds there were double rainbows several feet apart.
We delivered wine in Bellevue in the morning; probably not legally parked, but we were the only people on the street for the fifteen minutes we were there. Our birthday celebrations were fun, full of laughter and worth the drive. My amazing husband is already on his way to eastern Idaho this morning, so we had to return that evening. It took only five minutes to deliver the last few boxes of wine, also in Bellevue, on our way home.
The higher we climbed toward Snoqualmie Pass on this western slope the heavier the rain fell; flashing signs warned about standing water (hydroplaning problems). We were aware the snow level was predicted to be about 4500 feet, it may have been already there and dropping. The drive down the eastern side was as wet as the climb had been! All the way into Ellensburg, as we climbed the second pass, Manastash Ridge, we needed our windshield wipers on. But as we rounded a corner and crested the ridge we were dry, no more precipitation all the way home. Of course, it was well after dark when we arrived, weary but accomplished after our not-quite six-hundred mile adventure.