We found an apartment in Bellingham pretty quickly, but it will not be ready until August. A friend generously offered to let us live on his 47’ catamaran, docked at Everett marina. As soon as we were settled, I got to work our trip. Using a combination of Google Maps, Trip Advisor, and a post on Facebook about the road trip to visit the 48 contiguous states in one go, I plotted a route that would allow us cover a pretty good distance every day, using secondary roads, and having time to stop and see sights like Mount Rushmore, Yellowstone, and the Enchanted Highway. I was not able to add the World’s Largest Ball of Twine or Carhenge to our itinerary, but it was not for lack of trying.
At first, we thought we would just head for each destination and find a place to stay when we arrived – kind of like cruising around the USVI and BVI and making sure you get to the mooring field early enough to get a mooring ball. (The best entertainment is to watch everyone else scramble for a ball, while we enjoyed a cocktail.)
However, I quickly found out that high season in the area where we will be traveling is the opposite of what we are used to. In the Caribbean, it is slow during the summer – not so much here. As I called a few hotels, or checked availability on line, I quickly realized that I had to adjust my thinking. Yellowstone hotels are completely sold out, and when I called the Flamingo Motel in Coeur d’Alene (‘cause how could we not stay at the Flamingo Hotel?), they had only one room left on the night we would be driving through.
So much for spontaneity! I tried to find hotels that were (1) local, (2) pretty close to what we wanted to see or do (after driving all day, close is good), and (3) not terribly expensive. I think I did pretty well … Time will tell.