We have been in our new home of Portland since Monday. The process of driving out was somewhat agonizing with a 1 1/2 year old, but we made it through alright. We stayed in Minneapolis for a few days to say to our friends and my mother-in-law.
We left the city Friday morning and spent that first day driving to Pierre, SD. I thought that some of the scenery in South Dakota was pretty after we crossed the Missouri River, but Pierre isn't somewhere I would enjoy living. There wasn't really much to see, and it seemed like a place definitely lacking in ethnic foods.
Saturday we left Pierre in the morning and drove until we got to the famous Wall Drug store. I wouldn't recommend stopping there unless you like overcrowed tourist traps. I was hoping to get some buffalo jerky, but what they had there was so overpriced that I couldn't justify buying any. The rest of the day Saturday was agonizingly long. We stopped at a couple spots in the Black Hills, but avoided any of the other major tourist areas. Our original plan was to stop at Mt. Rushmore, but it would have added at least 2 hours to our drive by the time we got there and took pictures. The scenery in western SD is amazing though. We crossed into Wyoming, drove through a couple hundred miles of it, then finally crossed into Montana. Southern Montana where I-90 crosses through is a huge Crow reservation. They have some beautiful land, but you can also tell that the area is pretty economically depressed. Saturday night we stayed at a hotel in Billings that had a Mongolian Grill restaurant next to it. That meal was a beautiful ending to a very long day.
Sunday was also a day of a ton of driving. We continued northwest through many more miles of Montana, and finally crossed into Idaho. Some of the elevations in the border area are pretty high and the scenery is amazing. At one point close to the border there were even snow flurries coming down from one of the mountaintops. I kept imagining how this trip would have been on the Oregon trail before modern highways lessened the grades of the mountains. We just crossed through the northern border region of Idaho where the state is only about 100 miles wide. Just after crossing the border into Washington, we stopped in Spokane. It wasn't a bad city, but we were too tired to do much after such a long time in the car.
Our final day of travel was the shortest. We left Spokane and went south and west through some of the farming regions of Washington. This is the area where they grow a lot of cherries and apples. There were also a good number of vineyards. Interestingly, most of the crops were irrigated. Apparently the thin rocky soil doesn't hold moisture well. The area along the WA/OR border along the Columbia river is also really beautiful. There are basically huge rocky cliffs that form the gorge. Once you cross the Cascade range, the climate is different and everything starts getting green. That is the thing I love most about this area. I am happiest where there are lots of trees.
Layla was pretty good throughout the whole trip. Aside from a few screaming fits when she got tired, she was entertained by reading the same books over and over again. Husband and I took turns sitting with her in the back and alternating driving. She craves constant attention and would get very angry if she was awake and no one was playing with her. I'm just glad that we're finally here.
Our new place in Portland is great. The apartment is huge, 2br, 2ba, and a small deck patio. I already got some plants for it. The only downside is that we have no furniture other than an air matress and some pillows. Oh well. We just ordered a bed, and are looking for some bookcases and other seating options. Anyone know where we can order Arabic couches online?
We have this idea of doing a majlis style sitting room with some papyrus and other pictures from Egypt and Iraq to decorate.
Any suggestions would be greatly welcomed.
Thanks for reading my insanely long post!