AndyO Blog

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

The ultimate fireworks

We drove back from Bend, Oregon, on July 4 after 8:00 p.m. The reason for this was Drew; we figured if he slept, it would be worth it to drive through the night. And drive through the night we did.

We left the last function of the reunion at 8:30, but then Cameron lost his Game Boy. So I went in and looked all over my uncle's house, only to find the Game Boy back in the car. Cameron was happy. And all was good.

Next, we stopped at McDonald's for dinner. Brenda changed Drew in the restroom, while Cam and I ordered the food. It's strange, we've all grown to expect fast food restaurants to be open on holidays, but McDonald's was the only one in Redmond, OR.

Then we started the long drive back to Seattle along 97, across desolate plains painted pink by a breathtaking sunset. As it got darker, fireworks started to explode in the sky. We drove through towns with names like Erskine, Moro, and Thornberry. The kids had fallen asleep long ago, and Brenda was struggling to stay awake.

In Biggs Junction, we used the restroom at a "Super McDonalds" (which means it was a convenience store and a McDonalds) and I bought wiper fluid and glass cleaner. Driving through that desert landscape at night had splattered my windshield with a coating of bugs, and I spent 10 minutes wiping off the glass.

As I was working on the windshield, I talked to a family whose car got a flat only 50 miles from home. They had a 1-year-old baby with them. They said he was sleeping until right before the tire went flat. I always think it's amazing how parents from all different backgrounds will start talking the way we did; it's something I call the "Parent Club." Only another parent truly understands why you're driving home in the middle of the night--on a holiday no less.

After we said our goodbyes and wished the family luck, we drove across the Columbia River on 97 on our way to Goldendale. This is when I noticed the massive thunderhead in the distance, glowing white and orange with internal lightning strikes every few minutes. As we continued to drive, we seemed to get closer to those clouds, and the interval of lightning flashes increased to every 10 seconds. I'd never seen anything like it. I wanted to wake up Brenda, but she was fast asleep.

When we finally drove through Yakima at well past midnight, the thunderhead now in my rearview mirror, the locals were out in droves shooting off some of the biggest fireworks displays I've ever seen. I thought that that the folks in Yakima must be the most patriotic souls in the U.S. to be shooting off fireworks after midnight!

At one point we drove past the tragic result of too many fireworks on any Fourth of July -- a huge fire. Firetrucks were racing by us from every angle, and when I pulled over (as you're supposed to) Brenda woke up. Fortunately, the kids didn't wake up.

We pulled into Seattle around 3:00 a.m., the car driving on fumes. While I carefully cleaned my windshield in Biggs, I didn't fill up the tank -- and when I filled up the car the next day, we only had 1/2 gallon left.
posted by AndyO @ 7:59 PM   2 comments