There’s nothing like the west to make you feel small. Big mountains. Big sky. Big states. Anne and I drove 425 miles, the vast majority of which was spent crossing Washington. On the East Coast a drive that long would get you at least five or six states away from home.
In addition to being large, Washington is diverse. We left the coast in the dark, passed through Snoqualmie Pass at dawn and then crossed the Columbia River. There, huge cliffs of basalt rock rose up around us, remnants of a glacier that passed through millions of years ago.
From there the land got broad and flat. We passed windmills and feed lots, grain elevators and llamas. Time went kind of slowly. We told stories and listened to Radiolab, drank coffee, and snacked. I took a lot of iphone pictures.
We made a brief pit stop in Moscow, Idaho to pick up some family (and eat some meatballs) and then headed Southwest to Joseph, Oregon, on one of the most spectacular drives of my life. I saw a herd of white tail deer perched on a hillside, a mule deer crossing the road, and a huge herd of elk resting in a field. We drove through canyons, past fly fishermen, and into the sunset.
Fun fact: Anne and I are both prone to food fears, an irrational worry that we’ll run out of food and starve. This means we are always laden with snacks, whether headed out for a run or on a multi-day excursion. This trip was no different. The night before we took off (and after supper at The Walrus and the Carpenter), I suddenly decided that we didn’t have enough food for the trip, so I whipped up a batch of no-bake oatmeal cookies while Anne was in the shower. I bought some of these at a bakery during another recent road trip and they were so good I looked up a recipe when I got home. With just a few basic ingredients, making them is no big deal. By the time Anne was towel-drying her hair, I had these babies cooling on wax paper and was washing the dishes. Food fears quashed.
We munched on them as we drove past ranches and fields on our way to Oregon, carbo-loading for our upcoming adventure. Though they look like cow patties, the salty/sweet combination makes them kind of irresistible.
No-bake oatmeal cookies
1 stick butter
1.5 cups sugar
4 tablespoons cocoa powder
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup smooth peanut butter
1 tablespoon vanilla
1/2 teaspoon salt
3.5 cups oatmeal
Combine butter, sugar, cocoa, and milk in a medium-sized saucepan, and set over medium heat until butter is melted. Stir to combine and then remove from heat. Add peanut butter, vanilla and salt and stir until smooth. Mix in oatmeal and combine well. Drop by 1/4 cup onto wax paper and flatten slightly. Let cool completely before storing. Makes 18 cookies.