On the Road

Spontaneous opportunities are not really my thing. As you may know, I like to have structure and things planned out well in advanced and am sometimes very rigid about veering off my set schedule.

When Hunter asked me on Monday if I wanted to road trip with him to Missoula, Montana, for his marathon, I hesitated. I let the idea sit for a day then decided to commit on Tuesday. On Thursday afternoon I found myself in the car road tripping to Missoula with Hunter and Liz. No looking back; just the open road ahead of us.


The plan was to drive to Spokane for dinner and a break, then continue on to Priest Lake in northern Idaho, where we'd stay in a friends cabin for two nights. We'd leave Saturday morning for Missoula and run/watch the marathon Sunday morning, pack up and head back to Seattle the same day. An ambitious itinerary, no doubt.

I LOVE road trips. Like I mentioned before, you're just on the open road. Everyone is excited for each destination and places we'll stumble upon along the way. The car ride is filled with laughter, banter, sass, car games, and a backseat full of snacks.

On the first leg, Hunter drove, Liz navigated, and I was snack distributor/back seat driver, two of my specialties. The scenic drive through Washington offered everything from towering Cascade mountains and curvy roads to wind turbines and desolate farmland. We saw it all.


We even made a few friends on the road....sort of....they were fellow drivers who we "raced" with aka would pass and they somehow try to catch up to us. I can't quite articulate everything that occurred in the car ride....but I can summarize it in a few hashtags:

#haydistributor   #byeeeeeeeeee   #plaiddad  #unporductivelanechange   #towerclimbers   #continentaleaters   #paralleltrucks

Now whenever we say one of these phrases, we bust out in laughter.

Stretching our legs in Spokane never felt so good....except for the fact that it was nearly 100 degrees. Basically, we started sweating when we opened the car door. We met up with one of Hunter's friends for dinner at Veraci Pizza which had the perfect patio view of the Spokane River Centennial Trail and downtown Spokane.


Delicious pizza, but eating outside has its consequences and we needed to cool off. I mean you know me, it was ice cream time! Not going to lie, dinner was excellent! Post dinner ice cream, eh not so much. Let's just say that it's no Molly Moons, but the experience is a funny story now.


We hopped in the AIR CONDITIONED (praise the lord) car and went up to Priest Lake in Idaho. As weaved our way through Sasquatch territory (that one is for you dad!) we jammed to throwback music and arrived at the quaint cabin as the sun set. I don't know if it was the long day in the car or the fact we had made it to our destination, but we jumped out of the car like it was on fire and ran down to the dock to enjoy the view. Absolutely breathtaking. I mean what a moment.


The next day we chilled and vegged out. It was perfect. I woke up early as I usually do and went outside to the patio to catch up on some reading. Hunter and I made a quick trip to the local store to grab some eggs and milk for breakfast. I got started on coconut pancakes while Hunter and Liz set back out for the store again and came back with a movie to watch later. I must say we did and excellent job on breakfast.


Afterwards, we cleaned up and went outside to play Scattergories (which I won!!) and lounge on he dock. The neighbors' dogs also wanted to hangout with us so we entertained them by playing fetch.


The next morning we were on the road again and heading to Missoula. We were all a bit worried about the on and off again rain since 1) this was the first precipitation we've seen in weeks (yeah it's been pretty dry in Seattle) and 2) no one brought proper attire (aka raincoats or long pants all we had were shorts). Thankfully, the weather held out for us.


First stop was the race expo which for some reason was outside but we picked up Hunter's gear and explored a bit of Missoula which is super cute! For lunch we grabbed burritos and pizza after asking multiple people for restaurant recommendations.


Next up was Big Dipper Ice Cream, and iconic ice cream shop in the U.S. serving up some huckleberry ice cream. What an experience that was: the ice cream itself and us eating it. Let's just say that we were a complete giggling mess and it was one of the highlights of the trip.


Motels. You've gotta love them. They're supposed to supply the basics and it was only for one night so we could deal. Plus, I think small town motels are way different than city motels because they have more hospitality. At least that's what we thought before we saw our room. Now I'm not complaining at all, we had a spanking deal and it was obvious that it had been redesigned, but the queen size bed took up a majority of the room and it was one of the funniest things I'd ever seen. We laughed at how small the room was when we opened the door.

We were pooped. We all laid on the queen sized bed curled up in balls in our own separate corners, then watched High School Musical 3, a true classic. Another early bedtime since we were waking up at 4 am to get prepped for the marathon. I should clarify that Hunter was the only one running, Liz and I were there to support him and be his cheerleaders. I set up my make shift bed on the floor since Hunter had to race and Liz was doing a lot of driving.

Morning rolled around and Hunter was up to go. He left early to get the shuttle to the start line. Liz and I hopped in the car and tried to stake out our spots to cheer which was quite the struggle with our map, but we made it to the 4 mile mark. Liz chalked the course with "GO HUNTER" and we waited for him to pass by.


At mile 4 he looked GREAT! Once he whizzed past, Liz and ran to the car to meet him at the 8 mile mark where once again he looked awesome running at about a 6:30 pace.


After running around the course, we decided to stake our spot at the finish line which was a complete mad house since some of the half marathoners were finishing. Liz and I realized we were on the wrong side and had to make it to the other side of the course to see Hunter finished. There was a lot of scrambling but we saw him sprint to the finish with an AMAZING time of 2:49:10, beating the course record for the Men's 19 and under age group and a qualifying time for the Boston Marathon. It was honestly one of the coolest things to watch and one of the most exhilarating experiences. It was exciting to see Hunter achieve his goal after preparing months in advance for this moment.


Of course after the race he was completely tired. I mean that's to be expected after running 26.2 miles. We ate a quick brunch and checked out of the hotel and were on the road back to Seattle. We made a quick pitstop in Spokane again to stretch our legs, grab a snack and ride a carousel. Casual really.


It was a full car day though. But what got us through it was listening to Hollaback Girl on repeat a majority of the way back. This pit stop view of the gorge  wasn't bad either.


I'm very grateful that I was able to go and spend it with two great friends. We had SO many laughs and made countless memories. Trips like this remind me how lucky I am for all of these opportunities and for the people who are currently in my life. I'd just like to say thank you (you know who you are)! Truly and unforgettable weekend.

4 days. 3 states. 2 awesome friends. 1 marathon & Boston qualifying time.