People keep telling me I should take the truck when I go out on trips. It's newer. It's bigger. Probably safer. Blah blah blah. You see, I have this '87 Subaru that I just can't retire. I've taken that poor wagon places most cars would refuse to go, and put it through hell. But every time I do, it's like the Energizer Bunny. It just keeps going and going.
I installed a newer engine in it a couple of years ago and people told me it was a waste of money. They were probably right but I did it anyway. The old girl has power steering, a really tight turning radius, and dual-range 4WD. I just can't find the heart to get rid of it.
AB staff won't ride in it. They say it smells like old campfire smoke. Of course it does. It's been around more campfires than a Boy Scout troop.
I like roughing it, but I take a few items along for comfort. There's a power station that recharges from your car by running the engine. I use it to power a stereo, a TV-DVD combo, the laptop. When you go camping by yourself it can sometimes get a little boring after dark. Working on a book, or someone else's book, is a good enough excuse as well.
During the day I gather firewood, take day hikes, and look for good photo ops. On one of my all-time favorite trips, I reached a high spot in the Olympics and I was able to see from North Seattle all the way to Tacoma.
It was the Fourth of July.
You know what this means. As soon as it got dark, I watched tens of thousands of people set off fireworks along Puget Sound from Seattle to Tacoma. I saw the Ivar Fireworks and the Commencement Bay show in Tacoma - AT THE SAME TIME.
The best view in Washington State that you can reach by driving could be Darland Mountain outside of Yakima. You can drive up to about 7,000 feet there (in summer only) and see from Mount Hood in Oregon to Mount Baker in the northern part of Washington. This is a distance of about 250 miles, and you can view the entire Cascade chain. This means you get to see, at the same time, Hood, Adams, St Helens, Rainier, Glacier Peak, Mount Baker, and the Goat Rocks Wilderness.
You should go there next summer. It's east of Yakima. Just follow the Ahtanum road and use a map. You can't miss it.