What I learned on my vacation

I’m just back from a vacation at Lake Chelan. I’ve always felt that vacations were a chance for learning. This vacation lived up to the challenge.

I’m just back from a vacation at Lake Chelan. I’ve always felt that vacations were a chance for learning. This vacation lived up to the challenge.

Here is what I learned.

1 Gas prices are less east of the Cascades. I was shocked when we pulled into Chelan to see gas prices a full nickel or more less than in Bellevue. Want more? In Manson, seven miles further north, they were lower still. I looked, but I couldn’t find any petroleum refineries anywhere over there.

2 You Can’t Get Away From It. This year my wife and I vacationed with our daughter and her husband. The four of us hauled along two laptops (the kids) and four cell phones (one for each of us). Each cell phone, of course, could access the Internet and so that’s what we did. Mostly, I deleted my office junk e-mail.

3 Food for thought. When you decide to stay in Vantage instead of driving home the last day, make sure you do so early in the day. By the time we checked into our motel, we found that all the restaurants (both of them) were closed for the night. The turkey sandwich from the 76 station was good, though. And the attendant was nice enough to recommend the squares of chocolate cake in the rack.

4 Blue skies do exist. I know we finally have good weather here, but it wasn’t that way when we left on vacation last week. What we had here was rain, and lots of it. But cross Snoqualmie summit and the sky lightens and – wow – it’s blue. Even days described as “partly cloudy” had lots of blue. Oh, and sun. Lots and lots of sun. Every day. After a few days I began to think this actually might be normal.

5 Blue skies can be deceiving. When you’re driving through Quincy and there’s not a cloud in the sky, those 15 drops that spatter on your windshield all at once aren’t rain. I never saw the flock of birds, but I think this counts as a dubious record.

6 Close to home. We planned this vacation long before the run up in gasoline prices. Still, the cost of gas, about $100 for over and back with a side trip to Royal City, was way under what we would have paid to fly somewhere. Northwest vacations are looking better and better.

7 Welcome home. Arriving in Bellevue on Sunday showed that things change – they get worse. When we left, gasoline was $4.21 a gallon. I see it’s now up to $4.41. I’m not sure I can afford to take another vacation.

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