So it turns out that the forest fires I mentioned as causing the sky to be smoky in yesterday's post are right astride the routes I planned to take through the state of Washington tomorrow, and all the roads I'd planned to use are closed indefinitely. And this in a part of the world where there are no alternative routes to speak of. So I spent some time last night figuring out how to deal with it, and decided I would continue on my original plan until I reached Sandpoint, Idaho this evening, then cut down to Spokane and head on in to Seattle, getting there a few hours earlier than planned.
I got about 12 miles from Great Falls before the incredible acridity of the air forced me to put the top up, despite the wonderful temperature; and even with the top up, the stench was still unbearable and the visibility was so reduced that mountains a few miles away appeared ghostlike in the haze. I pulled off the road and got out the maps and decided that I would just cut south, to get out of the smoke, and head west on the freeway. The freeway! Yecch! But that's what I did, the upshot being that I got to Seattle (Sea-Tac, actually) today, and now have three nights here instead of two. Also, since so many people have evacuated central Washington (and come here, apparently), all the cheap hotels I'd been looking at on line have now disappeared, and where before I was looking at about $60/night, I'm now paying just over $100. Probably for the same hotel, which is all but full. Every cloud has a silver lining; this cloud of smoke has a silver lining for hoteliers west of the fires.
Need I mention that there was nothing worth stopping to take a picture of along the way? (I did, actually, take one photograph, of a wildfire on top of a low mountain, but I haven't uploaded it yet & probably won't until another day.
Now I have to figure out what to do with myself for two full days here. (I do have a plan of sorts.)