In order to get out to ACTS I had to take a shuttle from the Seattle Airport to Yakima (pop 60K), the largest town in the area where I’ll be for the fall. On this 2.5 hour drive I was amazed at how drastically my surroundings changed on more than one occasion. First you’re in Seattle, a bustling waterfront urban enclave, lots of tall buildings, lots of houses, very developed, and in the distance you have Mt. Rainier, a rockin 14 thousand and some odd feet mountain. As you drive east you go through the mountain. Not wimpy mountains like we have back east (some Westerns would call them hills), but serious substantial mountains rising up every which way. Not quite as crazy as the Rockies, but they definitely represent. The foliage is a lot of evergreens, tightly packed in along the mountains, and it’s just lovely.
Continuing east the mountains give way to more rolling hills, towns are fewer and further between, and the greenery becomes less dense. It reminds me a bit of California- there’s some greenery but the ground is brown, the trees are smaller, more brush.
Then all of a sudden you’re in the dessert. Seemingly out of nowhere. We’re talking coyote and jackrabbit territory, sage brush, and sandy rolling hills. It’s unfrigginbelievable. Almost shocking to the system, since only recently you were in the mountains with green all about. I swear I didn’t see a town or a house for a solid 10 minutes. I'm not in the proverbial Kansas anymore. Then you round a bend and it's orchard central. The brown landscape is dotted with rich green spots with fruit trees of all kinds. Fruit stands and large fruit stores abound and suddenly it's this awesome contrast of the brown (burnt umber, to be more accurate for those of you who are visual people) background and the green fruit trees about you. It's pretty sweet, and unlike anywhere I've ever been, let alone live. I am so excited to explore this new state. And immediately update my facebook World Map to color in Washington as a "place where I've lived." Welcome to Washington.