When most people think of Washington State they immediately bring to mind Seattle, constant rain, and copious amounts of coffee. While all of these are iconic to Washington, the vast majority of the state lies on the "other side" of the Cascade Mountain range, and over here on the dry side, things can get a little bit different.
The coffee, however, is not optional.
So grab your double tall and wander with me across that stunning, snow-capped barrier and into the rest of Washington. Keep your eye on the horizon. As soon as we pass that summit, we're on fire watch. While the west side enjoys a hearty daily sprinkling, in central and eastern WA, dry is the theme of the day. From the pine forests of Cle Elum to the wide grasslands of the Columbia Basin, wild fire is a real and present danger.
Today the skyline is clear and we travel though some of the signature sunshine this side enjoys almost year round. The days are golden, and so long as we're not aflame, the journey can continue south, through the wine country of the Yakima Valley to where the Maryhill Museum and Stonehenge monument keep watch over the Columbia river, boasting some fantastic views along with art, wine, and a full sized replica of Stonehenge. (link to https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Maryhill_Stonehenge)
Or perhaps we could head in the opposite direction, north along Hwy. 2 to the Methow Valley and the North Cascades Highway where the town of Winthrop recreates the Old West for a steady stream of tourists. The ranchers in the Methow run range cattle up into the hills for grazing in the summer months. Watch the roads for stray cows, bears, or even one of the area's elusive wolves.
Provided, however, you continue in an easterly fashion, you are liable to end up in my neck of the woods. The middle of the state, the dry scrubland of the Columbia basin with its towering basalt columns, alkaline lakes, and miles and miles of dry sage. Here you will find world famous Soap Lake, home of healing waters and mud prized the world over. The banks of Soap lake often sport petitioners seeking the benefits of the black, sticky mud...covered in it, in fact, and basking happily in the sunshine. (soap lake link: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Soap_Lake)
I'm near there somewhere, wandering the desert and looking for stories. From the petroglyphs to the pothole lakes and the ancient caves at Lake Lenore, for a rock hound like myself, the area is almost irresistible.
Except for the fires, of course. After only a few months in my home here, I looked out the window one afternoon and found a wall of flame rushing across the grasslands. Four fires later, we've been very lucky, and still, I spend too many days checking the windows now, watching that horizon. The rain, it turns out, does have its benefits.
Which is where my Kundalis dragons come from, I suppose. The fires all summer long, the forces of nature, all factors bound to work their way into a local's fiction.
My dragons battle in the shadow of those Cascade Mountains, and if you leave a comment on the blog, I'll draw two winners at random for electronic copies of the first book: Storm Dragon.
About this author: Frances Pauli writes across multiple genres. Her work is speculative, full of the fantastic, and quite often romantic at its core. Whenever possible, she enjoys weaving in a little humor. Once upon a time she was a visual artist, but she's since come to her senses. Now she fills her miniscule amount of free time with things like crochet, belly dance and abysmal ukulele playing. She lives in Central Washington State with her husband, two children, a pair of hairless dogs and five tarantulas.
Social Media Links:
Amazon author page: amazon.com/author/francespauli
Youtube page: https://www.youtube.com/user/FrancesPauli/videos