To drive or to fly? That is the question

Mike and I feel very fortunate that all our three kids and grandkids live in Washington state.

We hear other couples talk about their offspring who live on the East Coast, in Southern California or even in foreign countries. But we are blessed that our two daughters live within seven miles of each other — one in Black Diamond and the other in Maple Valley and our son lives in Spokane.

The drive to see the girls is just a little under two hours so we get to see them quite often. In fact since the beginning of November, I think we’ve gotten together at least five times.

It’s a bit further to travel to Spokane, and Tyler and his kids are quite busy so it takes a lot of pre-planning to arrange a time we can go over and visit them.

Tyler’s daughter is a freshman playing on the varsity basketball team at her high school and she also plays club volleyball. It worked out that she had a basketball game on Friday, Jan. 5, a volleyball match on Sunday Jan. 7 and another basketball game on Monday, Jan. 8. And since her brother plays in the marching/pep band we’d be able to see them both participate in fun school activities at the same time.

So several weeks ago, Mike and I decided that would be a great weekend to go over. But then the discussion started about how we would get over there.

You see, I do not like driving to Eastern Washington. It’s not that I don’t trust my husband’s driving — he’s an excellent driver, sometimes drives a little bit over the speed limit, and it’s been many, many years since he’s been in even a minor fender bender. But I do have issues with the way other people drive, especially along Highway 18 up Tiger Mountain and along Interstate 90. Apparently the 70-mph speed limit is only a suggestion because even when Mike’s speed creeps up to 75, all sorts of vehicles fly by us with the really scary ones zipping in and out between lanes, reminding me of playing Mario Cart years ago.

So driving across Snoqualmie Pass is not a relaxing peaceful trip for me, even in the summertime.

And you can totally forget about suggesting I drive (or ride) to Spokane anytime from mid-November to mid-April. Even if the forecast is for a bright, clear, sun-shiny weekend, there’s no guarantee that the snow gods wouldn’t decide to drop 18-30 inches of powdery white stuff on the highway while we were there, and then, how in the world would we get home?

So the other option is flying. And I’m not a big fan of flying.

OK to be perfectly honest, I hate flying for several reasons:

1. In my mind, there’s absolutely no logical way an airplane should be able to stay in the air;

2. I’m kind of claustrophobic and for some reason they won’t let me open a window to get fresh air during the flight. And talk about close quarters, the restroom is way too small and they frown on you leaving the door open while you’re in there. Being crammed into a seat that’s barely wide enough for my bum to fit in is not at all comfortable, let along having to share an arm rest with a total stranger.

3. And probably the hardest part for me being on an airplane, is I like to be in control of my surroundings and that’s not at all possible on an airplane.

Fortunately our family physician realizes how stressful it is for me to fly and has prescribed a very mild anti-anxiety medication to calm me down. And they seem to do the trick.

All in all, it was a great four-day weekend — lots of fun family time. Lots of volleyball, a couple of basketball games with the pep band sounding great, playing some really hilarious board games and most importantly just spending time with Tyler, his fiance, two grandkids, one dog and two cats.

And thank goodness we did fly because a crazy winter storm dropped about 20 inches of snow on the Cascades the day before we were set to come home and there’s no way anyone could have gotten me into a car to travel West across Snoqualmie Pass.

Next trip to Eastern Washington? Probably not until June or July.

Karen Barkstrom is the editorial assistant for The Daily World. She can be reached at 360-537-3925 or