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It wasn’t Bullwinkle or a mascot

A GRIP ON SPORTS

On the way across the state last night for a weekend in Bellevue, we made one mistake and it almost cost us more than just an hour of our time. Read on.


••••••••••

• Kim and I left Spokane after she got off work yesterday, which means we got out of town a little before 5 p.m. After stopping in Moses Lake for a quick bite to eat, the big old diet soda I drank forced another pit stop at the rest area west of Ellensburg. Big mistake. The few minutes spent there meant we arrived at the Interstate 90 blasting zone at 8:05. And had to stop with no more than 10 cars in front of us. Yep, we missed the traffic stoppage by less than five minutes. So we sat in our car for an hour as the line behind us grew and grew. The guy in the truck next to us checked his oil. The woman in front went for a walk. And a guy in a Lexus actually drove by everybody using the breakdown lane on the right. A real classy move. Anyhow, after an hour or so we were let through the blasting zone and were able to continue our trip. That's when things got furry – or nearly did.

• As we traversed the pass, a truck moved over from the right to left lane in front of us. And took forever to pass another truck. By the time we were able to put the accelerator down again, there was nary a car to be seen in front of us. That pretty much continued over Snoqualmie, except for a slow-moving van with a Florida license plate (which elicited a comment from yours truly about having never seen mountains before). Down the grade we went, with only an occasional car passing us. By the time we reached Ashton Kutcher or whatever that exit at the bottom is called, we had passed the final truck. The road was nearly empty. And that was nearly the death of us. See, as we were cruising along at 70 miles per hour at about 9:15 or so, I noticed just a glint of something in my right eye. Ironically, Kim and I were talking about the explorer David Thompson and whether he had ever traveled to this part of the Cascades. I don't think he did but I'm sure he saw plenty of what run in front of our car just then. A moose. A big old moose. After nearly 30 years in the Pacific Northwest, I've seen my fair share of moose – even had one take a dislike to me in a creek around Farmington one time – but never had one run in front of the car on an interstate. Deer, yes. Moose, no. No time to brake, no time to think. A quick swerve to the left was all I could manage. It was just enough to miss the behemoth. As he disappeared past us, Kim followed him with her eyes as long as she could. Me, I was checking to make sure my heart was still working. And that I hadn't, well, maybe it was a good thing we made a pit stop. Long story short, the moose wasn't a giant, but at the speed we were traveling, he was big enough to make mincemeat of our car – and quite possible us as well. But we missed him, as Max Smart used to say, “by that much.” Such are the vagaries of life.

•••

• Washington State: A lot on the plate here, with the official news out of Pullman the Cougars' basketball team would be making a summer trip to Australia (honestly, this wasn't much of a secret and was something I thought they had announced long ago, maybe even a year ago). Christian Caple has a blog post and a story, with the post also including some other basketball news. … The Times' Bud Withers took a tour of the new Martin Stadium press box and premium seating and filed this report. I do believe, however, the old press box had four restrooms, two on each end. … The San Francisco Chronicle catches up with Klay Thompson (right) after his Olympic-warmup experience. … More on Cal's stadium remodel and whether it will be done in time. … Arizona State has a linebacker who may just end up a baseball player. … Athlon takes a look at the rebirth at Washington. 

• Gonzaga: This post from NBC Sports warns its readers not to overlook the Zags this season.

• Eastern Washington: The University of North Dakota gives its fans a look at the Eagles.

• Indians: With only three outs to go, it looked as if the Indians would snap their long losing streak. Two innings later, it had reached seven games after a 4-2 defeat to Eugene. Jess Brown has the story of the late meltdown. … The Yakima Bears are moving to Hillsboro, Ore., next season. Here's how it happened.

• Mariners: There was a lot of talk about the M's making major roster changes before the second half began tonight, but that didn't happen and won't for a while. … Though John McGrath has a wish list for the second half, about the only thing I want to see is improvement. Without it, it would make one wonder if the rebuilding process will ever work.

• Sounders: The friendly with Chelsea next week will mark the end of a career of a fun-loving player. … Winning four U.S. Open Cups consecutively is a feat that shouldn't be sneezed at. … An injured goalie is finally making it back.

• NBA: The King County report on the arena project says there is little if any economic risk or gain.

• Olympics: There was the fun back-and-forth on whether the 2012 men's basketball team could beat the Dream Team, but the real news yesterday was Blake Griffin tearing cartilage and missing the Olympics. The Clippers Curse lives.

• Paterno: With the release of the Freeh report yesterday morning, the legacy of Joe Paterno at Penn State took a big hit. Columnists from all over the country weighed in and we pass along a few.

•••

• That's it for now. We'll be back tomorrow morning with our usual - unless something else jumps in front of the car. Until then …


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