November 23, 2011, 11:18 AM — Everyone has horror stories about long or difficult trips home for the holidays – sometimes even those for whom the longest, most difficult trip is the easiest thing about any family visit.
None (so far) are quite as difficult as the challenges taken up by these two sets of travelers:
What do you mean 'drive around? It's just a puddle...
Tuesday and Wednesday were the wettest of any two days of the last four years in Western Washington. More than two inches of rain soaked the perennially soaked ground, flooding yards, rivers, roads and, as it turned out, the path of a school of the kind of salmon so determined they routinely leap up waterfalls and dodge bears on the way to their own (albeit final) family gathering.
Part of the school lost its way, or got confused, or just decided to take a shortcut Tuesday, wandering out of the river bed, across some fields and right to the edge of the Skokomish Valley Road near Shelton, Wash., just upstream from Puget Sound.
There wasn't a bear in site and the flooded road must have looked like an unusually smooth stretch of shallows, so they did what salmon always do: They kept going, squirming right across the road, occasionally dodging or being dodged by traffic on the road.
The river was flooded by a storm that soaked Washington with more than two inches of rain during Tuesday and Wednesday, setting records for the wettest two days the area had seen in four years.
Even if you've never spent any time in the perennially damp Northwest, you have to figure rains that would impress weathercasters there have to be storms of the same caliber as a blizzard that would alarm Quebecois or ocean storms that scare partiers in Key West to abandon the southernmost shore to head for the mainland.
What could have been the free addition of really fresh salmon to a lot of Thanksgiving tables turned into just a detour for the fish; it's not kosher to catch salmon by hand in the road and apparently no one ran over any of the big fish, either.
No you can't drive; just stick your head out the window
The other big travel story has nothing to do with Thanksgiving, despite the timing.
In tourist-Mecca Darwin, on the north coast of Australia's thinly populated Northern Territories, a two-year-old dog named Woodley decided not to just sit on the driver's seat of its owner's mobile home parked outside a store while the driver was inside.