Monthly Archive: May 2010

Frog Legs and Wheat Fields

I roll down US 12 into quiet little Waitsburg. Hmmmm nice bridge and nice creek and water I should be soaking in. Maybe later. My mind is still on my meeting a few miles back. A stop for iced rosemary tea given to me in a mason jar at the top of a long hill and a chat with the gentleman who lives across the road in a grain elevator. “Two stories of living space and 8 stories of attic” he says. How wild that must be. Back to Waitsburg.

Quiet main street, turn of the century buildings, a hardware/general store and colors of red and brown and green and maple trees in front of old Victorian homes. A scene straight out of a Norman Rockwell painting. At the Whoop Em Up Hollow Cafe, Sarah the waitress tends to my growling stomach with a plate of delicious frog legs, black eyed peas salad followed by the most wonderful catfish I have ever had. No meal is complete without dessert and banana pudding and warm cookies finish me off and I stumble home to my room full and satisfied.

I roll into Dayton and the hills begin just out of town, rolling wheat fields of green in various shades of color. Horses that stop and stare as if the know what my cargo is. That night my hosts treat me to delicious salmon and halibut and a fruit salad I embarrass myself on by literally devouring the entire contents of the bowl. I sit and listen to Bob, an 85 year old Iwo Jima Vet tell me of the day he landed there in WWII, 1st wave and untouched. He was lucky and came back to Dayton and has led a simple, hardworking, good life. I see years of wisdom and goodness in his eyes. I am lucky to have the pleasure of meeting men like that. There is history, laughter and knowledge in them that should be shared. Small town America holds many values. True and rich. I see it as I  move along.

In a few days I will be in Idaho and this lush farmland will be behind me and the topography will change as will the people. Here in Pullman tonight my hosts Pat and Colleen take us to dinner at the Cougar Country Drive-In and a double quarter pounder with fries and a banana shake never tasted so good. A good, loving couple fiercely proud of their loyalty to their alma mater her at WSU and very thankful to live where they do. Each day is a deposit of generosity by my hosts. …… each day the treasures build….

Of oranges, wheat fields and chance encounters….

So I crest a short hill near the intersection of 730/12 in Washington….now I am kinda dying for some fruit as the salty beef jerky provided by my hosts is oh so good but needs to be topped off with something….ahaaa a guy selling bags of oranges out of the back of his truck. Kevin tosses me a couple and we have a little chit chat and I head down the road. At 80 degrees a cold orange is pretty damn good in fact probably the best orange I ever had. The rolling countryside opens up to even more rolling fields of wheat and the greenness of it all is intoxicating. I drift back in my thoughts to my last view of the Columbia as it turned north. It had been a secure source of comfort for me….always there each day stretching out with periodic steps in its flow created by the dams and now we had parted company. In the small town of Touchet I roll into a Chevron in search of a cold Starbucks Mocha and have a chance meeting with Arnaud, a young frenchman riding across the country to New York. For 2 days he had followed a trail of flags not knowing their meaning until I told him. Travelers…one on foot, one on bike, 2 different countries, one gas station. The day ends well in Walla Walla and my hosts, the Pluckers treat me to a fine dinner of steak/potatoes/pasta salad/ strawberries/cake and ice cream. They clearly love their community. Their family goes back 150 years in this area….so obviously it must be love. Tomorrow new miles, new smells and sights and new faces and the tales build…….goodnight.

Thoughts from the road…..

I get dropped off…….Rain gear on or off? cold? no not yet, feet feel good….sort of, legs? still there…man should have had another cup of coffee, kinda hungry, first mile, i-phone on, check name, damn ground is hard, stick that flag, salute, move on, whoaaaaaa big truck, close! Gotta find a bush, nooooo not yet, wonder if the Cubs won? Wow the Columbia river is big….bushes lotsa sage, green and green, fields and smells, cattle trucks….Thats a big bridge, a high bridge….whew don’t like the interstate….need a gu, need another gu, did I take an alleve? maybe two? oh well, kidneys are strong…chafffffffing, shoulda lubed up….hungry, hungry, find a bush…again….drink more knucklehead…ok eat, ahhhhh mini-mart.. burritos and coffee and chocolate zinggggggg…..another flag, thank you, salute, your parents must be proud, I feel for their loss, are you watching from above? You push me forward….on and on

Lifejackets, $$$$, and apple pie….

Well Day 8 has come to a clsoe and I am in Hermiston, OR. Left the comforting sight of the Columbia River GForge yesterday and the topography has changed dramatically from rainforest type landscape to wide open rolling agricultural hills. Yesterday had the wonderful pleasure of running with my partner Peggy who even made the long drive with a delicous apple pie!! What a treat!! Spent the night in the Roosevelt Grade School and dinner was provided by my friend Daniel (host) mother…It has been interesting  learning what has made and broke these communities. A town such as Goldendale loses an aluminum factory, Roosevelt has mainly vineyard and fruit workers. Hermiston mainly agricultural. The find of the day yesterday was a red PFD and today 8 cents, which brings my current total to $1.03, along with 42 bridges crossed and 2.5 gallons of chocolate milk consumed. Life is good on the road.  The highlights of the week have been to numerous….Wonderful smooth roads through this beautiful, wet green of Western Oregon and then Washington. Hosts so welcoming and warm. Over 600 students lining the sidewalks in front of Prairie High School in Battleground, WA as I passed by and placed a flag for one of their alumni. The genuine sincerity of everyone has been truly amazing…I relish the though of ice on my feet and chocolate milk at the end of the day and the quiet moments to look around each mile. Today being Mothers Day was particularly moving….somewhere a mother was thinking of her son or daughter and I hope that somewhere from above he or she is smiling down. To all who have sent encouragement I thank you sincerely and deeply…the journey moves on!!!!!

In the gorge…

Headed east and the gorge has been beautiful even in the rain. Last night I stayed in the 1905 Lyle hotel and a few town folk came down. Lewis and Clark traded here with the native Americans on their journey west. No flats and no blisters for the road is good.