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Homeward Bound

So all road trips need to end, else how could we say “on the road again”?  I was quite lucky in my choice of days to head back home.  The roads were clear of ice and snow the entire way, even over the pass.  I stopped there for a cuppa as usual and sipped it the rest of the trip.  The sun shone all the way and as I drove, it passed me by.

After the mountains, into a valley then up to Ryegrass (really, hardly a mountain at all, just a high hill) and at the top, I could see the plains spread out ahead of me.  Down to the Columbia then up again and stayed high the rest of the way.  The landscape was tan, with brown-green foliage of one kind and another, a long cry from the green forests of the other side of the mountains.  After the Columbia, there were a lake or two and some iced over ponds, but the sea was behind me and the salt air was gone.

When I first moved to the plains, I thought I would never like them.  I missed the sea too much.  But after a few years, the scent of the grass was home and I have stayed far longer than I ever thought I would.  It is only when I go west to the salt that I feel how much I miss it.

As I continued east, the plains took on the white of snow, glinting in the fading sun.  There had been a bit of a storm the day before, and that white against the tan and dark green was quite spectacular.  When I arrived at my driveway,  about four inches of snow faced me.  Clenching my teeth, I drove over it, knowing that would create ice that I would not be able to shovel through.  Oh well.  Home, I was home to the cat.

She purred a bit and then otherwise ignored me until the next day.  Ahhh.

Stuck in the Middle

So, the road trip continued.  I had made it to the salt water, the scent of which was like ambrosia.  I am lucky to have family living on an island in the San Juans who do not mind my coming to visit, so I continued my drive, going north toward Canada.  It was a lovely sunny day when I set out.  As I drove, I could see Rainier to the south of me, Baker to the north of me, the Olympics to the left and the Cascades to the right.  And there I was, snug in the cradle of all of those mountains.  Remember all of those peaceful feelings?  They were all there, growing stronger the closer I got to the Straits of Juan de Fuca and the ferry that would take me to my family whom I had not seen for over three years.  I could feel the comfort from my sister, now south of me, and that of the family I was going to see.  Riding on the ferry to the island I stood in the cold wind and breathed in the salt air.  More ambrosia.

What a lovely place to be stuck in the middle of!  Everything I could want, all around me.

(Except for the cat.)

Outrunning the Sun

Road trip!  It has been one and a half years since my last road trip.  Way too long.  This week I drove west from plains to mountains with the sun to the south.  All the way across the plains I drove ahead of the sun, trying to leave it behind so the day would be longer. But the plains were left behind when I crossed the Columbia and reached the top of Ryegrass.   But oh!, when I topped Ryegrass, there was Mount Rainier, so stately, so beautiful.  Rainier said “Hello, so good to see you again!” like the gentleman he is. The sun on that mountain was spectacular, leaving me almost breathless.  I drove on westward, seeing the Cascade chain in all of its glory, white covered crags flowing north from Rainier to Stewart, then Baker.  Then, up and over the pass into the onshore flow that hid the sun for a time.  But oh boy!- finally, the Olympics!  I saw them jump up and down and yell “hiya, about time you came back.  Got your ocean here on our other side!”.  I say, so sorry, not this time, but please keep it safe for me.  I will always be back.

How good it is to drive!


My Bob said once, when I told him I would not be going to camp at the Oregon Coast that year, “if you don’t go, you will not be livable”.  That year, I went.  The next year after that, I did not, because he was deeper into his illness, and dying and that year, Bob did not object.  This year, I did not go because my cat suddenly appeared to be dying.  This is the second year I have missed since I began vacationing on my own on the Oregon Coast some thirty or forty years ago.

The cat has not died; she simply did not want me to go.  I am somewhat livable, but you might want to ask my sister about that.  But I am very happy that the cat still purrs, and I know the ocean will be there next year.  Somehow.