Ann Arbor

Birds on a Wire

Rest? Weary or wicked, we seemed to have found none. Our home coming was way too short. It amounted to no more than doing laundry, a repacking, haircuts and dinner with Joanie, who has done a great job of looking after the house.Thank You! Because today, we relaunched to the Great Lakes State. So long, Saint Louis. We’ll see you again when you are cooler and hopefully Big Bend is no longer under construction. One more day here and yes dear folks, you would be treated to an epic MSD rant.

Our drive to Ann Arbor was uneventful and after our three day cross-country marathon, today’s was a pretty easy drive. We made good time, only stopping twice. Plus most of the orange barrels had been sidelined for the 4th of July holiday. I felt like Moses, parting the orange sea.

Look, Dear

Mule Deer on Simpson Beach 50′ Below

We were at Shores Acres, an Oregon State Park. A trail along the cliffs offered us this lookdown opportunity. One of four Mule deer grazing on the sparse, but apparently enticing beach vegetation, this one had the where withal to look up. The title is a callout to Anne’s and mine habitual silly little deer pantomime. Look, Dear. Yes, Dear. No, Dear. Oh, Dear. Etc.

So, we crashed home last night. I mentioned yesterday that we drove 7,000+ miles on this road trip, but I didn’t say that we accumulated more than a quarter of those miles (2,000+) in the last three days. But there is no such thing as rest for the weary, because today, the Lord’s day, a day of rest, is a workday for us. That’s what happens when everyday is Saturday, the week just blurs together.

Home

We’re home from our epic road trip. We logged 7,000+ miles of driving, through 14 states and only big ones. Now passing mile marker 700 on the 101 in California. We were traveling for almost 40 days. Staying a quarter of the time with family (Thank you very much!), a quarter in motels, but half the time tent camping. While camping, we stayed in parks, both national and state. We visited nine National Parks on this trip, saw lots of wonderful sights, reveled in nature and generally had a good time too.

Today, we’re heck bent for home, pretty much following the Missouri River, just like Lewis and Clark. We crossed the river several times. Sometimes it was on the left, sometimes the right, sometimes on both sides, even when we were not on a bridge. The Mighty Mo has gone walk-about and has left its banks far behind.

Earlier this month, I had scoped out our return route and Google hadn’t offered up I-29 through western Iowa, our most direct path. I attribute this to flooding. There were places where the water was still lapping at both shoulders. We drove a 58 mile stretch where all the exits were closed. Lord willing and the creeks don’t rise (any further), we’ll be home tonight.

But neither rain, nor snow or even flooding shall keep the orange barrels from completing their appointed rounds. Right lane is closing, merge left. Left lane is closing, merge right. Both lanes are closing, turn around and do not pass Go. Do not collect $200 dollars. Anne and I share the driving, but she seems to hog all of the construction. I guess she likes it? Go figure.

STL or Bust

Carl wrote this on the car door in the Prius grime. Anne quipped that it should have read, “Saint Louis in dust.” Jay and Carl took us out to breakfast. Afterwards it was hugs all around. We said our goodbyes. We’ll see them again in a month at the cabin. We jumped into our respective Priuses and then Anne and I headed out on the highway, keeping our electric motor rolling, looking for adventure, born to be wild! Well, the five was all backed up, all stop and go. We crawled to I-90, turned east and with 2,000 miles to go, headed home. I drove through the mountains east of Seattle. Anne took over and got us across the Columbia. It rained off and on through the mountains. We crossed the continental divide and ended up in Bozeman.

Jay and Carl

Carl and Jay

Yesterday, Anne and I drove up from Oregon. We let ourselves into Jay and Carl’s house and unloaded all of our stuff out of the Prius, first onto their front walk and then into the house. We’re leaving the car in the driveway until we leave town.

Last night, we now four met with Aimee and MB for dinner at the regatta themed Magnuson micro-brewery by the marina on Washington Lake. That wicked woman, Sue Nommi struck at the brewery, in the form of our waiter, who dumped ice water on Jay and MB. Later, he also forgot Amee’s dinner order, but it was all good in the end and we decamped to Aimee and MB’s place for some after dinner delights.

Today, Jay, Carl, Anne and I took public transit to the Seattle waterfront. We toured Pike’s Market. We shopped yarns, quilts and Metsker’s Maps. Lunch at the Pike’s Place Brewery, then down to the waterfront: Ye Olde Curiosity Shop, complete with three corpses on public display, the destruction of the Viaduct and then the aquarium. It is a nice aquarium, but it could have used more Rock fish. Public transportation home and Indian takeout for a laidback dinner.

Coasting

Astoria Maritime Museum – Bad Bar

“Who, Who cooks for you?” The song of the barred owl. We attended a ranger talk on owls and learned that Western barred owls, similar to the eastern ones that we have at home are invading the habitat of the endangered Spotted owl. The Barred owl thrives in man made segmented forests/suburbs, while the Spotted owl requires large tracts of old growth trees. What’s worse the two are now also mating and creating new hybrid owls. So far this crossbreeding hasn’t got out of hand, but with climate change accelerating everything, who knows what will happen.

I’ve enjoyed our month plus journey. With all it’s travels and often poor internet. It has provided a welcome sabbatical from the hum-drum stupidly of American politics, which is basically all about a lot of sound and fury, signifying nothing. Like I said, I enjoy tuning it all out. I feel blithely superior and do not welcome a return to any so-called reality, anytime soon.

It rained last night and in the damp morning after, I am reminded how much West-coasters look like extras in some post-apocalyptic movie, when wet. And if the nice young families who share our campground look like something out of a dystopian future, then the homeless of Portland resemble the walking dead. I mistakenly made eye contact with a crazy woman, who announced, “I choose death. It’s my right.” And then walked on.

We drove north on the 101, along the last stretch of it to be completed, connecting Canada to Mexico. The rugged beauty of this part of Oregon’s coast has to be seen, to be believed. We drove through rain, fog, mist and the marine layer and couldn’t see the sea, at least on the way up.

We drove to Astoria, where we could see Washington across the Columbia River. Second breakfast, this time I did Willapa Bay oysters hash, with twin Bennies on top. Anne had French toast with lingonberry sauce. We were looking for the Scan Fest, Scan for Scandinavia, but instead found the regular Sunday downtown farmers market and bought snap peas.

We toured the Maritime Museum, from which this photo was shot. It dioramas an impossible rescue by the local Coast Guard. Afterwards, we toured Lewis & Clark’s Fort Clatsop, where the expedition wintered before returning to “the States.” We headed south to Ecola State Park for some coastal views and then Cannon Beach for photos of iconic Haystack Rock and then camp.