August 26, 2007
I don’t know where to start. As you might have noticed, my e-mails have become fewer and fewer. That’s not because I don’t want to write, but because my energy level has hit a low point. Also, I get to the campsite/motel too late to still pull out the computer and write. I am three weeks behind in my personal journal entries! Right now I just want to get home. It’s been almost five weeks on the road and in a different place almost every night. When I have stayed with friends, I have woken up and had no idea where I was. Sometimes I thought I was lying in the cab, not the bed, of the truck and I was surprised that the seats folded all the way back until I realized that I was sleeping in a very comfortable bed.
The beautiful scenery that I have been driving through for the last couple of days does not quite register the same way it did in the beginning, it’s just another tree.
Anyway, just a couple of additions to my last report:
Yellowstone: the nights were freezing cold, only 43F/6C. I was very happy that my sleeping bag was rated up to 35F/3C and the only thing that got cold was my nose. It was not too pleasant to crawl out of the warm sleeping bag into the cold morning air and into the bathroom which only had cold running water. I know it was not as cold as my dad always tells us it was when he was a kid and he had to break the ice on his wash bowl in the morning.
Idaho: Even though I didn’t spent much time there the one thing that sticks to my mind is the very sweet smell of the wet wheat after a rain shower. You know the smell of fresh cut grass, multiple that by 10 and add a little more intensity and you get close to the smell of wet wheat, just wonderful.
In my last e-mail I promised to tell you about my trip from eastern Oregon to Bellingham. Bellingham is located about 60 miles south of the Canadian border along the coast of Washington State.
I started out in Ontario, OR driving west on route 26. This was probably the most isolated stretch of road I have traveled on so far. For miles and miles not a single car, never mind anything more than a farm or two. Just field after field and a lot of sagebrush. I turned onto a dirt road for about 12 miles and all I would see was some cattle and rolling hills as far as the eye could see. Unfortunately, I could also see the smoke from some wild fires. I drove thru a handful of almost
ghost towns. One of them was Unity, 50 miles away from any slightly larger town in any direction. Unity was never very large, used to be a logging town with 250+ people, now there are only 80 left and the mills closed down a couple of years ago. Throughout this trip I have seen many dilapidated buildings, abandoned years ago and left to rot. And sometimes it is not clear if someone is still living in the falling apart trailer home with the junk cars in front or not.
I was heading towards Sisters, a town named after the mountains just to the west of it. The peaks of those mountains were impressive. Unfortunately, I didn’t get to see much of them since the weather turned on me and clouds and rain rolled in. It was raining the next morning when I was leaving Sisters.
Due to the weather and a road closure I had to change my route to Bellingham. Instead of heading north from Sisters to Mt. Hood and than into Washington State passing Mt. St. Helens and Mt. Rainer before getting up to Bellingham, I drove west to Eugene. What a funky town. I haven’t seen so many grunch kids in a very long time, never mind so many homeless / drunk/drugged out people. Eugene is about two hours south of the Washington border and it is a pretty straight shot up on I-5 to Bellingham.
Figured I’ll be there by 8 PM, wrong it was 10 PM before I got there. It was the longest day up to then with the fewest stops and over 500 miles of driving. I am so glad that I had been avoiding the interstates.
I-5 is just awful. People don’t know how to drive; everyone drives in the left lane no matter what speed they go. It was so bad I was screaming at the drivers and eventually left the interstate and opted for a small detour with much better views, fewer drivers and no stress. I went back on I-5 north of Seattle; otherwise I would have never gotten to Bellingham.
I had two full days at my friend’s place which was great. I got to see the sites of the area and just had a nice relaxing time. However, the weather was not too kind to us, that is until I left, figures.
I spent this Sunday in San Francisco. Half the day with a friend, walking around the Castro and Mission areas which are quite beautiful with their very colorful vegetation and I am not talking about the people. The second half of the day I did something I hadn’t done on the entire trip. I did nothing! Didn’t want to go out, didn’t have to be anywhere, could just sit on the balcony and enjoy the little bit of sun that shines around here.
Tomorrow I am driving to Lake Tahoe where I’ll stay again with friends and in a couple of days I am heading home!
You have to wait until the next report to find out how I got from Bellingham down to SFO and how the moon showed me the way in the dark forests around Mt. St. Helens.
Thanks for reading all my reports and for your feedback. I enjoy getting that as much as you seem to like my e-mails.
Good night and see you soon.