I’ve decided to move on. So, today, whether I need it or not, I took a shower and washed my clothes. Then I’ll be heading South.
But, let me tell you what I did yesterday. Knowing it was my last day in the park I went to where I could get a good long hike. The sun was out, the temperature was pleasant. As I set out I took off my t-shirt and stuffed it on the back of my fanny pack. This is the pack that carries my camera gear, a water bottle and a few other odds and ends. Anyway, I figured this may be the last opportunity to ingest some natural Vitamin D, so I went for it. A mile or two downstream from the parking lot I passed what I figured was the last of the fishermen in this area.
And then I stripped. Well, not completely, I left my boots on. When I went to strap my shorts to the fanny pack I quickly found that I no longer had a t-shirt. Somewhere in my trail blazing it must have gotten snagged. Showing that I still had some sense in my head I emptied my pockets and all the contents got zippered up in the pack. Imagine losing that stuff. I did put a little extra care in fastening my shorts. I was cool thinking I would go back to the parking lot without a shirt, but without shorts too? I also quickly appreciated having spent the extra dollars for that extra padding on the pack.
Why did I do this? It certainly was not for sex as there was nobody around to have sex with. It was about freedom. I bet you’ve thought about this. Heck, I’ve even had dreams of walking around naked. Now I could.
It was an interesting experience. The sun was going strong and felt different. The wind was blowing lightly and felt different. No clothes rubbing you felt different. A slight bit of paranoia about being seen kept me present and alert.
I ended up needing to do some bushwacking. It took on a whole new meaning.
And, of course, the bare jokes.
Eventually I tired and turned around. When I spied my first fisherman I figured it was time to suit up. And the weather decided to change, like right now. So, with me in shorts only, the temperature falling at least 15 degrees and a light drizzle I started hoofing it the last 2 miles. I also imagined the article about the latest dumb tourist found out in the woods. The feared downpour held off until roughly 10 minutes after I hit the parking lot. I survived. Not only that but as I was crossing the parking lot I picked up 2 flies and a Leatherman Micra, which was quite rusty. Today, while my clothes were in the drier, I went across the street to a fishing shop and traded those 2 flies for the use of a brass brush and some WD40. The little knife cleaned up quite well. I only cut myself once.
Being on a Driveabout gives me time to just sit by a stream.
It was high in the mountains, on a sunny day.
A cedar grove was standing guard.
A grove that was still, green, bordering on being dark.
Sitting by this stream, I was almost too hot.
Hundreds of little waterfalls were making a racket upstream.
Seems there was a hurry to get downstream,
To turn into sparkling gems.
Out in the stream in front of me stood a rock.
It was noticeable because it was different.
It was the biggest around, but not by much.
It was darker.
It had edges.
The other rocks were smooth, made up of warm browns and greens.
Next to the bank they shone like jewels.
On the bank they were different.
Still rounded but the colors were all tending towards white.
I threw one in the stream.
It splashed me back.
And then it transformed, grew, intensified.
So, I have drifted over to Yellowstone.
It is after Labor Day so I was hoping the crowds were lower.
They are. So is the temperature. And the clouds with rain.
Nevertheless, and dodging all of that, I had a great day yesterday.
I broke a record. After all my years of hiking/backpacking I had never seen a bear (in the wild). I did yesterday. I was on a narrow path winding through some woods. No buds, no bells, no bear spray. About 15 yards ahead this bear just crosses the path. I stopped. I presume he knew I was there, but didn’t even care enough to look at me. I didn’t move, but I did watch his form blend back into the trees. Oh, I didn’t have my camera out and he was gone before I could. So, believe me, he was huge. It might have been a grizzly or a brown or a kodiak. I know it wasn’t a polar.
But that wasn’t all I missed with my camera. I didn’t catch the osprey attacking the bald eagle. I didn’t even catch any of the myriad chipmunks and ground squirrels that were crossing my path, within feet, and then laughing at me. Finally, I came close:
So, life is telling me that I’m slow. So I take pictures like this:
As I was on the trail of Lewis and Clark the other day I passed through Walla Walla, which sparked this set of feelings:
90 degrees in Walla Walla was miserable.
Having visited before, it wasn’t miserable then;
when I closed my arms, a body was there.
if hot, not noticeable.
That isn’t Walla Walla on this day;
the wine, still there.
the hotel, still there.
when I close my arms, just air.
that didn’t go so well.
I’ve begun my epic journey around the United States.
Airbnb is slated to have an important role.
I headed out of Portland determined to follow Lewis and Clark’s path to Missoula, MT. It wasn’t too hard. I didn’t have to get out of my car even once to portage across any rivers. But I did get out of my car to see where L&C stopped and did various activities. It reminds me that life isn’t all that difficult, even if I do scream at it occasionally.
Anyway, I had booked 3 nights at an Airbnb in Missoula. The schedule I kept with my brother was so wacked that I figured I had to rest up before I got too far into my trip. I try to pick my places with a couple of things in mind;
cheapinexpensive and interesting. Upon arrival I was told I couldn’t park in the driveway. I could try to squeeze my car between two giant pine trees (nope) or park it on the street, in front of the mailbox. But the car had to be gone before the mailman arrived. When would that be? During the day. Which wasn’t a problem because, by house rules, I wasn’t supposed to be at the house between 10 and 5 on the weekdays. Which wasn’t supposed to be a problem because I intended to explore Missoula. But I hadn’t figured on the next day being a rain day. Which turns out to not be a problem because, at first, I couldn’t get to sleep. My bed was in the basement. Not a finished basement, just a cleverly draped off area. But also down in this basement was a sprinkler controller that was clicking away. Gee, no one else had ever been bothered by it. Had I tried ear plugs? Yes, didn’t work. Fortunately my hostess was still up (as was I) and after some negotiation that was far too tense she went downstairs and unplugged the beast.
Now it was dark and quiet. Sort of. Creaks from people walking upstairs. Plumbing doing its thing. Water heater firing up. And there was the other aspect of this (and most) basements. It smelled musty. My sinuses were complaining.
In the morning, I left. I didn’t need to explore Missoula in the rain. I didn’t need to wonder what that basement was doing to me. Let’s chalk this one up to experience and move on.
I have repacked my car yet again, throwing more stuff out.
Most of that stuff my brother will graciously store for me for whenever.
It’s interesting the trail of stuff I am leaving behind me.
Anyway, I’m packed and I’ve picked a next destination. I’ll be leaving in the morning.
But Sunday I went back over to my niece’s place for a crawdad boil. It was great. These little crustaceans were so big that most of them had claws big enough that it was worth the trouble to crack them. I also had time to wander their yard and believe I have a couple of new additions to my impressionist collection. Enjoy.
What to do, what to do?
So, my soulful house has tried to kill me.
I have, yet again, disposed of my possessions.
It seems, there is nothing I can do but hit the road.
I queued up an Airbnb place so I had time to clean out the House of Irony. I retained all the kitchen items, and a few other things, for my son. I de-stressed for 15 minutes then I reloaded my car. Turns out the things I kept for my son completely filled my car. What was I to do with my personal traveling items? Well, a solution presented itself. The Airbnb place I was staying at was also a miniature horse farm. Further, the hostess was scheduled to trailer a miniature horse and a goat over to Seattle. Which was good because I had scheduled myself to visit a friend over there for a couple of days. So, I loaded my personal stuff into her trailer. Then I drove down to Portland and dropped of my son’s items and then headed up to Seattle that same day. The next day I met my new friend and picked up my traveling gear.
After a nice visit in Seattle I headed on down to Portland. I’m staying at my older brother’s place. Last night we had a nice dinner over at his daughter’s house and my son was able to come over.
Today me and my brother hiked up to Ramona Falls, at the base of Mt Hood. Terrific weather. Great hike. Here are some pictures from it.
This spring I was able to recover some slides I took from a long time ago, like 40 years. Yesterday I stopped in at a friends house to digitize a few of them. He, unlike myself, is a computer nerd and has all of those kind of toys. Enjoy.
Just to put the final ribbon on this wrap-up; I’m taking a break from loading my car to take a bunch of
junk stuff down to my son. With that done, I’ll have just a few bags of possessions in my car. I was able to leave about 4 tubs of items in a friend’s garage. But what has me laughing at the irony of it all is the pickup truck and trailer full of furniture that I didn’t have when I moved in; that I acquired so that I would have a socially acceptable habitat; and that is now gone. Done.
Time passed and so did most of the smell. But I couldn’t convince myself that it ever totally went away. And then I started hearing noises under the house again. I called the landlord, he called his guy. The only way to get under this part of the house is to pull some interior stairs (just 4 of them). In May, when the first event was mitigated they had done a very good job of sealing behind these stairs, foam boards and foam caulking. It was all shredded. We put in a trap with cat food one night, caught nothing. Then we put cantaloupe in the trap the next night, caught nothing. Crawling under there, they reported there were 3 or 4 tunnels. Their guess; marmots. No telling where the entrances were.
So, they decided to concrete each of those tunnels and proceeded to do that. His guy had also decided to throw mothballs down one of the tunnels to drive them out. I asked him to remove them. He said too late. Besides, they would just evaporate and go away.
My brother said I should have moved.
So, they finished their work and shoved the stairs back in place; no sealing this time.
And guess what, it started smelling like mothballs inside. Did I mention how poisonous mothballs are? As I was sitting on my bed, my blood pressure rising while I contemplated what action I should now be taking (in other words, whining to myself) I caught a flea trying to bite me. A flea! That’s it, I’m gone. I emailed my landlord that I no longer could live in this hell hole and went out and slept in my car.
Somewhat fortunately I had a trip scheduled and I left for a week. I came back to stay at an Airbnb and then I proceeded to empty out and clean the place. I’m still arguing with the landlord to return my last month’s deposit. In the 8 months I had lived at this place at least 30 days were uninhabitable. Turns out the place was not good for my soul.