Northwest Trek – These Are The Times That Try Men’s Souls

17 Aug

We spent an uncertain night in Redmond, Oregon because we did not know which way to progress. Do we go northeast toward Idaho? Do we go north before deciding our next direction? This uncertainty is strange for us because we usually have a plan of roads to take and sights to see. However, we were not familiar with the territory. Finally, we decided to drive north towards The Dalles and turn eastward through the Columbia River Gorge. We had been told that this was something that had to be seen.

Through the years, we have driven through some desolate regions. There are parts of Montana and North Dakota where you will not pass another car for a while. However, we all agreed that nothing was as desolate as the road we took. The road was empty. The land was rough. I was driving and began to worry about the fact that we did not fill up with fuel before hitting the trail.

At one point, we pulled over to take a “break” and saw this guy riding along in the middle of nowhere.DSC00331

This brings me to a couple of other points about the trip. First, there are tons of cyclists in the northwest. They were on every road. Sometimes, they rode alone. Sometimes, they rode in pairs. Other times, they rode in groups with all of them wearing the same jerseys. I assume they were cycling clubs.

Second, the guy on the bike never acknowledged our existence. He rode by slowly as we stood along the side of the road. In these parts, we would have waved or nodded our heads. In some parts of the country, a cyclist may have yelled at us for being in the way. That did not happen on the side of a desolate road, and it did not happen on any other part of the trip. The people of the northwest were nice enough, but it was like they did not care if we were around. There was no reaction.

That could be that they are more mellow than the rest of the country. It could be that the zombie apocalypse has started in the northwest, and no one has realized it. Whatever the reason, most of the people we ran into seemed to be floating through the day. Heck, they did not even ask us where we were from. Usually, our southern accents elicit that question but not this time.

Anyway, we made it to the edge of the Gorge and filled up with gasoline. For those who do not know, Oregon has a law that says you cannot pump your own gas. They have attendants that do it for you. Of course, you have to get out of the car to insert the credit card and clean the windows.

We drove through the Columbia River Gorge on the scenic side and were disappointed. It simply was not as scenic as people made out. If someone thinks this is the most beautiful place they have been, then they have not been many places. It is not a terrible place, but there are better drives throughout the nation.IMG_2528

On top of that, we ended up eating at Burger King. We expected little towns with cool local eateries. There were little towns but not many choices in dining. However, Burger King provided the opportunity to break out the map and find our destination. It turned out to be Longview, Washington, a place that set us up for the next day.

We made it to Longview in time to do a couple of things. One was to find a place to fix my nephew’s GoPro camera. The other was to find something to eat. It took a couple of stops for the camera, and my nephew ended up fixing it with glue and rope. While he was looking for that, we were on our phones looking for restaurants.

My nephew and I found a steakhouse a few blocks away. There were some other places, but the pickings were slim. My brother said that he found something great – a smokehouse with brisket, barbecue and all sorts of stuff. We could not find it on our phones, but he was determined that we were going there. It turned out that he was looking for restaurants in Longview, Texas.

We had dinner at Applebee’s. It was not as good as our local Applebee’s because this one has my picture on the wall.

On the way back to the hotel, we ran into Shari’s, the place with the pie. We had to top off a long day with something good. For me, that was another piece of Marionberry Pie. It was a wasted day. We did not see anything. We did not have a decent meal. However, we got some pie.

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3 Responses to “Northwest Trek – These Are The Times That Try Men’s Souls”

  1. Marilyn Armstrong August 17, 2014 at 17:20 #

    I think the west is home to a lot of paranoid people who believe the zombie apocalypse (or its first cousin Marvin Apocalypse) is imminent or in progress. You may be the leading edge, so best avoid even acknowledging your existence. It’s a “western” thing. They call it “hospitality.”

    • Rick August 17, 2014 at 17:33 #

      It’s different from what I am accustomed to. Around here, everyone speaks or waves when you pass by. It’s interesting that different regions have different ways. That’s one of the reasons I like traveling through them.

      • Marilyn Armstrong August 17, 2014 at 18:02 #

        Here, too. The east coast is different. North and south are less different than east and west.

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