Monday, August 13, 2007

But no lolos from Hawaii

Day 3 - Arlington, OR via WA and ID to Missoula

I called a tire shop in Hermiston promptly at 8:00, and immediately found the tire I needed. I stopped at the hardware store across the parking lot to pick up a tire iron in case I had to pull off a blown tire before I made it to the tire shop. I also picked up a gasoline container so I can carry a reserve in the trailer. Was on the road by 8:30 and slowly limped along the Columbia River to Hermiston.

The road was great, with the river on my left and on my right several stands of Douglas fir trees planted in rows very close together, much like citrus in Caleefornia. This is the tree on the Oregon license plate.

Luck was with me and I made it to Hermiston and the tire shop without further incident. The salesman talked me into replacing both tires and said it would take 45 minutes to an hour. Perfect! That’s just the time I needed to have my usual 50-mile brunch. But Monday morning is busier than planned, and 3 hours later I pull out of the shop and head for Missoula, thinking I might no longer be able to make it before nightfall.

The dead tire
The ride across Washington and Idaho was amazing, mostly following the Lewis & Clark trail.

The road followed river beds all the way, passing through Clarkston, WA, and Lewiston, ID. This route across northeast Oregon, Southwest Washington and the Idaho panhandle was really beautiful, following the Columbia, Clearwater, and Lochsa rivers up to Lolo Pass. I tried to imagine the pioneers of 200 years ago following this river gorge in search of a northwest passage, and wondered how many trailer tires they ruined on their journey. I remembered the computer game Oregon Trail that the Kaimuki Intermediate School students played so much in computer “class.” They traded pelts for food, equipment, and other supplies. I am trading plastic money for gasoline and rubber tires.

As I neared Lolo Pass the air began to get smoky, and I remembered that Montana is on fire right now. Just a couple miles from the top, a huge buck elk was grazing by the side of the road. He was beautiful, but before I could even reach for the brake pedal, he ran away, apparently camera-shy.

After a brief pause at Lolo Pass, I rolled down the mountain and arrived in Missoula much later than planned, but with ever so little light remaining in the sky. The tire shop and the change to Mountain Time cost me about 3 hours.

Today’s 426 miles were mostly very beautiful, and very tiring. Maybe I’m too old for this kind of mileage.

1 comment:

Karen said...

Bite your tongue - you are NEVER too old. This scenery is worth every bit of the travel, isn't it?