We spent the night in the Super 8 Motel in Ontario, Oregon, back in Sasquatchlandia.
Native American kids seemed to have taken over the coffee stalls. Emily also grabbed me a Jimmy Dean croissant from the Super 8 breakfast room–it tasted like an Egg McMuffin, or some other mutation.
The streets were bumpy. I spilled my decaf Americano. What would people from a hundred years ago think that we have the technology that makes such things possible? Michael noticed a yard sale where two women had paper towels. We pulled in, and offered to buy the whole roll. The women spoke Spanish, and offered to sell us pan dulce. Things worked out, and the conchas were better than the pseudo-croissant.
Then we took the 201 along the Snake River to the 84.
We had to stop in Baker City with its animal and arachnid statuary.
And La Grande with some nice thrift shop with plastic dinosaurs.
Further westward on the 84 through grasslands, the new wine country and new communities are being installed. America is being rebuilt, but according to whose design? Does it have to be anybody’s? What if we just let it grow?
Then something set off Michael’s radar, a strange store with a big, handmade FRUIT ANTIQUES sign. We got out and I took a pic of the glorious ruin across the street. They actually were a combination fruit stand, antique store, and supermarket; they even had books! I was tempted by some ancient sci-fi paperbacks. We got some snacks. Later there were more FRUIT ANTIQUES stores. It must be a chain.
As we headed into more open spaces, I saw the first Trump sign of the trip. It was an old un-defaced TRUMP/PENCE. Were the owners keeping up with the January 6 hearings, or did they just not care anymore?
We arrived at the Super 8 in Issaquah, Washington at about 8 PM, before sundown. Saw brown people, heard Spanish. A black van in the parking lot was emblazoned with DON’T PRETEND YOUR RACISM IS PATRIOTISM/BLACK LIVES MATTER.
In the morning we headed for Seattle, passed the Space Needle to take the ferry across Elliot Bay to Bainbridge Island.
An explosive (is “bomb” considered to be insensitive these days?) sniffing dog made its rounds, sticking its nose in the Prius’ undercarriage.
Motorcycles and pedestrians boarded first.
Signs announced that terrorism was a big concern.
Once we got going, Emily, the essential desert girl, adapted to having the cool salt wind in her hair.
Among other things, we could see Mt. Rainer.
“I hate to say this, but if that ever erupts, this would be a great place to watch,” Emily said, going into geologist mode.
As we went through Bremerton, Emily cracked us up reading the news about the January 6 hearings.
Found some estate and yard sales, and thrift stores. In an estate sale, the departed for some reason saved the L.A. Times from days of the explosion of the Space Shuttle Challenger and
Bill Clinton’s impeachment. Further along was a house with American and Trump flags.
Did a pit stop at a gas station with an unusual restroom feature: a sink made from a tire, with a gas nozzle for a faucet. I predict that someday it will be in a museum as an artifact of the Petroleum Age.
Fat Smitty's caught Michael’s eye. It was the sort of place he looks out for. Big, painted wooden sculptures like rural yard art gone wild. The joint radiated personality. There were dollar bills, a lot of them defaced, hanging from the walls and ceiling, and a big sign declaring CASH ONLY! by the register. Very caucasian people filled the place.
After we ordered our burgers, Michael decided to take a walk and look around. It took a while for us to get our order. When he came back he looked pale. He had seen the TRUMP KEEP AMERICA GREAT! 2020 sign in the window and the array of signs for right-wing political candidates. He couldn't bring himself to eat his chicken sandwich.
I had noticed the signs before we pulled in. It piqued my curiosity. And as a veteran of years of customer service, I saw it as an opportunity to interact with “the other side” in a non-confrontational manner. Let’s just do our business as human beings–which is what we’re supposed to do all the time, isn’t it? The bikerish women–they seemed to be mother and daughter–who worked there smiled with the right amount of expected flirtation.
The other customers did keep looking at me, curious, with strained smiles. I had received this look before. They were trying not to notice my skin color. It’s rather creepy when a whole room of people look at you that way.
I must warn other travelers that they have something against public restrooms along the 101 in this part of Washington.
Theme there was another house with Trump flags. And a pickup with a Trump bumper sticker. And a TRUMP 2024 sign.
Washington seems très Republicano. There are a lot of clear-cut forests.
That night we stood at the Rainforest Village Resort, on Lake Quinault. Sasquatches decorated and were for sale in the lobby.
The frogs sounded like they were right outside our window, and the Wi-Fi was lousy, but the lake was beautiful.
We needed that kind of environment that morning. We were bracing ourselves for political turmoil. Roe v. Wade was overturned, and it was Pride weekend. KOMO news did a dubious story of “local Antifa” attacking a guy with part of a barricade–it looked more like a clumsy comedy routine than a real act of violence.
Soon we were going down the coast on the 105, in search of coffee and pastries.
There were no political signs. Just things like the Cranberry Museum and some funny yard sales.
A thrift store in South Bend played “Bigfoot Radio,” while another had two different “Jesus culture” stations.
We found no public restrooms, and no pastries.
Chinook had a cool mural.
And an interesting display with a robot in front of the Shipwreck Cove Antique Store.
Finally, we took the Megler Bridge across the Columbia River, back to Oregon.There was no parking at the beaches. We were in and out of Tsunami Hazard Zones. And no cell service in parts of the 101 in Oregon.
Then four emergency vehicles with lights and sirens a-blazing blasted by. The first we saw on this trip.
In Grants Pass we ended up in a suite bigger than our house in the Travelodge, thanks to overbooking.
The next day on the 62, heading for Crater Lake, with Mt. Shasta looking on at the horizon, there was a VOTE TRUMP sign flying over a farm. There were flags of all kinds everywhere, even one that said ESPRESSO next to a zombie dwarf sasquatch.
And along the Rogue River there was a Trump sign that was almost completely faded out.
Of course Rogue Gorge was a must-see.
As was Crater Lake.
We went from a Tsunami Zone to an Avalanche Zone.
A strange object was abandoned by the snow.
Annie Falls could be seen through a weird tree.
Past 140 was more flag-flying farm country. Actually a bit bland, lacking in weirdness, then:
A MOVE OREGON’S BORDER sign. Turns out it's a nefarious plot to gerrymander things to send more conservative representatives to Washington.
Other flags were Trump, LET’S GO BRANDON, and a very faded TRUMP 2020.
And Oregon still doesn’t want you to pump your own gas. A smiling guy comes out and rips the thing out of your hand.
East of Lakeview on the 140 a stagecoach sculpture on Cave Creek Ranch East looked like a timewarp as we headed for Winnemucca, Nevada.