Sorry I am late but got waylaid by a beautiful woman and some great wine. I am coming to you from a wonderful bed and breakfast in Healdsburg, CA which is about as far opposite as you can get from Eureka, CA, where we spent last night. This tour has shown all ends and all people. And that is what is all about. Since we last talked we have been in Vancouver,BC, Victoria,BC Seattle WA, and the Pacific coast regions of Oregon and Washington if all that makes any sense.
If you are young it is a trip you should make after the kids stop drooling so they can appreciate it. If you are old it is one you should do before you start drooling and can’t remember. It helps make this jigsaw puzzle of a nation more understandable. You can’t help but marvel at these United States. If we were any other nation we would probably be seven or eight.
It is also the best and worst of us. You see 50,000 acre forests of redwood and you can’t help but be both in awe and recognize how small a part we are. You have to have big ones not to feel that way. Driving through national parks you see parking lots locked and a meadow without visitors because we have a national temper tantrum. Go up the Columbia River Gorge and you see nature at its best. Fall foliage and a broad expanse of water that had its source several days ago and many miles back.
We went to New Zealand last winter and fell in love with the South Island. You can see that and more in the Pacific Northwest. You motor through coastal rain forests, sheer cliffs with waves crashing below and dunes that feel like the Hamptons or the shores of Carolina. This coast is a working one with saw mills and acres of cut wood awaiting the bandsaws that are part of the building process.
You see all manner of domiciles. The structures are perched on hillsides or trailers hidden by groves of trees. I remember once taking a city friend on a ride along the Colorado River Road, just outside of Vail. As we passed a rundown trailer he commented on the poor devil that had to dwell within. I really wonder if he knew it was that inhabitant’s idea of heaven. You get to feel that more and more as you travel on. Live and let live.
There is a certain breed that is half super person and half maniac that bikes this terrain. Incredible numbers take to the road and pedal push up hairpin turns and steep rises. They are laden with packs and packaging that betray this is more than a day trip. Who are they? Where do they come from? Who cares. This is their country club or rental cottage on wheels. Enjoy.
Maybe they are searching for something. A woman in Seattle told us that everybody headed west trying to find something or forget their past. They kept going until they ran out of real estate and settled on the coast. I think that could be true going east as well but in toto you run into some amazing people. At breakfast this morning we sat with two circus performers, a first time woman novelist and her husband who made robots. TTG met his match and did more listening than pontificating.
You contemplate the numerous modes of transportation we have been on and seen. On the rails we had to step aside and let mile long trains of freight pass by. The port of Vancouver handles 3700 containers a day. That’s about two every minute, 24/7. The port cities have a plethora of water craft but my favorites are the ferries. One took us to Bainbridge Island which for you New Yorkers is like Shelter Island on steroids. It is a marvel of seclusion and we sat at a waterside deck eating chowder and savoring a craft beer. I asked the waitress what she thought of the government shutdown as we basked in an autumn afternoon. Huh? I thought so and good for you.
We have seen some weird scenes too. I was taking a run at 7:00 AM in Victoria, BC. I shot across the street against a light. There were two cars on the road and the second in line was a pickup being maneuvered by a rather corpulent woman. As she passed by she started screaming at me and I of course gave her the international sign of friendship in return. I thought to myself what it must be like to wake up to her in the morning. Spits out a couple of nails and lights up a Lucky from a deck on the nightstand. No thanks.
There was a man walking his tiny dog. He was sucking on a cigarette like he has for the last 50 years. If he was two pack a dayer it meant he had done that 600,000 times in his career. Best of all was when the dog pooped. He proceeded to make a barehanded toss of the litter into a nearby bush. He then ran his fingers over the grass several times. All help please wash your hands before returning to the work area. You can’t make this stuff up.
We will wend our way to SanFrancisco today. Great friends await and then to home. Thanks to all the nice people who befriended us. Thanks to waiters and waitresses and hoteliers. Thanks to the ocean and forests for letting us in. Thanks to my wife for putting up with me for two weeks straight. Thanks to all of you for listening. I am indeed a lucky dude.
Ted The Great
The redwoods are of several varieties the largest being the coastal sequoia. The can grow to 370 feet in height and a girth of 22 feet in diameter.
A fallen redwood decays for several decades providing nutrients to the forest floor. A kind of super recycling plant. How did nature ever figure all of this out?
The Bainbridge Island ferry was the best deal in the world. $3.95 got you a round trip ticket on a trip to paradise. A foggy transit out and brilliant sunshine on the ride back. 45 minutes each way.
Our trip covered over 2,000 miles. Everyone of them memorable.