Friday, June 26, 2009

Bragging Rights

All 4 of our children possess some level of artistic talent (music, theater, comedy, etc) but I am shamelessly taking the opportunity in this post to brag on my daughter, Carol.
First, with pencil and paper, she captures (beyond question) one of America's icons.
But second (and more importantly) she chooses Patriots and Conservatives as her heroes (no "pin-heads" allowed).
Great job on the Duke!
Love, Dad

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Part 3 of "...Last Train to Clarkston..."

Monday came all to soon and it was time to point the chrome & steel (and rust) back toward the West. Our host seemed to think home was "that-a-way".

So we cleaned the bugs off from the East-bound journey and set out to collect a few hundred more with the sun at our backs. Down along the Snake and then West into Pomeroy (our favorite pheasant hunting ground) and then down through Walla Walla and Pasco where we brushed elbows with the Might Columbia before rolling up into Richland for gas, water and "feeling" in our butt cheeks.
At Richland, we veered northwest onto Hwy 240 to Hwy 24 and skirted the West edge of the Hanford Nuclear Reservation. Out there, the sage brush rolls down the highway almost as fast as our suicide machines.
Those are the Rattlesnake Mtns. in the West behind K.T.
And the Hanford Reservation behind me in the East...After the photo-op, it was on to Yakima for more fuel (gas & groceries) and then back on Hwy 12 through Naches and up over White Pass.A very talkative truck-driver was kind enough to shoot this pic of K.T. & I with Mt Rainier in the background.
To make a long blog short, we had one more gas stop in Packwood before the last leg of our journey. Tired as we were, we still took the long way home and ran the "twisties" between Alder Lake and La Grande on Hwy 7. Yeah, Eatonville Cutoff would have been shorter but "who cares"? It's all about the ride.
And the ride was worth it all. Besides a great visit with an old friend, K.T. and I bonded on a new level. He's not just my son anymore, he's my "riding partner".
And, oh yes, his '81 CX500 made the whole round trip without incident. (Gotta' hand it to Honda- they just keep running)
See you on the road. Don't forget to "wave"...

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Part 2 of "...Last Train to Clarkston..."

Learning to "cool my heals" and relax has been a lesson long overdue for me (just ask Mrs. WingMaster). For many years I attacked everything like it was a job with a deadline. And, Oh, the pleasures I missed along the way; like wading in a clear creek on a hot spring day in Hell's Canyon.
Dan-Da-Man and his best friend, Lori took K.T. and I on a cage trip down the Snake River and into the north end of Hell's Canyon. Since a majority of the expedition involved gravel roads, the iron horses had to stay at the barn (gravel & chrome don't mix well).
The scenery over there is gorgeous; I love deserts, canyons, rivers and mountains and Hell's Canyon delivers all these in wild abundance.
Our first stop on the River was to let Dan and Lori show us the Petroglyphs- 500 yr old rock etchings by the Nez Pierce Indians that document a Gathering that could be described as their version of Thanksgiving. (I thought a few of them might have been added by teenagers in the "Big Hair" days of the '80's.)
Then, we pushed onward, deep into the canyon to drink in the splendor that is God's Creation.
Although this was the most blog-worthy part of "Part 2", the rest of the weekend was just as precious to me. Often, Dan would ask, "Is there anything particular you guys want to do?". We would look at each other and then reply, "No, man. We're just happy to hang out with you and relax." And that's exactly what we did. We barbecued, played music, swapped stories and reminisced about our 36 years of history together (I've known Dan since 7th grade). He is probably one of the few people in my life that I can pick up a conversion with after 10 years of silence and not feel disconnected.
I am ashamed to admit that it took a motorcycle to teach me to "enjoy the ride" along the way but I am thoroughly absorbed in the lesson and looking forward to more "field trips" as extra credit assignments.
Thanks for taking this ride with me. There's more to come in Part 3...