Sunday, February 15, 2015

Ready or not...

With interesting dual emotions, Ed and I are both anxious to begin our adventure, yet hesitant to drive away from Whidbey Island. The sweetness of our friends and family -- gifts, good cheer wishes, loving hugs, last dinners, earplugs for those difficult-nights-along-a-noisy-highway, beautiful messages, and thoughtful cards -- make for a very reluctant departure. We are so touched with emotion we want to linger for a spell, but depart we will. Sunday, February 15, 2015, we head east before heading south.

Thistle is packed to the brim with our life's necessities. OMG, what have we forgotten? OMG what have we set in motion. Our Langley home is well cared for. Our dog is with us. Our goodbyes are said. Our kids have been hugged. After a Sunday morning breakfast with Yessi and Brad, and after finishing up a few tasks, we tearfully drive away from what we hold dear.

Traffic everywhere on this sunny, gloriously warm, February three-day weekend day. There are people movin' in every direction. We wait in a ferry line, I-5 traffic all but comes to a stop, and I-90 traffic is heavy, but finally on 821, no traffic. Traveling along the raging Yakima River, beside a fast-moving train pulling hundreds of cars, we finally relax. We stop speeding -- not road speed speeding, but heart speed speeding. We sigh!

The sun is going down as we drive toward Yakima. We decide this is our first night to boondock. I'm sitting forward in my seat, peering into the semi-dark landscape, trying to find a likely place to pull over. I spot it, "Umtanum Recreation Site, Bureau of Land Management," I tell Ed, "Up ahead, to the right." He pulls off onto the side road and, to our surprise, there are several campsites, free because it's winter, but lovely, right on the edge of the river.

A quick walk for Benton. A tasty dinner of pasta with pesto, asparagus and green-beans, with candle light, for us. We settle in. It's so quiet we hear only the occasional train. Our blackout curtains are securely down making it cozy and private and warm inside, cocoon-like. Thistle's doors are locked against the world, the world we will explore in the morning, but lock out tonight. We are happy, yet sad to be putting miles between us and our cherished family and friends, but, despite the ripping at our hearts, content!

This first morning of our first full day on the road, we begin with a brisk walk along a beautiful bird-rich river. This "boondock" event is a jewel of prime bird viewing, amazing quiet, stunning beauty, and a perfect start for an adventure to the open doors of North America. There are nine raptor species nesting in this canyon, yet they are all sleeping in this morning. We see none.

Birch Grove

Our camp site had a few other over-night visitors, arriving after we were asleep. We didn't stir, totally unaware of their arrival -- tent campers, out of view; the camper truck in the photo; some folks sleeping in their car -- all a morning surprise.

"New day, new hopes, new life!!"

― Lailah Gifty Akita


  1. Yes. Oh yes. What a lovely start you had, and how perfect that first stopping spot! And that last photo -- linked shadows -- says it all.

  2. Our linked-shadow selfie! We would have liked to linger longer at this beautiful spot but we're rushing to get south before we slow our pace.

  3. Beautifully written from the heart, Fran, both written and photographed. Feel like I am right there with you. Look forward to sharing this adventure with you. Love that Benton, too!

  4. Leslie, the route we're taking can be nasty in the winter. Because the forecast was so favorable, we decided to go east through snow country. Because it's February we can't take our time for fear the weather will turn nasty again. Plus, we have often traveled Washington and Oregon roads and want to get to new territory.

  5. Thanks Dan. Your encouragement and interest are much respected and appreciated.