Wednesday, October 12, 2016

On The Road Again

I've been pondering for quite some time why travel is so compelling and conversely why home's draw is so powerful. How can both conditions be so desirable yet competitive with one another? We can't do both at the same time yet the yearning for each pulls deeply.

Our first on-the-road-again campsite is a beautifully forested North Cascades spot on the edge of the Skagit River, not far from Ross Lake. The ground is littered with maple and alder leaves, plus a jumble of fir, cedar and hemlock needles. There are only a handful of campers and because there is no water or garbage service, camping is free.

Fall's beauty surrounds us and we know, come morning, it will be kick-the-leaves time as we explore new trails. And it will be dog play time. And even better, it will be leave politics behind time. No internet, no Facebook, no news, no email, no phone.

Driving into Goodell National Forest Campground last night it was already getting dark. I immediately began making chicken soup with the bones left over from a roasted chicken dinner we'd shared with our cherished Brad and Yessi the previous night. Ed busied himself with starting the hot water heater, signing the camp register and walking Benton. Alone in Thistle, with only the sound of the rushing river for company, I pondered why our Thistle Adventures have such a powerful pull.

There is of course the obvious. Seeing new things, meeting new people, uncovering new experiences. But it's something else. It is the feeling of edgy, while home is the feeling of easy.

The edgy feeling is sneaky, unexpected. It creeps up on us. We like it. With dark moving in will we find a camp spot soon? Will we boondock? Where? Then there are the night prowlers. What's out there? A cougar, bear, perhaps a rattle snake. That's what I mean edgy. What's that noise? Where will we stay? When? Will we be rousted out when boondocking? And edgy isn't a night feeling only. Watching to avoid stepping on a snake when hiking in the desert or getting lost in a strange town are edgy too or even huge rogue waves at the ocean are edgy.

Home, on the other hand, is that easy feeling. It is familiar and comfortable. It's known and trusted. Home offers a gentle belonging that blunts rough edges. Family, friends and community lull us into a feeling easy life of contentment. Even storms are less edgy than when we're on the road.

Both edgy and that easy feeling are wonderful! We travel for one and we return home for the other. They duel for our attention.

Today we drive over Highway 20, stopping at a Ross Lake Overlook to enjoy the view.

Then we stop at Washington Pass for views that knock our socks off.

The leaves along the route are just changing but still provide subtle turning colors, especially as they stand in contrast to the northwest's majestic evergreens.

We lunched in Winthrop, paused in Twisp, and then headed for British Columbia. At the border we experienced that edgy thing. Border patrol wanted us to pull aside so they could do background checks. Ed's Canadian birth alerts border patrol to an out of the ordinary situation. Twenty minutes later we are waved on.

Our route in B.C. is Highway 3 headed east in the direction of Glacier National Park. Our first night in B.C. is in the town of Midway, offering winter free camping along side the Kettle River. It drops to 30 degrees. Thank goodness our broken heater works again.

May life continue to deliver both an edge to our travels and that easy feeling of home, with all the wonderful delights of both.


“For how can one know color in perpetual green, and what good is warmth without cold to give it sweetness?”

~John Steinbeck, Travels with Charley: In Search of America

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