I began the day on a 20 day hitting slump of checking places off of my list. Wait…..I used an defensive baseball analogy in the title and an offensive one here….I really don’t know baseball too well. Let’s just get to the post: 🙂
I missed an important detail in the last post. My tire is mounted! Doug called the mechanic in town, Andy, asking if he could put a tire on for me. Soon the phone was handed to me to provide further details. From our brief conversation, I felt comfortable that he was familiar with bikes. I realized after hanging up that I had neglected to ask his price. Doug informed me that he would be paying for it, leaving no room to discuss the matter. 🙂
Andy did a great job on the tire. I didn’t feel too bad about letting Doug pay since it was only $20. (Some bike shops will charge up to $70 for the same service). My tire had served me well. It pushed me to Alaska, up mountains and survived thousands of mile of slight mis-alignment. This is a good list of lifetime achievements for any tire, but this tire’s work is not quite done yet. Next year it will have a new vocation as a potato planter in Doug and Janet’s garden. Something about this made me ridiculously happy.
Nothing makes me smile like a new glass slipper for my Cinerella:
I was getting that itch. The itch to have something crossed off of my sign. It had been 20 days since Matthew and Megan in Anchorage had crossed off Alaska for me. Today I would try to take care of two places. The first double-play of my trip. Janet sent me on my way with a lunch, neatly packed in a brown paper sack. It almost felt like I was going to school. 🙂
Ellensburg was up first. I took the same roads that I had traveled a few days prior. This meant that I got another bite at the Klickitat Canyon road, this time with a fresh tire. It is a great road. I’ll put the full video of my final run further on.
I have adopted a new strategy of trying to email someone from each city I visit prior to my arrival. (I usually look for a vistor center, chamber of commerce, museum…etc). My results with this strategy have been mixed, but I received a wonderfully detailed email from a gentleman in the Ellensburg chamber of commerce. It really helped me plan my visit.
First stop was the obligatory sign shot. My tripod that I forgot in Saskatchewan was shipped to Trout Lake, so I now had a better way to photograph Annie and I.
I stopped into the museum and met some really nice people. They gave me some great ideas for pictures to take and things to visit. I was also informed that Johnny Cash played a concert here.
A brief (sure…right) aside: I’m still unsure whether or not Johnny Cash visited all of the places mentioned in the song. I lean towards ‘no’ because some of the places are so obscure (and he mispronounces Chatanika!). Did he try to get to all of them when he knew he was going to record the song? I have found no record of such a trip. Some people (on the internet, mind you) seem convinced that he did, indeed, visit all of these places. Maybe I’ll get a definitive answer when I visit his museum in Nashville (Verse 3 Line 1). If anybody knows more than what you can find on the internet, let me know.
They had some neat old cars in the museum. Including a steam powered one.
Ellensburg is home to the 4th largest rodeo in the world. A number of my pictures were focused on these grounds.
There was a farmers market taking place, so I wandered around downtown for a bit. Ellensburg is similar in size to my hometown (20k or so), so it felt almost familiar to me. I met some really nice people and enjoyed my time there. It was a great way to end my drought!
I took a slightly scenic route to Mattawa, the next stop on my list. On the way I visited the Wild Horse Wind Farm. It is the only place in the country where people from the public can go inside a wind generator. They do two tours a day, 10 and 2. I happened to arrive at 1:55.
I crossed over the Columbia River and followed it south to the next stop in my song: Mattawa. I didn’t learn much about Mattawa during my research, so I was eager to find out what this town was all about. It appeared they were prepared for my arrival:
It seems that this town, like a lot of the land in the Columbia River Gourge, is prime fruit growing territory.
I enjoyed going to the edge of town and seeing at the stark contrast between the watered and unwatered land:
They also have the first library made of straw in the US. I huffed and puffed but was unable to blow it down:
The only bad part about my stop in Mattawa is that I did not meet anyone. I was pretty tired by this point in the day, so perhaps I was feeling a little less outgoing than usual. Still, I feel like I got a good feel for the place.
I headed back to Doug and Janet’s and took my final crack at the Klickitat Canyon road. I actually made my biggest riding mistake of the trip so far, carrying too much speed into a turn (at 1:55 in the video). Always be careful with the speed you carry into a turn, especially when traveling downhill. It is a bad idea to try to brake and turn at the same time. I got caught between two minds and didn’t make a decision soon enough. A good lesson for myself and others!
One of the reasons that I hung around Trout Lake so long is that I was excited to go to church with Doug and Janet. My parents have been there several times and I had heard great things. I know that this congregation has contributed a lot of prayers as my Dad has fought cancer. A copy of his watercolor portrait of Jesus hangs in the sanctuary.
(I guess now would be a good time to plug my dad’s website: RandelAndersonArt . If you are looking for a special gift that is personal and unique, get in touch with him at firstname.lastname@example.org . He probably still doesn’t charge as much as he should 🙂 )
I got to have the honor of ringing the bell to begin the service.
The congregation is small (about 30 or so?) but it is small in a good way. Everybody sits up towards the front and there is a lot of interaction throughout the service. People share what they are thankful for and prayer requests. One visitor even sang the second verse of “I’ve Been Everywhere.” 🙂 It really felt like a true church family. The service was lively, challenging and meaningful. We sang some great old hymns accompanied by my Aunt Janet.
We had coffee and cobbler afterwards and I got to meet some more neat people. Lloyd, next to me in the bell picture, did a solo motorcycle trip across the country in 1948. I don’t think he even took a cell phone with him!
I spent most of the afternoon planning my route east. I did take time to ride up to Eckert Point, the scenic overlook I had visited a few days prior. The road gets really rough towards the top and Doug and I had hiked the final stretch. I really wanted to get a picture at the top with Annie. Readers familiar with this blog will know that I will go to great lengths to get the right picture.
The road was really steep and rutted, but we bounced our way up.
Annie jumped too, but she totally messed up the timing. Silly bike. What a great view of Mt. Adams (I didn’t type Mt. Hood this time, Doug! Aren’t you proud of me?) 🙂
When I came back down I asked my hosts if they would sign off on the Washington locations on my sign. Doug took care of Ellensburg:
Janet did Mattawa:
My wonderful hosts (and my snazzy new “Trout Lake Fair” shirt):
My time in Trout Lake was incredible. I can’t wait to come back. As has been the theme of this trip, I was treated so warmly by my hosts. I can scarcely imagine a better experience in the state of Washington. I felt just like a baseball player does after hitting a touchdown. 🙂