Main street Umatilla Oregon early on a Sunday morning--very similar to Versailles Ohio on a Sunday morn. I had the road to myself.
When traveling in the west you see all sort of names that makes you wonder what kind of story is behind them. Places like Buffalo Chip Ridge or Smoking Antelope Gulch are good examples. Yesterday I had an experience that prompted me to give a name to a place and provide the reasoning behind it.
It was about 10 miles along the road between Umatilla and Walla Walla in Oregon when I decided to take a break . I parked the bike and walked towards a flat rock about 30 feet off the road to sit down and rest. I was not paying much attention and was about a step away from the rock when I saw a flurry of movement on top of the rock. It was 3 or 4 snakes (no rattles)who were sunning themselves and I disturbed them. They split the scene ,scaring the Hell out of me in the process. As I was checking the ground out for more snakes I saw a weathered looking dime laying about a foot away from the rock.
As I stood there contemplating what had just happened it dawned on me that this must be an omen of some kind and there was a meaning here that called for a name. I felt like an ancient nomadic Indian brave or an early pioneer and just had to mark this spot for others that might follow.
So, using that purple magic marker I found along the road 150 miles ago (I knew it would be useful at some point in time) I did what explorers and graffiti artists do. Who knows this may someday get printed on a map of the area.
Although I could not find a snake to include in pic the dime is there and the territory has been marked story has been recorded.
The Washington state line. In this part of the country there is no "evergreen" unless there is a stream nearby or irrigation is happening. Unlike the heavy rain areas along the coast there are not many giant plants around here.
This is the Columbia looking upriver near the Or./Wa. border. That is Pasco Wa. in the distance. Note the train rolling along the left side of pic. There is a lot of train traffic on both sides of the river and if I had waited about 20 minutes I think I could have gotten a pic with trains running along both shores at the same time.
I had to climb up the side of a pretty steep bluff to get this picture and learned another lesson. It is much easier climbing up this terrain that climbing down, lot of very loose rock and prickly plants. Took a spill on way down and left some skin up there. Fortunately former nurse Monica/Miss Sassy packed an excellent first aid kit and all is well.
Another good day to be alive and on a bike. Rode about 55 miles and enjoyed it all. Stopped twice for refreshing irrigation spray showers. I do not know where they are getting thier water but it is COLD.
Now into jack rabbit country and one actually hopped ahead of me along side of road for about a half mile. He kept stopping and looking back with a kind of smirk on his rabbit face as I caught up with him. He must be related to that hare that raced the turtle. Although the traffic moves pretty fast on nthese roads there is very little road kill to be seen. Maybe it gets cleaned up quicker than Ohio roads where it is hard to drive a mile w/o seeing a dead groundhyog, possum, racoon or deer.
Going to stay an extra day in Walla Walla and check out the town, maybe even see a movie tonight. I asked a local college kid "why the name Walla Walla" and he told me that "this town is so cool they had to name it twice." I get the feeling that this is a standard line used around here everytime some tourist asks the question.
It is a good thing we do not do this practice in Ohio because there would be a Webster Webster, Russia Russia , Brock Brock, and Coldwater Coldwater on all the maps.
Got a cool email from Hans Rehrmann from Celina Ohio yesterday. If you have not already heard of Hans he is the Chuck Norris of Mercer County bicycleists. He is what I consider a real bike guy and has done it all , old school style. He is an inspiration to wannabes like me . Hans is recovering from a nasty spill while riding in North Carolina and I wish him a speedy recovery and a quick return to his bike seat. If you want check out his blog --it is very interesting