Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Bliss and more bliss.

Shooting stars, satellites, a living night sky. All those wonderments that have made men and women ponder for millenia. I don't get to see these enough and nothing is better than gazing up from the chaise lounge viewing away from Walla Walla lights to see that living night sky. Any light from the house at all, even the little tiny bulb inside the doorbell, any light measurably diminishes the visibility. Caught the very best shooting star ever on Sunday night, sitting out chatting with Marianne Reed. Steve Reed and I watched and counted satellites Monday night.
Such a nice stay! Great company, dinner at Big Table, another dinner at jimgermanbar, searching out orchards for ripeness, peaches and 'cots, mostly. Steve knows so much about the fruits and about the growers, too, from growing up on his family's farm just up the road.
On the way home today, we drove another new route: north to Prescott, then west and north again to Lower Monumental Dam. Lots of fairly ordinary farming landscape and then we came to the dam. The map made it look like we could drive across and continue north, but the way was barred by high security fencing and it looked like we would be turning around to run a 1/2 hour south, forced to return to just where we had
left Hwy 124.
A moment later, a security guard buzzed up in his cart and asked for my ID. He then became very cordial and explained that he would open the gates and escort us across the dam! That was so cool, winding our way on top with the high lake to our right and the drop off to our left with the water pounding through the gates.
Just on the north side of the river is one of the more amazing volcanic rock structures that we have ever seen anywhere. As cooling lava was forced upward by new hot flows from below, the molten rock folded and slumped into remarkable weaves and steps...really something worthy of hours.
We missed Palouse Falls, too bad, and went through the dying little town of Kahlotus, a motley disarray of tired old wood buildings and even more tired mobile homes. Even the fields looked tired. Not a lot of hope for Kahlotus. A little girl standing at the fence of the public swimming pool gave me the sweetest little fingertips wave...
From Kahlotus we moved west through Connell, where things appear to be brighter and better-off. Nothing worth noting from there through Othello and Royal City on to Vantage, except that my favorite restaurant in the area has fallen to pieces since the eponymous "Judy" sold and moved on. Steer clear! One lesson that we are learning is to bring along food. When we are taking these meanders, decent food stops can be few and far between.
We are back in Bellevue now, taking care of days of piled up business matters, and still no outdoor shower. I brought all the materials and Noel worked all day yesterday, but there is still another day of work ahead. It is a simple shelter, straight out of pioneering days, except for lots more clean, clear, hot water!

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