Friday October 10th

Were not half way through Kansas,  above Wichita,  on our way toward Kansas city.   It’s 5 Am,  we’ve been fortunate to have had too many passengers to fit on 1 bus,  so back in Denver,  after an additional hour in line, we were divided  onto 2 busses.   We managed to keep a full 2 seats each,  and this was a long overnight trek.   I slept well for at least 4 hours,  and stretch out.   This bus is new looking,  and clean.  The driver,  Beverly has a great personality and a confident,  commanding presence.   Perhaps this is due in part to her copilot or bouncer sitting beside her.

So we had stopped at a McDonald’s  (SOP) last night,  and wouldn’t it figure that of all 30 passengers,  Oli would be the one person  to almost get left behind.   I warned her of the time,  she ignores me (as she’s prone to do),  calling attention to the other dozen or so passengers also still present and finishing their meals (past the stated time limit).   I knew that most people can eat faster and ready themselves more efficiently than she.

As we all sit,  waiting for her,  the driver,  clearly upset,  stepped off to retrieve her,  all the while saying   “this is Greyhound,  not hound dog,  we will not come after you.”  I noticed that this is also SOP.  These drivers say one thing,  and do another.   They say we may take a maximum of 5 minutes or 10 minutes,   but we always go over this.

Our itinerary would not neatly fit in any email,  here is the essence.:
Arnold

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We parted with a young hippies son in Fort Collins.   A happy-go-lucky, blonde, good-looking kid of 18 years,  he had an adventurous spirit.   This was a ride for experience only,  as his lawyer adopted dad could have sent him via non-barbaric means. Off to enter Navy,  after a short season’s work as an outdoor activities assistant at a ski resort (the one where The Shining was filmed.   He was a free – spirited Portland boy.

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Thursday October 9th

In Evanston WY.   Pulled In to a truck stop with a

    Taco Time

store.  Actually got some sleep on this,  the second,  bus.  So,  when touring cross country,  I had no idea that some of the most interesting people would be on the bus home.   Most people were sleepily standing in line,  waiting for the transfer,  Then she appeared: a dancing and singing woman (but that’s not the weird part).   Several other folks have revealed strange behavior not too unlike this.   She had a baby carrier (a front-loader/feeder type).   Wait,  there’s more…..    As she jostled around,  reeling in her, likely, drug induced vogue/Macarana moves.  We,  the line people, looked on.   TO most,  this was just another day at the terminal.  To a few of us unseasoned greyhounders,  she was pure entertainment.   We threatened one another with the prospect of her choosing to sit with us.   Oh,  I almost forgot to mention,  the baby was fake. A plastic one,  with brown newborn veins painted on all over its head.   Should I ask about baby?   Does she think it’s real?
After a MacDonald’s stop and smoke break,  the after lunch conversation centered around which drug addictions are worse,  most spoke from experience  (and were proud to share).   Oli commented with a snicker “a conversation everyone can join in.”
Many of these folks remind me of some difficult former students.   This resemblance became clearer as the driver attempted to read the policies.   “I mean it,  I’m not gonna give anymore warnings,  no smoking on  the bus, ” he scolded.   I suppose this is part of their zero tolerance policy they keep reminding us of.   It’s kinda like the Fed- up shopping mom giving her child yet another warning that will clearly never materialize:” I’m gonna count to ten!,  nine,  ten,  ok i mean it this time!  Stop it…. ”

The driver stops speaking,  requests that we listen,  waits for compliance before finishing.  In this situation,  He has an advantage that classroom teachers do not.   When he does this waiting game,  riders know that their trip length,  connections all hinge on their shutting up.   Whereas,  students don’t mind your waiting to continue lecture and wasting class time.

So,  some bus drama…  The mentally ill or drugged lady peed in her seat,  was loud and almost kicked off,  the peanut gallery had to elevate the issue,  and make fun of her (till we told them to stop being cruel to her).  
Another one…   A black guy walking to he bathroom mistakenly pushed a lady’s 2 year old (mom’s been all about drama since Portland).   He apologized,  but she continued to scold him,  the threats got loud.   Our Sicilian army neighbor stood between them (he’s built like a truck).  The driver kicked pee-girl off, I’m glad the driver let her back on the  bus,  she’s clearly messed up and has No one.
He black boys are getting  very loud now. Glad I have headphones 🙂

Wednesday October 8

Shipping out on greyhound.   At 3am this morning,  I saw the Eclipse.   The moon had a shadow cast by the sun through Earth   I’m told that this is one of four times this year (unusually frequent).   They call it a blood moon,  I guess it’s suppose to be red from light bending around Earth on its way to illuminate the moon.   From our hosts home, we walked up Council Crest (it was believed by locals that early natives met up there to discuss governance (and smoke interesting stuff no doubt ).   Speaking  of stuff,  we could have traveled over the river and bought marijuana legally – just for fun.   I don’t care for messing up my thinking ,  let alone my lungs. Moreover , I’m not admitting to have tried it before (not on this blog) But,  I did think it’d be cool to say that I bought pot,  especially to my pot- loving brother- Pete.
The stone wall circling the mountain top had a diameter that allowed for reflected sound to return to the center; regardless of which direction one turns &  shouts (a telephone effect).   This is fun,  also views East (Mt. Hood)  and West?   (MT St Helens and Adams).
So we arrived at the station at 11 for a 12 o’clock departure (right).   It was 1250 when we pulled out.   The driver was late to work it appears.   This fella is filling  in,  bless him.   He’s from NC (so he’s a bit off – you know those NC types- Bill W).
We were scheduled to stop at 42 bus stations across the USA.   Even the greyhound security man felt sorry for us upon hearing of this journey.   The seats are surprisingly comfortable (will I agree after 3500 miles ?) Spotty WiFi and USB power make it tolerable.
Passed Dalles city cycle, the guy was very helpful with Oli’s damaged hub, as we recall.
One nice man who was very personable at the Portland terminal left his backpack on the bus after our first break stop (he never returned to the bus). I saw him arguing  with himself beside the bus, just minutes earlier. A kind lady, with a toddler, had exchanged cell numbers with him earlier, and so she appointed herself to get his bag back to him. She sympathizes with him, since they both are at different stages of rehab. She maintains a constant, and Loud report with little Jason, as he babbles in a 2 year old’s code.: a language only he, some space aliens, other new speakers, and perhaps mom can comprehend. He’s remarkably quiet now, as the sandman calls. Even mom, who has not relaxed her larynx since Portland, is toning down. Earlier, with a cell signal present, she was quite loud as her husband, and 40 passengers got to hear her relay vital information, such as our current location and how she’d prepared nuts and chips for his snack. The frequent calls reminded me of others that I know, who use their cell to call, seemingly because they can. I’m happy to inform that I rarely waste time and money calling, unless there is a definite, valid reason (“hey, I killed your cat by mistake” or “hi mom, yea, all well, except the cancer”). No, I waste my time and money texting and surfing the Web: endeavors that disturb no one around me.

So, were climbing some mountains Mouth has haulted her constant chatter with all but her son. She continues to ask him questions. Current child rearing advise applauds this kind of exchange, call and response, and even better yet, asking questions requiring more detailed thinking and answers.

Our driver has made it clear that he is in charge, with a firm, commanding voice, as he reads the In- flight safety verbatim. All are quiet except, guess who? We are trying to recover 45 minutes as to make our Denver connection., although no breathe – holding here.

Tuesday October 7th

Portland is an happenng city. It’s very granola, people are ecologically conscious and proud of that fact. Shopkeepers pack your belongings into paper bags, if you need a bag that is. I don’t think you can find a plastic grocery bag in the city of Portland – they may arrest me if they find mine. What you can find here are hoards of cyclists, walkers, and joggers. Many people also enjoying reading in front of the coffee shops. Last time I ssaw this many bikes was in Oxford University back in 1991. The roads are used by trams, buses, and bicycles ( oh and and few cars) . Portland has many young energetic people, bicycling mountain climbing just enjoying the outdoors. Many older folks are also very healthy and earth-conscious , surely above average for United States. Not many Bush fans in sight.
MARY LOU and Les are in their mid sixties,  and enjoy regular Cycling,  and walking their beautiful Islandic sheep dogs,  Tiesla ,  and her mother Malá.  Also,  I’m inspired by my hosts energy and interests.   Not only do they read daily,  but both enjoy being involved (language classes,  clubs or projects) – there’s always a full calendar.

From the great pool of Warmshowers hosts,  We’re happy that we chose them (and were accepted with open arms).
WE MET Mary Lou’ s mom (92) and lives alone,  nearby.
I hope all goes well for them,  and maybe someday well see them again (VA,  CZ,  or?).
We packed and shipped the bikes and gear today.   After some investigation and weighing options,  we ended up fed-ex in bikes and gear (we disassembled bikes at Western cycles),  and drove them to the shipping center.
It was so nice having  her car to use for these errands,  this saved us time and energy.
Anxiously awaiting the long bus ride,  I am brainstorming things I can do to minimize the pain in my hamstring. Not the result of biking; it has been hurting for about 1 year. Mostly when I sit.

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COUNTRY CREST VIEW OF MT HOOD (one of Oregon’s volcanoes – and highest mountain).
I really like western OR,  the east is not so great,  desert like, spartan.

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A birds eye view of our tour (the top jagged line).

Monday october sixth

Visited fort Clatsop In Astoria. Lewis & Clark had wintered there beofre returning.  Also saw Cannon beach and haystack rock.  Mary Lu took us with her car (she thought It would be a shame to have biked all this way,  and not seen it).   We bought lunch at a nice little pub Cannon Beach.  The weather,  we’re told,  is unsually beautiful.   It’s a  warm 75,  not humid,  not too windy.   Oli swam in the Pacific,  it’s “not as cold as Maine Atlantic in July” she assured us. ML and I played with the dogs.The pub had outdoor gas heat thing.

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Sunday October 5th

Les’s brother is an artist and a published author of a political sort.  Joe is impressive to see in action.   (I like his book analysis and group interaction among his club mates) . Mary Lou spent 2 years in Nepal in the peace core,  he reenlisted  for another year in Kathmandu,  his was the early 70s.  she retired from her own practice as a psychiatric nurse practitioner,  Les is a semi-retired physician who has many interests – including learning Spanish,  studying Judaism,  and reading.   Both of these people are fun to be around ,

  Tom Stibolt and Lisa Brenner,Joe and Eilene were the book club members present.   They discussed a book about the John Brown raid on Harpers Ferry; the conversation did deviate and we got to know some of them better. Surprised and pleased, we contributed by describing our first-hand accound of H. Ferry, as we had been there many times.

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Sunday October 5th

Less’s brother is an artist and a published author of a political sort.  Allen is impressive to see in action.   (I likes his book analysis and group interaction among he club mates) . Mary Lou spent 2 years in Nepal in the peace core,  he reenlisted  for another year in Kathmandu,  his was the early 70s.  she retired from her er own practice as a psychiatric nurse practitioner,  Les is a semi-retired physician many has many interests – including learning Spanish,  studying Judaism,  and reading.   Both of these people are fun to be around ,

  Tom Stibolt and Lisa Brenner,   Joe and Eilene were the book club members present.   They discussed a book about the John Brown raid on Harpers Ferry (the conversation did deviate and we got to know some of them better.

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