Friday, October 29, 2010

The Northern Cascades Fall Colors Caravan - Day 5, The Journey South & Home

Another week, and the last of the tale of the Fall Colors Caravan at last :).

I'm at the Cigar bar, as usual, however, this time I'm at a different one. This time, I'm writing to you from The Sports Den which is part of The Mark, on Canyon Road in Beaverton, Oregon.

In the past, this was my regular cigar haunt, however, I moved away from visiting it as often when they decided to change things around and try and put on a "High Dollar" image.

The Bartender that my friends and I loved was replaced with not-too-much-brains female bartenders who were there for looks, but not really all that useful when it came to knowing squat about a good cigar other than recommending whatever happened to be the most expensive.

The food got more expensive, and couple that with the place's regular shortcoming of closing at 11pm, and finding Greater Trumps proved to be a Godsend.

But, tonight, I didn't feel like sitting in my booth, which isn't what I'd call all that comfortable or conducive to writing for extended periods of time. A regular chair and a regular height table are so much more comfortable for typing long periods at!

And so, that leaves me off to tell you about my journey home from the end of the Fall Colors Rally.

* * * *

Day 5's Journey

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Highway 97 carried me away from Leavenworth and its Bavarian charms, and soon wrapped me up in green embrace. The number of people sharing the road with me gradually dwindled till finally, I was by myself weaving amongst the hills.

Till I came over the crest of one hill and the trees fella away like the curtains on a stage drawn open and rain worn sandy hills surrounded me and the only tall things were the massive wind power plants.

As I made my way down out of the higher elevations amongst the farms of these giant wind turbines, I could appreciably feel the Redneck Express regaining Horse Power and soon we were able to carry along comfortably at 60 mph, with only a light foot on the throttle.

If you actually take a look at this same area via the Google Street View option, not one of these windmills will be visible, they were all built after 2007, as that's roughly the year that most of the Google driving pictures were taken.

Eventually, US Highway 97 deposited me onto Interstate 90/Interstate 82 to journey east for a while before returning to the highway again. Along the way, I made a stopped off in Union Gap to take on fuel.

My last set of photos brings me to the town of Toppenish, WA a neat little town inside of the Yakima Nation's Tribal Reservation.

Why the last?

Remember a post or two back when I spoke about screaming belts and burnt rubber smell? It was shortly after that last picture was taken that the drive belt that drives the power steering pump and is also one of the two belts that drives the water pump let go with a loud "BANG!" against the inside of the hood.

So, not wanting to push my luck by trying to drive with only one belt driving the water pump and no power steering, I turned around and made my way back into Toppenish. The town does have an autoparts store, but it was already closed for the day by the time I reached town.

So, I left a message for work that I wouldn't be able to make it in the next day and overnighted in town. I don't even remember what the name of the place was I stayed at, by this point the Trip was over, and most things were starting to become a blur in memory, much in the same way that it happened to John Steinbeck towards the end of Travels with Charlie.

* * * *

The next morning, I went back to the Autoparts store, bought a new belt and did my best to to carve my arms up while removing all but one of the belts to install the new power steering belt and then re-tension them again.

It was getting on in the day again, so I snapped a few more photos as I reached Goldendale, WA, last stop before the Biggs Bridge crossing back into Oregon. I stopped by the observatory, but sadly, they're only open three days of the week, of which Tuesday is not included :p.

That pretty much wraps up my Fall Caravan tale, after I crossed the bridge into Oregon, the sun was almost completely gone, so I power drove on home, dropped Moby back with the misses and her mum (He was happy to see everyone after his journey with me), visited the misses and some of my family a while and went to bed.

Not the most exciting and colorful of endings to a tale, but it still brings to close my first big Washington Ramble. I look forward to doing it again, and I thank you all for reading along with me as Moby and I made our 5 day trip.

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