Walla Walla River
Took US Highway 730 to the Washington border. Transferred to US Highway 12, which I will be on for a few days. Met a guy who lives out of his bike. I mean that literally. He's probably homeless, although it was hard to tell. His trailer was completely cobbled together: plywood and recycled bits of iron. Said he built it for twenty bucks. Also says he got his bike for two bucks. He rides it about 20 or 30 miles a day, sets up camp and fishes, then picks up and starts all over. Sounds like a pretty good retirement.
No tailwind, but it wasn't exactly a headwind this morning. Just couldn't seem to get up to speed. Toward the end it was rather obvious the winds had switched and I was heading into a steady stream of air. The recumbent presents a bigger profile than I anticipated.
The last few miles of Oregon were all scrub land. The sagebrush smells pretty good. Cattle trucks everywhere. Two of them pass and they smell like band aids from some sort of disinfectant. Heading into Walla Walla the scrub gradually gave way to onion fields. Every second home had a sign advertising "Walla Walla Sweets". People were growing them in their front yards. Plenty of wheat fields also. Rolling hills with patches of green wheat on them surrounded by scrub. From a distance they looked like putting greens on some giant golf course. Generally treeless country, but the small towns are green and cool. Did people settle here because of the trees or do the trees grow here because of the people?
In Walla Walla I came across a camouflaged panel van with guys in military uniforms toting rifles. At first I thought they were the National Guard. They swaggered around the highway as if they belonged there. On closer inspection they were genuine Pacific Northwest militia freaks. Protecting their Christian nation from the black helicopters. Actually I have no idea what they were up to, but it looked seriously weird. They seemed nervous when I said "Hi" to them. In New York and the rest of the nation they'd be called a gang and the local TV news would have concerned report about them.
I am really feeling baked by the sun. It's been 90 degrees for most of the day. Saw a half dozen dust devils, some quite tall (maybe 200 foot). The forecast calls for showers later in the afternoon, but I didn't see a cloud in the sky. I've got a really nasty burn on my forehead and the tops of my legs. No sunscreen can outlast this sun.
It's overcast now (7:16 PDT). Scattered thundershowers for the next few days. Mountains ahead with a 2500 foot pass. I don't think we're any higher than 700 feet in Dayton. Oh yeah, and it's the Fourth of July weekend tomorrow. I'm not looking forward to the ride. It just started raining (7:26 PDT). I'll phone this out in a little while. In Umatilla when I tried to call out I got the "all circuits busy" tone. I haven't heard that one since I was a kid. Last word: The horses are watching me. They honestly look perplexed and freak out when I talk to them.