Back in our primes again - Northwest passages: riding out the storm - CycleBlaze

March 23, 2020 to March 24, 2020

Back in our primes again

A birthday to remember

It’s Rachael’s birthday!  Woo, hoo!  We’re looking for any excuse to celebrate now, and this is certainly one.  We start by driving over to Zupan’s Market to pick up provisions, a special breakfast frittata for the special girl, and a humongous, colorful treat for later.

Yuge! This should be good for a day or two, or maybe to share with a friend. As If.
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And this isn’t just any old birthday, either.  We’re back in our primes again - I’m 73 of course, and she’s once again an unspecified prime number that you’re free to speculate on.  43 would be a diplomatic choice, to offer one suggestion.  This is the last time we’ll both be in our primes for another six years, so we want to make it count.  Our plan is to hide out somewhere quiet until the storm passes and hope against hope that we still get to take that ride from Copenhagen to Rome this fall that we’ve been dreaming about and have already purchased our flight for.

So, celebrating is definitely on the agenda for today; but the more urgent task is to finalize plans for where we move on to next, since we have to leave this place tomorrow.  There’s been some locally big news that we fear might affect our plans.  Yesterday Astoria and some of the other coastal communities began closing their doors to outsiders, and giving visitors 24 hours to leave town; so we’re suddenly unsure of whether we’ll be welcomed in The Dalles and John Day after all.  We spend a lot of time researching other local options, including talking with our current host about a place she has in Wilsonville that will be free soon.  She’s a wonderful host, and we’d be happy to stay here or anywhere else she has available.  We feel guilty tying up any of her time discussing it though, because she’s a physician at Providence Hospital and her life has turned insane in the last few days.

In the meantime we keep hearing from our planned hosts in The Dalles, where we’re booked for the rest of March.   They started contacting us yesterday, expressing concerns that we might get stuck and not be able to leave.   They never say it outright, but I think they’re suddenly uncomfortable hosting us.  

Finally in the early evening everything settles out.  We get in touch with our host in John Day, who’s reassuring and ready to welcome us.  He can let us check in earlier, the day after tomorrow, so we lengthen that stay to five weeks, cancel our place in The Dalles, and book a room for just tomorrow night at The Dalles Inn for the remaining one day gap.  Looks like we won’t have to sleep in the Jetta after all!

For Rachael’s birthday dinner, we have a choice.  I lobby for a house call from Boober Eats, Portland’s new take-out option that’s a reinvention of the Lucky Devil Lounge, a strip joint that’s been shut down during the Coronavirus crisis.  Apparently Governor Brown has concluded that strip joints don’t qualify as an essential business.  The owner is trying to keep his staff employed in the meantime and had the brainstorm to change the line of business, with the bouncers redeployed as drivers and the dancers making home deliveries in fetchingly immodest outfits.

Regrettably though, Rachael supports the effort to keep the workers employed but really has her heart set on another grilled salmon meal.  It’s her birthday, so we go with that.

The same meal we ordered four nights ago, but this time I actually get the chicken I’d asked for. It’s a celebration, so we add some class by serving up our meal on plates rather than just eating out of the box.
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Susan CarpenterDelighted to share in the celebration - Happy Birthday Rachel!
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2 months ago
Susan CarpenterDelighted to share in the celebration - Happy Birthday Rachel!
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2 months ago
Rachael AndersonTo Susan CarpenterThanks.
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2 months ago

It ain’t Austin

If you’ve been with us from the beginning, you’ll remember that the plan for today was to fly down to Austin for the start of a three week tour of the Texas Hill Country.  Well, we ain’t going to Austin, folks.  We’re going to the John Day country instead, which now that we’ve settled to it sounds like at least an appealing a way to spend the spring.

Our pace today is pretty leisurely.  We’re spending tonight in The Dalles, only an hour and a half up the gorge, so we’re in no big hurry.  We spend most of the morning packing up, loading the car, and cleaning up the unit.  We split responsibilities, with Rachael doing most of the cleaning and me packing the car.  I lost count, but between packing the car and taking out the garbage and recycling, I must have taken about eight round trips from the 23rd floor to the basement.

Finally, about noon we lock the door and head east.

What a team! Plenty of work for the both of us, but we came through. Go, Andersons!
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And I do mean pack the car. After all these years, I’ve really come to appreciate the Jetta. It’s the perfect car for us.
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The drive east up the gorge is as beautiful as ever.  It’s lightly raining until around Cascade Locks, but after that the sky starts breaking up a bit.  Looking at the dramatic cloud formations ahead, we get excited at the thought of the colorful days to come.  I expect we’ll see everything - thunderstorms, rainbows, frosty mornings, snow on the Strawberry Range.  It will be great.

It’s a different ride today though.  There’s little traffic, and much of it consists of trucks.  Nearly every exit we pass is marked to indicate a closed state park, and the exit to Multnomah Falls is barricaded.  Overhead signs flash COVID-19 alerts.

We arrive at our inn about 1:30 and check in early.  There are few guests, and our room has been ready since mid-morning.   And, it’s a bargain - the rate is less than half what it usually is.  I chat with the woman at the counter, and she tells me she’s thinking of moving on to Wyoming until this darkness blows over.  She hears there have been very few positive cases there so far, so she should be safer.

After lunch in our room we walk down to the waterfront for a walk along the river.  Social distancing comes easy - we only see one other person on the path in the next hour and a half.  And The Dalles is a large place, compared to John Day.  We have a very quiet month in our future, probably the quietest we’ve ever spent together.

Looking east across the small houseboat marina.
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So what direction is our weather coming from?
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The Dalles bridge and dam.
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Looking upriver from the Lewis and Clark Rock Fort campsite. It looks about time to head back to the room if we don’t wish to get soaked.
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Gregory GarceauHappy Birthday, Rocky!
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2 months ago
Jen GrumbyHappy Birthday Rachael!

Looking forward to the Great John Day Anderson Adventures!
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2 months ago
Mike AylingPrimes - that makes Rachel 61.
Scott, you are going to need an e-bike or get Rachel to stoke for you on a tandem, or she could captain and you could stoke weakly!
Just wait until you get to my age (born 1942)

Mike
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2 months ago
Scott AndersonTo Mike AylingWell, it looks like we have a math giant in the crowd. Well done!

You could be right - it won’t be shocking to find me on an ebike before Rachael gets there. I think she’ll help forestall that day though, by challenging me to keep in the game. I’m sure I put in more miles because I’m with her than I would on my own.
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2 months ago