My friend took me out for breakfast, yesterday. I ate well and later on that day, I was glad that I did.
Then, she took me a few miles out of town and dropped me off.
I walked from there to Mount Vernon, Oregon and then walked through that town and kept on walking...
...until a young man who said that he was heading for Portland, stopped his funky van and picked me up.
I ate two cheese sticks and a large jerky stick and that was it for the day. He dropped me off at a highway junction point that is totally OUT IN THE MIDDLE OF NOWHERE. Tall mountains stand in a circle around the roads and there are no lights around there, at all.
I tried and tried to get someone to stop and pick me up but no one did. And after the sun disappeared behind one of the mountains, I knew that I was going to have to find another place to stay for the night.
A sign said that a visitor center is two miles up the other highway. I pictured an expanded rest area with open bathrooms, cameras, a main building and a group of truckers, fast asleep in their big rigs.
So, I pointed my cane toward the next mile-marker and slowly made my way up the hill.
After I walked through the first mile, I sat down on the guardrail, by the river and yelled, "HELLLOOOOOO!" at the top of my lungs. There was no one in sight...no vehicles...no ranch house lights...nothing.
After I yelled, a pack of coyotes howled back. So, I reared back my head and let loose with a loud, arrogant alpha female howl of my own. The echo of my voice reverberated between the mountains.
It was as if the coyotes were processing that response and discussing how they should proceed. Then, in unison, they sent one more howl across the river and then they were quiet.
I smiled and kept on trudging, through the growing darkness, up the hill toward the visitor's center.
When I finally reached the building, I noticed that it was dimly lit and there was a gate across the driveway. I walked around the gate and around the main building to the other side. I was now invisible from the road.
Fortunately, the outside of the rest room building was lit up but unfortunately, both bathrooms were locked. A nice, long wooden bench, in front of that building, became my bed for the night.
It was cold when I finally gathered my things and walked back out to the road. I wanted to leave by first light and I did. The visitor's center includes an outside drinking fountain so I left cold but I was hydrated.
I felt the chilly wind close around me as I walked, slowly and painfully, back down the hill. When I got back to the same junction point, again, I prayed for a good ride. And I finally got one.
An older man, with a sweet female dog, stopped his van/RV and helped me into the front seat. Then he gave me two Aleve, stopped for coffee and then he drove me through some wild outback terrain and several communities to the city of Redmond.
I am here in a motel in Redmond, tonight. I took a hot bath and am now noshing on peanut butter and jam sandwiches. They are going down nicely with strawberry/melon-flavored Diet Mountain Dew.