Tuesday, Day 35
I didn’t think I’d have much to write about tonight, since today was a dull, rainy day and we spent all of it driving. The only interesting place we stopped was at large produce and chocolate market somewhere along Hwy 84 or Hwy 385. They’ve all just melted together by now. We did buy some nice fruit and a couple of ears of corn for supper. Once we’d crossed into Washington State the terrain became very flat and monotonous. Earlier in the day there had been RV Parks about every five miles along the road. At six o’clock when we decided it was about time to camp for the night, none could be found. The few small towns that we passed seemed to have only a hotel or two. By the time we saw a sign for Lind that indicated there were “services” we were in need of gas, so we drove the two miles into town. That’s when the trip became more interesting!
A billboard on the edge of town told of its claim to fame: The Lion’s Club Combine Demolition Derby! A field across the street was full of smashed up combines. There was a faded sign for a motel a little further on, but the building next to it had peeling paint and old rusty cars parked out front. We were feeling rather sceptical of finding even gas. A place to park for the night was probably out of the question. But, a sign listing five churches in the town and a Medical Clinic gave us new hope. At the first cross roads we saw a gas station. It was closed. At the next was another that was open 24 hrs. When we drove up to the pumps no one was around. While Jim was trying to figure out the price and procedure, an SUV pulled up and the driver rolled down his window.
“Have you bought gas here before?” he asked.
“No,” said Jim.
“There’s a better place that’s cheaper. Just go to this corner and up three blocks.”
Off we went in search of it. Nearly empty lots everywhere contained rusted out farm machinery or automobiles, and gas tanks. We found a place that had some pumps, but again no one was around, so we went back to the corner. Finding nothing else, we turned around to go back and investigate it further. As we made the turn, a tall, frail woman in jeans and a plaid shirt appeared on the lawn of the corner house. There was something strange about her face. She was pointing and talking to us. When we stopped and I opened the window we saw that she had an oxygen tube in her nose and 40 feet of hose was dragging behind her!
“Are you looking for gas?” she asked. “Just go to the end of the street and around the corner.”
We thanked her and returned to the place we’d just been, shaking our heads in amazement. It was a derelict town, but the residents were certainly friendly.
We got some gas and headed back towards the highway. The woman was in her window and waved as we drove past. An old man and a younger woman stood outside the tavern smoking cigarettes. They waved to us too.
By now it was nearly 7:30 and we still hadn’t found a place to stop to eat and sleep. A few more miles up the road we saw a sign for a restaurant, and below it another sign said “RV Park”. We saw two other motor homes beside the restaurant. Jim went in to inquire about overnight parking.
When he returned he said, “That’s the park, there in front of us. It has 30 amp and water and it’s only $15, and we can have any site we want.”
I laughed, looking at the bits of pavement that wound through clumps of tumbleweed and scruffy shrubs. A closer look revealed the electrical posts and water taps half hidden in the long grass. This was indeed the RV Park and we were the only ones there.
We didn’t care. We had a place to eat and sleep. That’s all we needed. A while later one of the other motor homes pulled in beside us, so now we’re not alone.
Tomorrow we should be in Kaslo, if all goes well.
This sounds like something out of a movie. “Last Picture Show”, which was set in Texas, not Washington, but still had a collection of characters such as the ones you met.
It’s good that you are writing this blog–you’d never remember all of these neat stories when you got home.
Glad you’re going to Kaslo.
Happy Trails and say “hi” to the young ‘uns for me.