Saturday, June 02, 2007

Coming Home

Yes, we are back home in Salem, Oregon safe and sound. Domesticity has set in again. Today we planted an herb garden and some lettuce plants, both of which Malcolm wants badly to destroy. He is plotting, I can tell. By the way, he was very glad to have his people back, and he's been repaying us for leaving him behind ever since we got home. Soon I will sell him on eBay.

Before going further, here's a short description of the final days of our journey.

Las Vegas was hot, the traffic was terrible, but it was all worth it to spend a couple of days with Dusty's sister, April. I wish I could put April's giggle in this blog - it would brighten up everyone's day. Oh, and that's Murphy the cat on the table between them.

After leaving Las Vegas, we had our most interesting travel day (if you're into panic and thoughts of old horror movies). Having once visited Pyramid lake, near Reno, I suggested that we drive that way instead of staying on the main roads. It was, after all, Memorial Day weekend and neither of us were too keen on maneuvering through heavy traffic.

There are very few towns between Las Vegas and Pyramid Lake. More out of boredom than a craving for chewy meat, I excitedly yelled "fresh jerky" when I saw a small store along the road advertising this treat. We went inside, picked up a bag of jerky and a big jar of cactus honey (for my mother), then spent ten minutes or so listening to the grizzled owner (of course in the Nevada desert, the owner would have to be "grizzled") give us directions on the best way to get to Salem. He talked and talked, and we understood some of it; he drew involved maps on a brown paper bag that we later couldn't decipher. Finally, we tore ourselves away. I don't think he gets many visitors. Many miles down the road we realized we had left the jerky behind. Oh well -on to Pyramid Lake.

Pyramid Lake is quite an unexpected sight when you've been driving for several hours through the barren sagebrush desert of Nevada. It's quite large with lots of interesting pyramid shaped rock formations around it. We congratulated ourselves on taking the road less traveled and finding such a refreshing spot. Right up to the time that the paved road ended and we found ourselves going about 20 mph on gravel and kicking up dust like crazy.

At this point I realized I had misread the map. What I thought was a "scenic route" was in fact an "unpaved road". But I wasn't concerned - it didn't look like a very long stretch of road. An hour (and maybe 25 miles) later, I began to get concerned. Dusty had been concerned for quite a long time and was nearing hysteria by this point. Just before her head would have exploded, we saw a pickup pulling a horse trailer approaching from the other direction. This was the first sign of life we'd seen since hitting the gravel road. The driver and his two dogs all spoke in a slightly German accent. We were told that we'd get to some town we'd never heard of if we just kept on the way we were going. On we went to someplace.

Half an hour later, still on the gravel road, we saw another pickup truck, this time behind us. We were encouraged that someone actually wanted to go wherever it was that we were going. We let the pickup truck pass us and we waved the driver down. He told us to follow him and he'd get us to the paved road, which he did. We then discovered we were in California, considerably south of where we had intended to cross the border. But we didn't care. We were off that stupid gravel road and we hadn't run out of gas and we hadn't pulled over an ax murderer to ask for directions, and we were never going to Pyramid Lake again.

So, another trip is history. It was definitely a success but we were very glad to get home.

Thanks for coming along for the ride.

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