Midway through Olympic National Park, I shot up to the Makah Indian Reservation. There is a spot there that is the farthest northwest point available in the contiguous 40 odd states and sundry commonwealths. I am planning on an addendum to my trip. During school, I'm going to get to the farthest southwest point available. It will probably be around San Diego. After school, I am seeking employment around the Gulf of Mexico. I can think of no better time to aim for Mile 0 Florida. The best part about Florida? It is NEVER 40 degrees and raining. This begs the question "What about Maine?" to which I can respond "I think I'll walk there." After working for a year or so, I plan to hike the Appalacian Trail. I know that underwater welders are in demand and can get a great deal of time off. The preliminary plan is to put my bike on the auto train in Georgia, and start a-walkin'. I will investigate that plan further as my current plans come to fruition. After finishing the AT, I plan to fly to Cooperstown, NY, buy a whitewater canoe (or buy one online and have it shipped to a P.O. Box there) and ride the mighty Susquehanna from Otsego Lake to Ocean City, MD.
But I digress. The previous entry merely mentioned that I went to the corner, not why. I spouted some vows at that magical place, and squelched down the coast to Portland. On the trip down, I noted that everything is covered in a green moss, or lichen. When I say everything, I don't just limit to organics. EVERYTHING, including, but not limited to: the leaves, the bark, the dirt, the trails, the roads, the other cars, and what's left of my riding jacket. I met up with Johnny, a transplanted friend from Baltimore. For those of you who do not know this man, a brief, but effective description is in order. Wears a child's size 14 jacket comfortably, has the haircut and walk of an anime super-villain, has tattooed blue arms (yes, they go all the way up), a deep seeded love of philosophy, pilandering, and other things that begin with ph, and the man has an aphinity (sic) for picking up languages (he slips into German in the middle of a conversation). He had a 2 hour mid-term to take an hour after I arrived, and I figured that I should let him study. He slipped the keys into my hand, and I went to the bar downstairs. 60 minutes later, I ran upstairs to wring myself out. I changed clothes and put my boots on the window ledge. One fell off. I figured that I'll just run downstairs and get it. Click, rattle... guess who locked the keys inside........ AGAIN!!! It seems to follow me wherever I go. I can't wait to get my own house, with my own keys that I can keep on my own belt loop so I can stop locking myself out of other people's places. Back to the bar. After 2 hours of booze and pool, I met a fellow named "Ace" and we played a game where we blow stuff up. Johnny came in shortly after this game had ended, ready for an evening of drunken debauchery. He discovered the plight that we were in, that damnable key driven plight, and handled the situation coolly and efficiently. The night begins. Johnny and I play the game where we blow stuff up, and started drinking in a legendary fashion. The rest of the evening is a haze of pushing pull doors and meandering aimlessly about the town, both of us babbling incoherencies about what we had done recently. This was Thursday. Friday, Johnny decided not to go to work. We took off walking again, this time with an aim. Portland is the City of Roses as it proclaims proudly on many a bridge. We walked about the city's central rose garden, and its' surrounding parks. When we tired of this, my host recommended the Elephant Delicatessen as a soup house worth its merit. I leapt immediately for the cheese counter.
The Sunday in Seattle when I said "did other stuff", I actually bought a quarter pound of Tallegio Cheese, ate half of it, and brought the other half with me into the Dead Sea Scrolls exhibit. I figured that old paper and old cheese would go well together. I was right. After that exhibit, I finished my cheese, went to the butterfly house (few things are as oddly pleasant as having butterflies light on your chest), and checked out their (very small) exhibit on bugs. There is a bug called the Australian Prickly Stick (on that continent, whatever isn't sharp is poisonous). It looks very much like its' name. There is one in Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom. What an australian bug is doing in India is beyond me....
"Do you have anything stronger than Tallegio?" I ask the fromagere. "Of course, smell this." What he handed me was a plastic wrapped semicircle of the most vile, stench ridden, colloid that I have ever encountered in my life. It was definitely derived from milk, but I fear that the cow from whom that milk was taken had been dead for at least a week. "Smells great, I'll take a quarter pound." Johnny and I got our soups and he bounced into a friend of his. The three of us ran errands to second hand stores (I got a great book on chinese cooking that I can't wait to use), the grocery, and the video shop. All the while, as this time is passing, the bouquet of my cheese is rising, wafting, and trying to join in the conversation (it had taken on a life of its' own). I firmly believe that we would not have gotten nearly as much done had my cheese's smell not tried to corner everyone around us and ask for their phone number. The three of us had an unspoken agreement that if we kept moving from place to place, perhaps the smell would not linger long enough to offend someone so greatly that they would mace us.
Our errands complete, the four of us (I have named the smell Stanley) returned to Johnny's apartment, and his friend departed, citing previous engagements. We invited her up to his place, but she seemed to fear that Stanley should not be contained in such a small environment... that a personality so strong should be left in the outdoors where it can introduce itself to strangers. I disagreed, and Johnny said nothing until we got to his apartment. He started making dinner, and I felt that now was an appropriate time to introduce Stanley to the concept of appetizers. I grabbed a plate, slab of bread, a knife, and unleashed Stanley on Johnny's home. At first, I merely opened a window, and then turned on a fan, and then 2 fans, and then the bathroom fan. This was all before I even got the knife into the cheese. By the time I spread my first bite onto my bread, Johnny was frying garlic in the hopes that it might conceal the wretchedness of Stanley. Before his neighbors started to complain, I had the first bite of cheese in my mouth. The texture of this cheese was outstanding. It was smooth and velvety and almost wanted to melt down your throat. The flavor of this cheese was akin to having a very small and very persistent gnome cold rivet a rollercoaster to your sinuses while being beaten repeatedly in the nose by an over-agressive moose. That melting feeling that I thought was the cheese, wasn't. It was my throat in meltdown. In true Pete fashion, I thought to myself "it couldn't have been that bad". The second bite was slightly better than the first. It was more like being smacked in the nose by a wet dog's tail, and the sinal gnome was only jumping on a trampoline. It was around the third bite that the smoke alarm went off. One of the burners had some oil on it that was smoking heavily. In my hurry to fan the smoke away from the sensor, I "accidentaly" dropped the rest of the cheese out the window.
About 4 whole cloves of garlic, and many many sprigs of Oregano later, Stanley had decided that taking up permanent residence in Johnny's abode was a poor idea, and joined his moosey and gnomey brothers on the ground outside the building. The worst part of this story is, I don't remember the name of the cheese, so I am doomed to meet Stanley once again.
To be continued...
where you'll meet
and Pete's cycle trouble
Post Scriptum: Although the initial idea for this leg of the journey was to head south via Crater lake, and to swing by the Sequoias, I have decided that 20 degree nights really don't sound appealing to me after a full day of riding, so I am sticking to my initial plans. I took 101 to the Pacific Coastal Highway. Lots of Redwoods, lots of hairpin turns. More on my next publication.
first Degobah, then Endor, next stop Tatooine Pete
Questions?, Comments?, Hate Mail? Send it to Pete or John
11/18/06 Issue 17 - Moregon
11/06/06 Issue 16.2 - Metal Ist Krieg!! Cont'd
10/31/06 Issue 16.1 - Metal Ist Krieg!!
10/27/06 Issue 15 - Cape May to Cape Flattery or
10/23/06 Issue 14.2 - 2 days in dutch and the steam out
10/17/06 Issue 14.1 - Seattle to Dutch
08/25/06 Issue 13 - Holy Mackerel!!!
08/22/06 Issue 12 - Ever heard the verb shunt?
08/18/06 Issue 11 - Close but no cigar
08/14/06 Issue 10 - On the hunt
08/09/06 Issue 9 - I've really been at my parent's house this whole time.
08/07/06 Issue 8 - Nooooorth Dakota where the wind comes sweeping down the plains
08/02/06 Issue 7 - Grooves, Grates and Gravel
07/30/06 Issue 6 - Moon Over Parma
07/28/06 Issue 5 - I LEAVE TOMORROW!!!!!!!
07/24/06 Issue 4 - Why Jersey, and what's the holdup?
07/23/06 Issue 3 - Is this fraud? and Welcome to Delaware
07/22/06 Issue 2 - MVA, Headaches and Miracles
07/21/06 Issue 1 - Mission Statement