Day 9, October 19, 1997: Hanging around in north-central Washington

I got into Omak, Washington last night a bit late and let my friend Karen know that I was here. Unfortunately, she had already committed to helping somebody get a computer working and so I was unable to spend the day with her. She came to the motel for a quick chat in the morning and then said that she would meet me in the late afternoon in front of the general store in Riverside and lead me to her house. That left me with a day to kill.

To see what I missed in southern Canada the afternoon before, I drove up into the fruit and wine area for a look around. I took the opportunity to buy some BC wine for dinner that night (an OK Pinot noir but nothing to make the folks in Napa sweat). Also drove up into the mountains to the east of Osoyoos for a look around. This must have been a major engineering feat back when it was done because the road is a series of severe switchbacks that seems to be trying to climb a vertical cliff.

That evening when Karen led me to here house I didn't really know what to expect. From the map, it was obviously a fairly remote area. The road, narrow winding but paved, went for 15 miles from Riverside. Then we turned off onto a dirt road where the warning sign at the entry read "Primitive Road". This is local parlance for "hardly a road at all". It followed what must have been a wagon track for 3.5 miles up a fairly steep climb until we stopped at her house. The house itself is a cabin, modernized a bit over the years, built originally by homesteaders in 1898.

We had a nice visit and a very late dinner but my biggest surprise came a bit later. Living around "civilization" has spoiled many things for people but I discovered one that most never think about. Did you know that there are stars? No, not the few that you can see through the light pollution that seems to exist everywhere, but tens of thousands of them. The Milky Way is still there and the overall effect is truly dazzling. Last night I stood outside in absolute blackness for the first time in decades and stared at the sky even though I was in shirt sleeves and the temperature was down to freezing.

Pictures for today are: a view of the Canadian wine and fruit area from way up above and a sign seen at a rest stop (I figured that the anarchists were all in Washington and Idaho on the US side but they must have had some up north); a picture of a "tourist attraction" in Ossoyoos, BC (for sale and it might be just what you are looking for), my friend Karen Sanders, and our waitress for breakfast who didn't believe that she might show up on the Internet. (see, I told you so ).

I will probably be leaving here on Monday after we feed the chickens and ducks here and go tend the neighbor's livestock. Next stop is somewhere in the vicinity of Poulsbo as we continue on the next leg of our 12,000 mile solo tour driving on the edge of the US.


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