Sunday, August 18, 2013

Day 49 Daunted Courage, August 17, 2013

Route: Pomeroy to Walla Walla, Washington

Saya’s (age 6) quote of the day, after passing a dilapidated farmhouse: “That house had saw happier days.” 

We ate breakfast at Tonia’s CafĂ© in Pomeroy, Washington.  As we walked in, the Lewiston Tribune was lying on a table, and Saya said, “Wait, that’s us!”  The front page of the newspaper included a large photo of us on bikes beneath a well-written article by Dylan Brown – a cool way to start the day!

As we cycled out of town, a police car zoomed past us, sirens blaring.  “Maybe he’s speeding after someone who was speeding,” Sho said.

We rode through arid countryside through a valley rimmed by treeless hills.  Ahead we saw perhaps two dozen towering wind turbines atop a range of hills.  Their hulking forms reminded me of a scene from H.G. Wells’s War of the Worlds, but I was more worried about the reality they represented.  Sho picked up on my thoughts and said, “Uh oh, Daddy.  Where there are wind turbines, there is strong wind.”

On cue, a steady headwind started to blow, slowing our progress and making even the flat sections laborious. 

“There he is!” Sho called out, pointing to the police car ahead, stopped by the road, lights still flashing.  As we neared, he sounded his siren quickly and jumped his car forward a few feet.  That’s when we saw the bull standing on the opposite side of the road.  Obviously, it had escaped its pen and was roaming free.  I pulled to a stop 100 yards away, but the police officer motioned for us to continue.  The bull tried to move our way, but the police car lurched ahead with a squawk from its sirens and cut him off.  We passed safely, nodding thanks to the police officer, who used his car like a cowboy would a horse to keep the bull in check.  

We rode 67 miles today, which included two long climbs.  After yesterday’s exhausting 10-mile climb, Sho and Saya were not intimidated by today’s few miles of steady uphills.  Although the terrain was arid, the temperature stayed down near 90 degrees, much more manageable than yesterday’s high 90’s.  And while the strong headwind slowed us down and made us work harder, it also cooled us off.  We rolled into Walla Walla at 7:30 p.m., having been on the road for 10 hours.  We were tired, but not exhausted. 

And we were in good moods, because of the treat waiting for us: my sister Becky had flown out to ride bikes with us for the next week and was in Walla Walla.  She gave Saya toenail polish, guessing correctly that I had not thought to bring any.  We spent the evening catching up with one another, Sho and Saya telling their beloved aunt all about their many adventures on the Lewis & Clark Trail.

Here are some pics:

Great front page photo and article

Where there are wind turbines, there is wind

The house that had saw happier days

On the road

Life is good when your Aunt Becky paints your toenails


  1. We saw you guys on the road as me and my family were heading back to Portland from vacation. I envy and admire your courage. Hope and pray for a safe and wonderful journey to Oregon coast. You guys rock^^
    Dylan, Barbara and Amelia from Portland OR

  2. Read the article in our home town newspaper Lewiston Tribune Aug 17 2013. A good news story of family and positive times being together. I trust your kids will be inspired to follow their own adventures one day with their families. Our world allbeit a small blue marble in a vast universe is blessed with adventurists like you wanting to share wonders that your children won't learn in a video game. Be safe and godspeed you where ever your family travels. Mike Petrusky, Clarkston, WA.

  3. Dylan, Barbara and Amelia: I appreciate the good wishes. It's hard to believe that we're so close to the Oregon coast and the end of this long journey. The positive messages we've received from people like you make a big difference. Thank you.

  4. Mike: What a beautiful message. Thank you. Not everyone has reacted positively to our trip, so I appreciate your perspective and support.

    -- Charles

  5. We left Lewiston ID for Walla Walla Saturday am and I read your story in the Lewiston Tribune as we drove along the highway, mentioning to my husband that we might see you en route---and soon we passed you, then had a siren-blaring police car pass us and then we saw the loose bull (rather intimidating!) We went on, hoping
    the officer would succeed in keeping the bull from your passing.
    So good to read your blog this evening. We wish you safe travel,
    happy days, and great memories! Joanne and Chris Johansen
    and wonderful memories! Joanne and Chris Johansen

  6. Joanne and Chris,

    Thanks for your thinking of us. We were lucky that police officer was on the scene. We've just returned safe and sound to NYC after 60 days on the road. It was a memorable trip, and we appreciated most of all the many kind strangers like you who wished us well.

    -- Charles