Posted by: jility | May 24, 2011

Northwest Trek 2011

It was almost 6 AM when I stepped out of the shower.  Today was the big day. It was time for our annual trek back up to the Pacific Northwest. I had been suffering from the “nuthin is funny cause I gotta go back to Washington Blues” for a few weeks and dreaded that long drive back.

               I look forward to seeing my son, his wife, my WONDERFUL granddollars and my good friends up there but that is it. I really hate the NW. I have hated it since the first day I moved there 32 years ago. Back in the mid ’70s, Mel and I had decided we needed to get our kids out of California and all the bad things there and that we all needed to move to the open wilderness of Lewis County. At the time, there were about 40,000 people in the entire county! I am sure that number has more than doubled now but it is still fairly isolated, especially where we live in Silver Creek.

               Lewis County is a backwards place at best. Their idea of vegetarianism is eating grass fed beef. A gated community means you drag the rusty, lifeless truck across the driveway so nobody can enter. Horses are staked in front yards to munch down the grass, giving new meaning to the words riding lawnmower. The nags are moved from place to place until the entire lawn looks good as new and then the process starts all over again.

               Lewis County is also the crystal meth capitol of the world. Rent is cheap so the process is more profitable. Sure, there are the occasional houses that blow up and end up spread across several blocks but it doesn’t seem to slow down the tweekers any. There are clenched fisted skinnies on every corner as sad reminders of the meth problem there.

               When we moved to Lewis County in 1979, there was only ONE stop light in the ENTIRE county!  Now there are many but the amenities for vegans are still few and far between. Wal-Mart and Home Depot moved in a few years back but we are still waiting for a Costco. The nearest one to us is 50 miles north in Olympia. We actually had a little vegan place for a year or so but it was not long lived in those parts.

               Lewis County is also famous for its larger than life sign along the I-5 freeway called the “Uncle Sam Billboard.”  It is often mean and insensitive but the ignorance is almost funny at times. Some may recall about 20 years ago it made National news with the following written on the HUGE billboard, “Aids – the miracle disease that turns fruits into vegetables.”  And that, my friend, is the Lewis County mentality in a nut shell.

               Before we left Temecula, I ran the dogs ragged trying to tire them (HA!). Mel had put all the agility crap away and the place looked deserted. We hugged Mel’s daughter Les, honked at our wonderfully colorful 85 year old dog loving neighbor and headed out.

               We rolled along the California 210 freeway heading northwest towards the I-5. That would take us almost all the way to Silver Creek. Just 1,000 miles and three little turns off the 5 and we would be home. I was sad to see the palms and magnificent Jacaranda trees in my rear view mirror. The Jacarandas are in full bloom right now and one of the most beautiful trees on the planet. It will be November before I see California trees again.

Jacarandas in bloom

               The roads are so horrible. I drive the Extortion and pull the utility trainer with the freezers, crap and agility equipment. Sir Cussalot drives the Global Warmer. Because we are in separate vehicles, I miss all the cussing at the roads, traffic and drivers – NOT!  I get to hear it when we stop though. Crap fell everywhere as usual. We stopped at a rest area and I had to pee something fierce! As I ran into the GW, my path was blocked by my big chair that had fallen across the way. It weighs a billion freaking pounds and I had to wrestle it trying to pick it up and put it back in its place. Sir C had taken out dogs so I was on my own. It nearly cost me dearly and I thought I was going to have to call for emergency roadside assistance so I could make it to the bathroom! Somehow, I found the strength to lift the enormous chair out of the way and I took off cross-legged to the pot. I think I was like those women you hear about who lift cars off their kids. Somehow, they find superhuman strength in a pinch. Well, I found that strength and saved myself from an unnecessary shower and change of clothes.

               With all of us successfully pottied, we headed north towards Pea Soup Andersen’s in Santa Nella, CA. We love that place and always stop on our way by. We have pea soup for breakfast lunch or dinner. It doesn’t matter. We stop no matter what time it is and feast on the “traveller’s special” – all you can eat pea soup and a large drink. We get the pumpernickel bread (VEGAN!) instead of the cheese bread and I love to put jam on it. Sir C gets fries but they suck so I am not tempted (THANK GOD FOR SUCKY FRIES!).

               We settled in at the Santa Nella RV Park for the night. One of the slides wouldn’t work and the water pump wouldn’t turn off. Sir C lived up to his name as he tried to figure out what was wrong. The slide was a loose connection and the water pump, well, that’s another story so, for now, we have to turn the pump on and off. It is always something with the GW. She doesn’t want to go back to Washington either.

               American Idol is blasting in the background and the dogs are resting from the bumpy ride. Thanks to Stacy, Claudia, Jef and Bob for keeping me company on the road. You guys make the trip fly by.


  1. Helen, that was such a refreshing read. I left the PNW back in 83′ and I have been back maybe 3 times since. My mom and 3 brothers still reside there, they could never
    leave that town of Spokane, or I called it Slowkane because it put me to sleep and
    then I came to Cali. or Hollywood and my whirlwind lifestyle began. It was non stop
    the 1st several yrs. Up all night drinking white russians smoking that funny stuff and playing back gammon and singing karaoke then going to work on a couple hours of

    Have fun and be safe in the PNW! Keep those blogs coming:-}

    Tim with the humping pup!

  2. g, and I already felt like killing myself before I read this…..
    well, at least you have a bunch of friends looking forward to your return.

  3. I’m sorry you’ve gone back to WA. I was looking forward to seeing you and your poodles at Stacy’s on Monday.

    • Thanks Sharon. I am so sad to be leaving California. I love it there. HAve a great time MOnday! I wish we were there!!!

      • I guess the only good thing about you and Mel returning to Washington is that we get to read more blog posts from you:-) Yay! Your San Diego “family” will miss you guys this summer…

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s


%d bloggers like this: