Monday, October 29, 2012


Back to Travelogue mode for the most part, though there are Trigger updates spattered throughout as well...

The first installment is my trip to Walla Walla, WA (see, NOW the title makes sense, including the silly capitalization), though I guess I'll start a bit earlier...

My mechanic is my ex-boyfriend.  He's the only one I trust to work on my car, so I've gotten through the awkwardness of the first few visits after our (amicable) breakup, but I still sometimes put off contacting him longer than I should.  I knew I was coming due for an oil change AND going on a long driving trip soon, but still somehow put off contacting him until the day before I was planning to leave.  He had time to fit me in on Tuesday morning before I headed out, though, so it all worked out.

Until he came in after working on my car to tell me I was still down a quart of oil, even after he'd fixed an oil leak at the previous visit.  I asked what we do about that, and he said "start looking for a new car," but when I looked appalled at that recommendation, he backpedalled and said it'll probably still last a while, but yeah, it's not super great.  Also, my left rear tire was low, and he'd filled it, but there was a screw in it, so I should get that fixed before I drove all over the northwest.  Great.

I headed to Costco (which is where I bought my tires), but they were still closed.  I ran a few other errands, and by the time I got back there, I was now quite a few people back in line, and they asked if I could just drop my car off and leave it for a while.  Well, no, I wouldn't be able to do that on a normal day, but especially not today since I was hoping to be a few hundred miles away before dark.  They operate on a strict "first come, first served" basis, but said they might be able to do a quick tire change for me if I had a full-sized spare.  I figured that with my luck, I had only a donut, but I went out and looked in the trunk, and lo and behold, I actually had a full-sized spare!  Of course, it's ancient (well, I didn't buy it, and I bought the car almost five years ago now).  They replaced it, though, and sent me on my way.

I stopped by the trainer's to drop off some feed for Trigger, and stood there while he ate, petting him and chatting with the trainer.  She's really pleased with the progress he's made there, and is excited to find him his perfect home.  I don't love that I'm having to sell him, both financially and emotionally, but it IS for the best, so I hope he finds a wonderful home soon.

Then, finally, I was on my way.  When I have time to spare, I sometimes stop along the way to take photos, but I was already going to get to my mom's house after dark and after dinner time, so I only stopped once, and only for a few minutes, in Shaniko.  It's pretty close to the middle of nowhere, and in fact pretty close to the middle of the northern hemisphere (there's a sign not too far past Shaniko that says you're crossing the 45th parallel - exactly halfway between the north pole and the equator, as the crow flies).

I couldn't decide between these two photos--which do YOU like better?

Cool old truck.  I really liked the clouds I had as a backdrop this time.  Usually it's clear blue skies, which are great, but boring, or overcast, which is also boring.

There are two "fastest" ways to get from Bend to Walla Walla.  Unfortunately, it's not possible go go STRAIGHT there (or at least, not quickly), so both routes involve going nearly due north to the Columbia River, then following it a ways.  You can either continue going east all the way to Pendleton, then go north again for the final stretch, or you can go north to Umatilla, then east along the river once again, winding through the hills along the river.  Both ways are scenic in their own way (once they diverge--there's a long boring stretch for a while there before you choose which way to go), but I usually take the Umatilla route.  So this time, I went the Pendleton way for a change.

It was an interesting trip--I hit some rain along the way, but it made for some dramatic cloudscapes!

I arrived safely at my mom's house a bit after dark.  My step-sister, whose daughter my mom babysits, was due the prior Thursday with their second child, a boy.  I'd mostly finished a sweater for him before I arrived, but the big sister, V, got to help with the finishing touches, and we gave it to the parents Wednesday at lunchtime.

There were some gorgeous fall colors visible right from the living room.

At some point during the week, the trainer Trigger is staying with contacted me to say that she'd given my number to someone who expressed interest in him and wanted to talk with me directly (the trainer is helping me sell him, on commission, but the potential buyer wanted to hear about him straight from the horse's mouth, so to speak).  I called her, and figured I'd probably scared her off with my talk of the bucking and so on, but the trainer let me know later that the potential buyer would be driving up from Grants Pass to look at him on Sunday, and had a vet check scheduled for Monday.  My heart pounded at the thought of him driving away in a trailer as soon as Monday, but of course it's for the best for all of us.

Thursday night, the whole crew (my mom and step-dad, my step-sister, her husband, their daughter (and their son, as a parasite), my grandma, and me) went out for Thai food.  My step-brother-in-law was taking a photo of my step-sister, to document the 41-week mark of her pregnancy, so I snapped a photo, too.

Isn't she beautiful?  Pregnancy suits her! curry with miniature eggplants and tofu.
Friday, I had meetings for work, so my mom took V on errands out of the house while I attended/held them from her dining room table.  I hung around for another couple hours after that, but no sign of the baby coming.  I was kind of disappointed not to get to meet him (yet), but such is life.

I drove an hour to my sister's house in Tri-Cities, in the rain, and after a mishap with me not listening when the GPS told me which way to go at an exit.  Oh well.

My sister had pre-warned me to call or text when I arrived rather than ring the bell, since it upsets the FOUR dogs.  (My sister owns two, her roommate owns one, and they foster a fourth.)  Her phone wouldn't have even started ringing yet when she appeared outside to meet me as I parked.  I started to get my stuff out of the car, and she told me not to yet.  They wanted to try something out.  Her roommate held the foster dog on a leash as I entered the house behind my sister.  He barked vehemently at first, but eventually settled a bit.  They gave him a treat and handed me a treat to give him, too.  Then I petted him.  He seemed to be accepting me.  But then he lunged and snapped RIGHT at my chest.  My shirt was covered in slobber, but luckily the fact that he was on leash saved me from a double mastectomy by dogbite.  They put him in his kennel, we watched a silly goofy movie--I highly recommend Air Collision if you enjoy laughing at the inaccuracies of cheesy disaster movies.  After the movie, he seemed to be fine with my presence in the house, at least from the kennel, but when my sister's roommate got him out to let him go potty, she kept him on the leash and led him around the living room to let him see and smell me from all angles, and once again, he settled in a bit, and I scratched his head and fed him a treat, immediately followed by him trying to take my ear off.  Guess the experiment didn't work out too well.

We sat around chatting and watching cheesy TV until midnight, when I had to get to bed, as I was getting up at 6:00 the next morning to go to my dad's house.  I was laying in bed, with the small dog on the bed with me, and the bedroom door open so she could leave if she wanted to (though I'm pretty sure she slept with me the whole night, which was nice since I missed having my cat sleeping on my bed).  My sister was watching TV, but had the volume down low enough that it wasn't bothering me.  But then I thought I heard her crying.  I wasn't sure, though.  But then I heard her voice on the phone.  I couldn't make out what she was saying entirely, but it seemed like it was about the dog, and soon enough, her roommate came out of her room, so I figured I'd join them out in the living room.  It turns out she was talking to someone she knows through one of the rescues she works with about him, and the options for training or rescues who would take a dog with his aggression issues.  My sister was worried about what might happen to him.  I feel bad for her--she LOVES dogs, but logically understands the risks involved with a dog who has no qualms about biting people, but is quite attached to this dog, and he's great with her, her roommate, and two of their three other dogs.

So it was 2:00 by the time I went to bed, and as usual when I have a short night, I tossed and turned a bit, apparently worried the alarm wouldn't go off.  But it did, I woke up, hit the road, and headed for my dad's house.

But I'll save that part of the journey for another day...

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