Sunday, October 02, 2016

GTT Days 61 and Home

September 30 - Yakima Sportsman State Park, Washington.
The weather remained fairly nice for travelling today. We crossed the last bit of Idaho and into the southeastern part of Washington State, over the Snake River, the Columbia and finally the Yakima River. The land is either rolling sagebrush and cheat grass hills or irrigated farms, vineyards and orchards. Apples and pears were abundant and I wish we could have brought a box of my favourite Honeycrisp apples home with us. They were so cheap direct from the farm!
We had some trouble at the state park campground. Apparently it's in the white-knuckled control of the most anal bunch of hall monitors we've ever run across! We drove in, found a campsite that was not on the reserved list, popped our fee in the box and tried to settle in. Nope. Mr. Ranger flung (literally) our envelope back at us and ordered us out to the parking area to wait until the registration booth opened at 2pm. Less than an hour away. Nobody was in our spot. What was it hurting to stay there and go visit the booth when it opened? OBVIOUS. Mortal. Sin.
So we waited in the designated area. And registered as required. And were then told we still had to wait until 2:30pm before we could occupy our campsite. Because someone may be cleaning it or something. Not. Happening. Wait some more. I just wanted to settle in and go for a walk! In the many many campgrounds we have encountered this was the first time ever that things were so regimented. We've had to wait before for the previous tenants to vacate. No problem. This was the first time we've had to wait over an hour to occupy our site when it was totally open and ready for us. Just because they could make us wait. Jerks.
Anyway, we finally got to go on our walk along the levee above the Yakima River:
We got goat heads stuck in our shoes! It took half an hour with pliers to get the evil prickles out of the soles of my boots. I've written about these things before. Also called puncture vine, they're a low-growing plant with seeds that are "caltrops" (Latin name Tribulus terrestris) - no matter which way they fall they end up with a pointy side up. Nasty. And people ride bikes and horses down this trail too. Ouch.
The trail around the pond was pretty:
Red sumac and pink water lilies.
October 1 - HOME!
We had decided that we weren't going to stop for one more night but just to press on for home. Enough already! We had already picked up our supply of our favourite Tillamook cheddar cheese at a Safeway the day before so all we needed was gas to get us home. The border crossing took about 20 minutes to get through but was relatively painless. It's so nice to be in our own place again! It feels like so long since we've been gone. Remember we left on July 30 so the total is actually 64 days, all 10 provinces, 12 US states, and 11,000 miles or nearly 18,000 kilometres! Oy. 
We had a great time but take note - we'll never do anything that crazy again. Remind me I said that if I start hinting about another marathon trip, OK? Done.
People keep asking what we liked best. No idea! So many highlights and everywhere had it's beauty. I do think it was colder in general than I was expecting. It was never actually stinkin' hot! We were feeling cold more often especially in Newfoundland. Even the desert was tolerable. When you bring clothes for every eventuality and you use all the medium temperature items while the shorts languish and you're often reaching for an extra fleece top, you know it's not your regular hot summer weather. We used either our electric or propane heater especially in the mornings. Yellowstone especially was only 4C when we got up but heated up to 21C in the afternoons. Makes it hard to get out of bed when you can see your breath!
We managed to pace ourselves well most days so we weren't pushing too hard to get to the next place. Experience has taught us the hard lesson that we need to stop and make tea and coffee and to eat regularly while we travel. Not good when your brain shuts down due to low blood sugar! So much more pleasant all around when rested and fed.
Do you know I forgot to even mention what happened with the rock that we took to The Rock! Aggie elected not to stay in Newfoundland and little Magic decided to stay with us as well. But we did find a new rock to come home with us. Meet Newfie:
He has joined the family. Thom decided he didn't need eyes added since he has some of his own already. He found this really interesting rock in La Manche Provincial Park just along the roadway in the gravel. No idea where it came from or why it is so polished. These three rocks spent the trip sitting on the dashboard and helping to hold down the maps. There were also more rocks collected. We each have our own pile and this one is mine:
The top 3 are really sparkly thanks to their mica flakes. I picked them up in Cape Breton at Corney Brook. The flat one also came from there and gives a metallic sheen in the sunlight. Except for the smallest one, these will go in my pattern weight collection.
I bought 2 souvenirs too. This turned and carved olive wood reamer will be perfect for the limes I struggle to juice:
We bought it from a wood arts store in Bar Harbor, Maine. And this turtle button is carved by a Native American woman artisan from pipestone:
 It's quite large so I hope to use it on a sweater or something similar.
And there ya go! Hope you've enjoyed coming along vicariously on the trip with us. We are so glad to be home but incredibly happy that we did this monumental Great Transcontinental Trek! It was an amazing experience. Now we're singing the Ruby Slipper Song - there's no place like home. There's NO place like home.


Sharon in Surrey said...

Welcome back!! You missed the heat wave, the rain storms & the PNE. But that's about it. It was fun to follow your travels. I hope you do one again next year - you could go North or South.

Louisa said...

Thanks, Sharon! We still experienced heat and rain storms. Also chilly winds, bugs, broken headlights, and the most amazing scenery! (No PNE though. Heh.) Glad you enjoyed the travelogue. Of course we'll go somewhere else next year. But NOT for two months together. Just too long to be away.

Anonymous said...

welcome HOME. I enjoyed your travels without any of the little incidents.

Louisa said...

Thank you, Jean! Heh, there are always a few "little incidents" no matter how hard you try to avoid them. But we did pretty well anyhow.

Melanie said...

Welcome back! That was quite an adventure.
Okay, when's the next trip? Heh. You know the thing about doing crazy things is you just keeping doin' them.

Louisa said...

Thanks, Melanie! And although we will certainly go camping again we will never - I repeat NEVER!!! - go that far for that long again. (Remind me I said that if I get a glint in my eye again, 'kay?) Right now I'm just happy to be home.