From the Edmonds Vet: Travels with Charlize, in search of living alone

David GrossPublisher’s note: After his losing his wife of 52 years to cancer, Dr. David Gross has embarked on an extended road trip with his new dog, Charlize, and is writing about his experiences. Due to an editing error, we are publishing Part 4 now; Part 5 (mistakenly labeled as Part 4) was published Friday.

By Dr. David Gross

Part 4: Musings

I’ve decided to change my eating habits, at least while on this adventure. We’ll see how that plays out once I’m home. Oatmeal for breakfast instead of a bagel and cream cheese, big meal at noon, usually in a restaurant, then a light dinner, maybe some soup or an omelet, maybe a sandwich.

I’m re-reading Steinbeck, the inspiration for these musings; “Travels with Charley in Search of America”, as well as two of his other works I somehow missed; “The Winter of Our Discontent” and “The Log from the Sea of Cortez”. Steinbeck’s Charley was a Standard French Poodle, with an American name. My Charlize is a German shepherd with a French name.

Day two started at 5 a.m.; I am still unable to sleep more than two or three hours at a time, with hours of being awake in between. Not unusual, I am told, for this stage of grief. Charlize and I got away early enough for me to eat breakfast at the Quinault Lodge on the edge of Lake Quinault. I ate sausage and eggs, over easy, with breakfast potatoes. So much for the new diet, it seemed to be a sterling idea at the time but the mantra for this trip is spontaneity. I’ll try again tomorrow.

After breakfast I hobbled over the half-mile long nature trail, a sign-guided tour of a small corner of the Quinault rain forest. Charlize did at least two miles, up and back, side-to-side, a myriad of new and unusual smells to catalog. I wonder if she remembers them or if each time she smells something it is a whole new experience?

We stopped for a late lunch at South Bend on Route 101, only four miles from Raymond. I spotted a chef in front of his restaurant grilling fresh oysters over a wood fire. I watched as the oysters cooked in cedar smoke, at least 12 inches from the flames, while being basted with the chef’s secret marinade. I collaborated with a nice lady and her husband, who were sitting at an adjoining table, to try and identify the ingredients. We decided it contained lots of fresh, coarsely chopped, garlic, green onions, fresh green herbs, maybe basil or parsley or something else, maybe a combination, in a vinegar base, probably a malted vinegar, not Balsamic.

Chef was not sharing any ingredients. We probably left out or miss identified some but he wasn’t giving anything away, and certainly did not share proportions.

About 4 in the afternoon we arrived at the Lewis and Clark National and State Historical Parks. Clark named the location, the first true sighting of the Pacific, Cape Disappointment, because of the lousy weather the Corps endured for several days running. The campground is owned and operated, by the State of Washington. Frog was all set up with electrical power and fresh water, but no Wi-Fi, no cell phone service and no TV. Still roughing it.

Played fetch with Charlize for half an hour; she’s insatiable. She retrieves with the enthusiasm of a Retriever. When she was panting hard we went down to the beach to watch the sun go down while standing on the same black sand walked on by Lewis and Clark. Awesome, since the sun was out all day, temperature in the high 50s.

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