From the Edmonds Vet: Travels with Charlize, in search of living alone — On the road again

Charlize is not happy! I just called her back from taking a dip in the Clearwater River. It looked too fast for her.
Charlize is not happy! I just called her back from taking a dip in the Clearwater River. It looked too fast for her.

By Dr. David Gross
Part 24: On the road again

As we pulled out of my driveway I caught a glimpse of the sound and the sun glistening off the brilliant white snow topping off the Olympics. I waved goodbye for however long it would be until Charlize and I returned home.

We traveled the roads previously on our trip to Lake Lenice, catching the 405 then I-90 going east. Not much traffic at 7 on Sunday morning. After crossing the Columbia River we found Highway 26 and were in interesting new territory, lots of irrigated farmland, sprinklers moving sedately in huge half circles blowing mist on green fields and fruit orchards already past the bloom, greening up. The traffic going west was heavy on the two-lane road, parents returning to the Seattle area from their offspring’s graduation at WSU. Most appeared to be happy, smiling faces, a few frowns, maybe too much celebrating? What was in store for those graduates?

Made a bad choice for lunch in Colfax. I chose a breakfast scramble with potatoes, sausage, ham, onions, green pepper, cheese, and some other stuff I couldn’t identify. There was too much quantity, too many different ingredients, and way too much grease. I choked down as much as I could and took the large amount that remained in a take-home Styrofoam container out to Charlize in the back of Old Blue. My normally dainty eating dog wolfed the stuff down, fast. What was that about?

I had planned to stop in Lewiston, Idaho but the weather was beautiful, the roads were mostly ours and it was early. We pressed on to Winchester Lake State Park, arriving about 4 in the afternoon. The lady at the gatehouse was very pleasant, gentile, apologetic. She explained the fee system. Since I didn’t have an “Annual Motor Vehicle Entrance Fee Sticker” for Idaho, the one I have for Washington didn’t count, that would be $40, even though I was only going to stay one night, but… “it will be good if I decide to return to any Idaho State Park during 2013”, she explained. There was also a $10 surcharge and $23.32 for a site with water and electricity but nothing else. The place was nice, but not almost $75 nice. I decided to press on. The nice lady said she completely understood.

We drove to Grangeville, Idaho and found another RV Resort. That night, I sat in Frog’s little dinette and looked west at a series of green pastures stretching to the mountains. Two horses were grazing in the nearest pasture, a healthy-looking paint and an emaciated sorrel, bony hips, ribs showing, who appeared to be very old. Charlize, sitting next to me on the bench, and I watched the sun set beyond the mountains, backlighting them into a dark purple. A rose hue framed the stark peaks in silhouette. Charlize leaned against me, then lay down and put her muzzle in my lap, expecting to be petted. She manages to mirror my mood.

The next morning we made our way to the Lewis and Clark Highway, traveling northeast following the Clearwater River through what my map declares to be a “wild and scenic river corridor.” It is all of that and much more with the addition of numerous historical markers describing events from the Lewis and Clark expedition. There were also landmarks of the Nez Perce tribe who claimed the environs then and now and provided so much aid and comfort to the explorers and mountain men who followed, only to be repaid by horrendous crimes perpetrated against them, more of the effects of Manifest Destiny that I wrote about in my book “MAN HUNT.”

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.

  1. Hello David,
    I can hear strains of your theme song “On the Road Again” all the way here in Edmonds.
    We miss you at the Monday Writers Group but then Charlize understandable has a certain pull that we don’t! I hope you are having good weather, and that we are sharing some sun with you. Be well and take care. Till we see you at the Monday table again!

  2. David:
    I was happy to read of your travels and especially your fascination with Lewis and Clark. I grew up (from 5 to 15) in Salmon, Idaho and along the Lemhi River, where Sacagawea was born and where her brother sold horses to L & C. I have also been fascinated by their courage and perseverance. When they followed the Salmon down past the Northfork, they found traveling too difficult and instead climbed up over Lost Trail pass. I’ve traveled that several times and it is steep and full of switchbacks and I really admired their toughness.
    Several years ago, following a high school class reunion (1944) in Salmon, I flew over the mountain, west, to the Middle Fork of the Salmon for a wonderful white water rafting trip, the most fun in my life. Entering the Salmon was like entering heaven.
    I too, lost my wife to cancer, June 19 and am rearranging my life.There is plenty to do with writing being the main focus, especially on memoirs of my wife and travels in foreign countries through Rotary International education projects. These were wonderful years with much for us, as educators, to share with teachers and children of the five countries.

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