This weekend we drove a couple of hundred miles to help an old friend pack up his stuff in preparation for a move 2,000 miles away, to the Oklahoma Territory. For the past ten years or so, he'd been raising sheep and breeding and training Border Collies on a few hundred acres of high desert land in the beautiful and wide open country east of the Cascades near Bend, Oregon. Now he's planning on creating a hunting and fishing reserve on 300+ acres in south eastern Oklahoma, practically a world away from Oregon, and a universe away from where we met in San Francisco.
So, we packed up the van, left instructions for Caitie and Matt covering the idiosyncratic feeding and exercise schedules for the animals, and headed east at a fine clip, only to come to a
My hero eventually got the chains on properly and we continued our climb up and over the mountain, where we repeated the process in reverse. (This time I actually helped, managing to get the chains tangled around the axle a just tiny bit.) We made the rest of the trip almost without incident, getting lost only once (when I just happened to be at the wheel) but after driving only a few miles in the wrong direction, Dave insisted we stop to ask for directions at a friendly neighborhood Les Schwab dealer in Redmond. (Can you tell I'm a loyal customer?) And, yes we do know how to read maps, and certainly would have done so if someone hadn't stolen the Oregon map out of the car.
We eventually arrived at the ranch, albeit a few hours late, and after hugs all around, then downing a couple cups of coffee, we started in
The next morning, following a breakfast of quiche (I'm not kidding...I told you he's not a lost soul) and coffee, we packed up a bunch more fragile collectibles. He collects the sharpest and heaviest stuff on the planet...knives, cleavers, hatchets, and about a ton (literally) of cast iron skillets and pots of every shape and size imaginable. He even gave me a couple of skillets. (I promise not to cook acid foods in them and to never ever clean them with soap!) After packing up the van with a few more gifts from his barn, sorting through his rock collection for some choice pieces he insisted we take for our garden, and hugs all around, we hit the road for home.
The trip back over the pass was uneventful, and due to the heavy weekend ski traffic, the roads were clear and it was smooth sailing the rest of the way. When we got almost home, we were greeted by a rather Disney-esque group of clouds. And I knew then that everything was as it should be.