Unable to sleep, I decided to get a very early start on my journey west to Oregon and pulled out of the drive at 3am. With the sunrise at my back, I was passing Lincoln, Nebraska and getting old Myrtle the Turtle up to 80. With no radio that works, I had only the groans and grrr'ings to keep me company. I was already lonely, tired and the eyes were seeing double when I pulled into a cheap motel. Now most cheap motels are pretty much all the same. You pay, you stay, you leave. Then you wonder about head lice. I've seen a lifetime of them and this hole in the wall was about like all the rest. The guy from India runs the place. His cousin works at the next one you'll stay at. He has lots of cousins. In the morning I'm off and banging down a couple free breakfast bear claws that taste like they were made in India, as well. Long journey over to the states makes them a bit stale and weird tasting. I think the saffron on top was a dead give-away. My guess, Calcutta. Small bakery, run by another cousin who runs the motel supply and cleaning women service. I will say, since they have now cornered the market on cheap rate motels I suppose they will invest in convenience stores. Oh wait...they already have...
Stopping for gas and coffee, I noticed an old gray beard sitting outside trying to thumb a ride. Like many like him who have turned their backs on society and choose to live off the grid and in the wilderness, Ray was polite but, rather dirty from sleeping outside. Obviously homeless, I dropped him off when the highway parted south and west, Ray was going to warmer climes for the winter. I wished him well and tucked him a five for some food. I had to be careful with the money if I was going to do all I planned to do in Oregon. I felt a kinship with Ray, knowing how homelessness impacts lives and the difference between the street hustlers and the true hobos. He smelled of dirt and train car flooring. That is an honest smell and I was never suspicious of him doing me any harm. He was just another wandering soul in the world. That was something I almost envied him for. He lived life on his own terms. And he was free to choose his own destiny.
The eyes began drooping again somewhere in Wyoming and after another night in the Calcutta Motor Lodge, I was off on the final push to arrive in Portland by days end. The miles behind me were beginning to take a toll. I hit Portland just about rush hour and I pushed my way to my friend's house. Not much had changed since we had left Oregon, the traffic through the tunnel was just as bad as it always is trying to get into Beaverton. My long journey nearly completed, I pulled up at John's house (not his real name, of course) and breathed a sigh. My journey seemed over but, I knew I would have to repeat the trip in reverse and then on the bus and not having the comfort of a personal vehicle.
(Next up....Portland Panty Raid and the Hooker From Hell.....So stayed tuned!!!)