Sunday, May 31, 2009

Day 6, May 31, Sunday Okanogan American Legion Park

Loup-Loup Pass behind us and a 20+ mile run down the mountain afterwards to this small town on the banks of the river of the same name. The ride up was twelve miles of continuous exquisite pain - exactly like I would imagine a three-hour root canal without anesthesia or maybe water boarding. Large parts of me constantly fought the fantasy of a pickup truck coming by - with homemade lemonade and music and an insistence that I allow myself and gear to be carried to the top. Only the desire not to tell a lie for the rest of my life kept me from flagging one down. We get what we ask for in this life and we got it on this climb.

Early in the climb we met Todd , who was biking to his garden to plant root crops, and thank goodness for that. Dave had bent his chain while shifting and we were without solution though possessed of the right tools and Todd saved us. A master chain fixer, but also firefighter, plumber, gardener, public service junkie and would be state representative. He had a lot of hair, a big dip and the skills we needed. Said a hurricane blew him out of Key Largo to Las Vegas and then here. Wants to reform politics. He gets our vote.

There’s a 72 hour limit on the camping in this little park by the river. Showers are 50 cents and the camping is $3.25/night/person. We’re the only campers but there has been a steady stream of shower takers. It’s a nice amenity that the American Legion makes available and one that is seemingly common so far on our route. I wonder why not in our area of the country.

Last evening at our cabin by the river I watched a pair of woodpeckers agree to make a nest in a cottonwood snag. Black backs, gray collars, rose breast: both sexes. He won her over with a fine site and a wonderful display of his wings as he climbed and encircled the snag and as he sat atop it. He had family on his mind and a place to make it happen on the bank of a beautifully singing river and she took to the idea while I watched.

The woodpecker preens
And awaits a mate
By snag
By God
All water is holy

Today I saw also a shrine at roadside:
2 crosses: one large, one small.
Both had sun-bleached flowers - some fallen to the ground.
The smaller cross had a tattered rosary - its cross and many beads were missing.

Life and death cycling.

Pat Sewell

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