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Day 1 - Seattle to Pendleton, Oregon
A-1 Auto Movers - Arrive at 10:30 a.m. The joint's already
jumpin' with cars and transport trucks queued out front. Paperwork takes a
half-hour, with lots of laughter as the staff and I swap stories. Such as
the time, around age 17, that I drove an old, orange (!) Volkswagen
station wagon from Huntsville (Alabama) to Atlanta, over a mountain, and
using a stick for the first time in my life. (I'd been taught the finer
art of clutching a day or two earlier.) And how, during this drive and
unbeknownst to me, the electrical system was shorting. So, at every stop,
the car would stall. And since the battery was dead, I'd have to give 'er
a push, or flag a motorist for a "bump," or just... run whatever
red lights at the slowest speed possible. (The rest of the story involves
driving to Morehead, this time with my brother, with more car problems, no
air conditioning, no sight of our parents, and about $10 of cash between
us, plus one gas card.)
The First Of Way Too Many Mega-Store Stops - I buy film, to take pictures of the condition of the car. Just in case. I also purchase:
And The Academy's Fire Station - And the Academy's fire station. (They have three or four structural apparatus on site, plus whatever trucks are brought by the agencies being trained.) Scattered about the center of the courtyard and variety of metal constructs, suitable for repeated burning and shaped as cars, small trucks, and even a helicopter cabin. Training fires are fueled from discarded Diesel fuel, donated for burning off. Or using wooden palettes, also donated from such nearby firms as Nintendo. (They're in North Bend.) The pallets are used in the five-story "burn building," which, in addition to the training tower, contains mock-ups of a warehouse floor and a fully-furnished ranch-style home. (The latter for instruction on search and rescue.)
Also Overlooking The Courtyard - Also overlooking the courtyard-- and, presumably, on the ground above the underground simulated ship's hold-- is a metal mock-up of a jetliner. Complete with wings. (The deep brown rust makes for some particularly interesting photos!) This training area also has a fire station, with a trio of Crash-Fire-Rescue (CFR) rigs available for use. Most of this information is courtesy of Vocational Education Specialist (and retired Fire Chief) Robert P. Jones, who provides an engaging, extended chat after Yours Curious pops his head into the office, asking for literature to take with me. One of his more-interesting facts: the Academy was located closer to the mountains, to take advantage of the crosswinds which readily dissipate the potentially environmentally affecting smoke. He also notes the presence of wildlife, such as the Elk that occasionally wander around at night. What a place to work!
Prior To Stopping At The Fire Academy - Prior to stopping at the Fire Academy I did swing through North Bend, to snap a shot of Mount Baker and, upon easily discovering, the town's fire station. Also stopped at an outlet mall, at Toy Liquidators, before resuming my riding. (The latter having nothing worth buying. They suck.) Other stops that day included Clu Elum at 4:20 p.m., a flat, small, one-road-down-the-middle town where I mail a parcel to myself containing 28 rolls of 24 exposure film shot in Seattle. (Don't have a cow, man. Sam's Club charges $2 for singles, $4 for doubles.) Also took a picture of a Bull Durham Tobacco ad, painted on the side of a cool, older building. Drive through Ellensburg a little later, 5:15 p.m., looking for a Wal-Mart. No dice. Finally find a Target store in Yakima, population 54,900, where I purchase those supplies that I forgot to buy the first time: Fix-a-Flat, film, chewing gum, baby wipes, and packing tape for the box bought at the aforementioned Post Office.
Fat Man Of Dubious Lineage - Staying in Yakima for dinner, I also discover a nice fire station near downtown, as well as the former fire station, now in use as a bail bonds office. [ Insert still picture of Walter Matthau in The Bad News Bears ] Yakima is also an old railroad town and has a string of shops built from retired railway cars. Alas, most are closed. And they don't photograph well, either. Seeking a speedier meal, I visit a lame mall's lame food court. (A&W hot dog and a Diet Coke.) Also shop, needing lens paper, the new "Entertainment Weekly" to read in bed, and whatever collectibles I might be looking for, like the brand new, special nine-inch figure of Fat Bastard from Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me. ("I want my baby my baby my baby back ribs.") Leave Yakima after 8.
The Sun Is Setting, Slowly - The sun setting, but slowly. I still have a hundred (or more) miles to cover. Wish the radio stations were better. I spend most the afternoon and evening trying to find familiar talk-radio voices. (Even stumble upon a French-speaking station earlier in the day, near North Bend!) Southeastern Washington is gorgeous at dusk-- rocky, rolling hills in a soft, orange light. In fact, it's just as nice after dark-- unbroken stretches of pitch-blackness, interrupted only by oncoming headlights and distant oasis's of city lights. Marvelous. Two hours later, I decide to call it quits. Pendleton, Oregon. Finally crossed the border, stopping at a truck stop (for Diet Coke and postcards), a damn dam (to see what I could see, which was little), and, for the last hour or so, smelling the pleasant (to me) scent of burning wood. Must be the wildfires. Can't wait. Final mileage for the day: 325. Final time, checking into a Travelodge ($49 with AAA discount): 10:30 p.m. Good night.
Total mileage today: 325
Total mileage total: 325
Copyright 2000 by Michael J. Legeros
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Copyright 2020 by Michael J. Legeros