A campground somewhere in Idaho.
Note my ham radio antenna on the front.
In 2007 a friend living in Spokane, Washington and I made arrangement to pedal our bikes east from, his house on what Adventure Cycling Association calls the Northern Tier, maybe as far as the Wyoming border. Barb had no interest in participating. Going alone, I left the tandem bike with her in Texas and shipped my Bike Friday and Trailers R Us via UPS to Spokane. A few days later I followed on a Greyhound. There are a few miles between Dallas and Spokane, but my Kindle Reader made the trip pass in record time, or so it seemed.
We set out a couple of days after my arrival, and it wasn’t long until I discovered I’d brought too much stuff for these 70-year-old-legs to tolerate all the way to Wyoming. By the time we reached Sand Point, Idaho I’d had enough cycling, so I packed up and shipped everything back to Texas.
“Where’s the bus station?” I asked the UPS clerk.
“No bus station here,” he said.
“The nearest bus station is in Coeur d’Alene.”
“How far is that?”
I pondered unpacking the bike and pedaling there, but the notion of finding another UPS store, the hassle of repacking and then finding transportation to the bus station seemed too complicated. I decided to let my thumb do the walking to Coeur d’Alene. After four rides and nearly four hours a Spokane surgeon dropped me off at the overpass crossing over Interstate 90, and armed me with verbal directions for completing my journey.
Naturally, the station was closed, but a sign taped to the glass door stated that the next eastbound bus would stop by in about five hours. So I hiked back to a Starbucks I’d spotted in a strip mall.
As I approached the coffee shop a fellow setting alone at a sidewalk table waved at me. Of course there was no one I knew in town, but I returned his salutation.
“I thought you were dead!” he called over the twenty yards between us.
“I thought you were dead,” he repeated.
I peered closely at this individual, wondering if I had met this fellow somewhere else, he remembered and I didn’t.
“You are Jerry Garcia, aren’t you.” Before I could gain my verbal legs, he added, “you do know who Jerry Garcia is, Don’t you?”
“From the Grateful Dead?”
“One in the same. You are a dead ringer for him, no pun intended,” he grinned.
“I’ll be back,” I promised. Priorities dictated that I needed a very strong cup of Joe and a place to charge my cell phone, and in that order. Unfortunately, by the time I returned to the sidewalk he was gone. It’s been a decade and I’m still disappointed that our visit was so short.
The bus arrived about dusk, I climbed aboard, agreeing to pay my fare when we reached some town in Montana. The driver had to shake me awake when we arrived.
“Folks, we’re going to be here fifteen minutes. Try not to get left behind. But if you do you can take comfort in knowing there’s another bus right behind this one. It’ll be here in exactly twelve hours,” announced the driver.
The clerk was closing up shop, and I saw only a couple of wooden benches on which a person could wait. I wasn’t taking any chances. I was back in my seat before it had totally cooled off.