Behind Me Now

01 me and all at Scotts

My Northwest Family in Washington.
Back – Andrew, Matthew, Rick, Jake, Alec, Scott. Front – Kayla, Linda, Tami, Sam.

Linda Burton posting from Edmonds, Washington traveling from Juneau, Alaska to Helena, Montana Twenty percent. That much of the Journey Across America is complete. Twenty percent! That amounts to ten capital cities, ten places on this earth that I have come to know. The hardest part of the trip is behind me now. I have done the flying part, visiting those states that refer to the contiguous 48 as the “mainland”, or the “lower 48.” I have boarded the cats for two-week sessions twice. (Awful for me; awful for them.) I had the joyful company of my two youngest grandkids in two cities, and the added advantage of two points of view. Kayla wrote some excellent posts from Honolulu, took and edited hundreds of photos, and verified anomalies (more people in Waikiki wear black than floral prints!). Sam interviewed everyone he met in Juneau, made friends with the homefolk, and described the far-off sights to me while peering through binoculars. I also had a two-day visit in Olympia from son Rick, grandson Andrew, and Kayla once again; we explored the capitol, the coffee-roasting place, the 17 Brett and carriver and the falls; they loved it all. And there was home and family – the gatherings at son Scott and Tami’s house, the food, the sit around and talk, a Kramer-dog to pet (and throw the ball a hundred times). There was friendly business too; the visits with three members of the Board – Jim and James and Bob, all sharing their ideas and showing their support. I’m ever grateful for it all. (I’m including Brett’s photo, right, from my Arizona stop in March, can’t leave a family member out!) Now, want to see the stats?

  • Miles traveled since I left Brother’s house on February 28: 13,412. Driving 6,238; Flying 7,174.
  • Days on the road: 161, or 23 weeks. Traveling an average of 85 miles a day.
  • Cost of driving $.17 a mile. Cost of flying to Honolulu 1st Class $.24 a mile. Cost of flying to Juneau Coach $.31 a mile. Egad!
  • I’ve been as far north and south and west as the US goes, slept in 19 different cities and dozed over the Pacific Ocean, crossed the borders of 13 states, claimed as neighbors 3,776,942 people in the 10 capital cities.

What have I loved about the second five?

(Left) Boise: I loved the vastness of the open hills, the closeness of the neighborhoods, the loving focus on the out-of-doors. The well-used parks, the river that’s revered, the cottonwoods and all the trees. Les Bois!

(Right) Salem: I loved the freshness of the air, the farms surrounding everything, the milk, the cheese, the golden-hearted people there, the independent spirit of the pioneers, the love of place. The rhodies everywhere you look.

(Left) Honolulu: I loved the wildness of diversity, the lushness of the mountainsides, the beauty of the sea and sky. The wind, the fierce defending of the past, the changing to the new. Palaces and palm trees.

(Right) Olympia: I loved the coolness and the calm, the caring for community, the pride. The coffee cup, the pleasant walking paths, the waterfront, the boats to sail you anywhere. The daily sight of Mt Rainier.

(Left) Juneau: I loved the awesomeness of scenery, the houses perched on mountainsides, the warm and true embrace of people there, the cruise-ship madness now and then. The ravens and the eagles and the bears.

(Right) And for the Seattle area; my home for more than 20 years, I love the ease of the familiar, my family, my friends. Nature’s way of cooling air, the pointy trees, the mountains any way you turn, my favorite spaghetti place.

As to experiences in the second five, I’ve been underwater in a submarine, on the trail with sled dogs, in the dark with blacklight golf. I’ve watched eagles fly and Olympic champions race; enjoyed a wine tasting, a cheese tasting, a coffee tasting, and a luau with a hula dance. I’ve talked with school kids and listened to whales talk and learned to chant Polynesian style. I’ve touched a glacier, walked the beach, stood in a crater, sat in a goat-hair tent, shooed the pigeons from my room.

  • Still love the Scion and tolerating the Sony laptop better now, after grandson Andrew adjusted it.
  • Still annoyed at the differences in the “pet-friendly” motels – some insist pets not be left in the room alone and stay confined in a carrier; some stop by to play with the kitties. Go figure.
  • Gave the toaster oven to grandson Alec, mailed a box of dress clothes and kitchen items to brother’s house to store. Decided to go kitchenless and casual.
  • Still have a hard time finding the evening news. Depending on the time zone it airs at 5 or 6 or for some strange reason, 5:30 PM. Can’t figure out the channels state to state; settle for the Frasier reruns late.
  • Still need more jeans and it’s hard to find a pedicure place.

The cats and cactus continue to travel well and I’m loading the Scion more efficiently. I can see what’s behind me now!