The Lisa & Clark Expedition: Old Places and Familiar Faces, a West Coast Road Trip.
In which intrepid road trippers Lisa & Clark go in pursuit of historic hotels, old friends, rusty auto parts (the more the better), wineries, and gardens. And maybe a dress or two for Lisa, because she just can’t help herself.
Looking for the beginning of the trip? Start here.
Friday, June 8
Bend to Seattle; 378 miles
And now we come to the final day, the long haul north from Bend, Oregon to Seattle, Washington. We got up early, said our goodbyes, and hit the road.
Along Highway 97 someone had a row of rusty old cars on display, with a big sign declaring, “For your viewing pleasure, NOT for sale.” So we viewed with pleasure, but not as much pleasure as if there’d been a possibility of Clark picking up a piece of rust.
A little further on was the semi-ghost town of Shaniko, which did have one Model T for sale. Mostly, though, it was a picturesque place.
A pretty drive from Bend to the Columbia River:
Across the river, back in our home state of Washington, we stopped for lunch and culture at the Maryhill Museum of Art. Maryhill was built in the 1920s by Sam Hill — as in, “Where the Sam Hill are you?” Hill was a proponent of better roads, and was a critical force behind some of the roads we’d driven on during our trip.
Some of the permanent collection at the museum includes plasters by Rodin, English art, and 1/3 scale French fashion mannequins produced at the end of WWII.
The special exhibit on display right now is of modern-day luminist painters. Yes, painters of light! There were sailboats, sunsets, lighthouses, and crashing waves just like got thrown together in that Dump Store painting I showed you earlier, but this time it was all done with restraint.
The museum cafe has a view that’s hard to beat, over the Columbia River Gorge.
In the car again, we’d only traveled a handful of miles when a deer bounced out in front of us. “Stop, stop, stop!” I cried. There were no screeching brakes, just a hard slowdown that saved both us and the deer from a very bad experience.
An hour or two later, the Cascades were in sight. We’d be crossing back over them, via Snoqualmie Pass, to return to Seattle.
A few minutes later, we in our own neighborhood. It’s strange, driving home after two weeks and 2,000 miles: it’s a sudden transition from being in the car on a trip to being in a car at home. When we fly, there’s always a limbo day, a day of transition (usually miserable) involving airports and taxis and the cramped interior of a plane. But driving, it seemed that suddenly we were home.
And none too soon. Two blocks from our house, the radiator blew apart. Steam gusted from under the hood, the temperature gauge shot to the red, and we coasted the last couple hundred yards.
Home again, home again, jiggity-jig.
The garden had gone crazy in our absence, turning into a jungle full of neighbor cats.
And a day later I find I’m kind of bummed to be home. Love our home, love the garden, love our own bed and bathroom, but the trip was an adventure showing us new things with every mile, much of it beautiful. And, the worries of home were largely not with us — an illusion, really, since we had email and our phones, and Clark was working every morning. But it feels different, being away.
Coming home, the old familiar feels… too staid. There’s nothing new in it, nothing I haven’t seen before. No novelty.
Ah, but what a trap that is, chasing novelty. So much pleasure in it, but you make nothing, create nothing, produce nothing, if you chase it endlessly. As much as I’m sorry to turn off the novelty switch, I must. Everything new I’ve seen must be allowed the space to settle in my mind, and given the quiet and space to reset itself into material for future books, future art. It’s the lesson of the Experiment in Quiet all over again.
But looking forward, what should I say if Clark wants to go on another road trip?
I think you can guess.
More of the Lisa & Clark Expedition:
Who are Lisa & Clark?
Lisa’s latest novel,
Great-Aunt Sophia’s Lessons for Bombshells, from Simon & Schuster