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Thursday, May 20, 2010

SAM Is Resting

This morning SAM led me across two I-5 Bridges over the Columbia River to Vancouver. Was not easy to find our way as the "bike path" was well signs to mark the way. But for local businesses guiding us, we would most likely still be bumbling about. But find our way we finally did.

Arriving back in Washington State, we were again guided by passing walkers...again, no signs to be found directing us onto the ongoing bike path. We walked West under the I-5 Bridge approach, turned up Columbus Street through downtown Vancouver to 39th Street. Took right turn onto 39th as directed to find the I-5 Freeway, beyond which was supposed to be Pacific Highway - Old 99. Fortuitously, we stopped to piddle at a gas station, asking how much further is Old 99...Why, that is Old 99 right there...pointing to Main Street facing the gas station. OMG...we would have walked miles out of our way but for the piddle stop. Success is found in the strangest ways.

That short walk up Old 99 was again bittersweet. During World War II, Dad was a truck driver for Lee & Estes, hauling live bombs between Seattle and Portland. In those days Old 99 was a narrow twisting 2-land road. Brother Jim and I took turns "swamping" for Dad; i.e., we went along to help load and unload the bombs. On the ride on Old 99, our job was to shift the truck gears...not an easy job, as there were three gear shift levers: Primary = 4 gears. Secondary = 3 gears, and the Brownie = 2 gears. All three gear shift levers had to be synchronized into and out of gear as Dad pushed the clutch.

For every gear we scratched, we got a grease pencil mark on the windshield. Best (least marks) score for the week got either Jim or me congratulations and at the end of the year, a $25.00 dollar War Bond (Bond cost $18.50 which Uncle Sam returned $25.00 after 10 years).

Memories Memories...where ever I walk, seems full of memories.

Walked up Old 99 to 102nd Street, where Harley-Davidson employees met us with knowing greetings...took motorcycle out of storage and put SAM in.

My motorcycle ride up I-5 to Ron's home in Federal Way was thankfully uneventful...if 10,000 buckets of drenching downpour can be called uneventful. Arrived at Ron's just as thunder and lightening boomed and streaked across the sky...God's welcome after thoroughly drenching us for 3 hours.

Motorcycle is safely in her trailer. Tomorrow, I leave the trailer behind and drive home to Bellingham to catch up on administration; process orders into computer accounting program, pay some bills, and express my appreciation to Raleigh for holding down the fort while SAM and ME are out playing on America's highways and byways.

On Sunday, will return for motorcycle/trailer, drive to Bend, Oregon where Harley-Davidson is waiting for motorcycle to be put into storage. Then, drive back to Vancouver, park Van/Trailer and SAM & ME begin the long walk over Mt. Hood and eventually to Bend...and the saga continues.

And so ends another thoroughly satisfying day. All is well........


Scott Mumford said...

Those memories are wonderful...thanks for sharing them.

Ron5199 said...

Wow I had no idea you ran live bombs with Uncle jim and Grandpa so much I am learning from all this can't wait to find out more!