It has turned really cold...seems almost like snow in the offing. At least I am toasty warm sleeping in SPIA-2 and had a 0200 (2:00am) visit from the local police..."just checking, says the spotlight yielding visitor, to see that you are OK...we'll keep a eye on you..." Oh, yes, officer, thank you very much...luckily, in 10 seconds I again found asleep.
Please say HELLO to ALEX. BECCA, manager of the Elma's EVERYBODYS Supermarket, called Alex, living in nearby town of SHELTON, that I was in town. Alex e-mailed me that he would like to chat because he and his friend DAN, are preparing to embark on a 4-month national tour to interview churches.
At noon 1000 hours (10:00 am) yesterday, Alex showed up at EVERYBODYS. We talked continuously until 1530 hours (3:30pm)...when the SEAHAWKS football game with the 49rs began.
Today from Alex comes another e-mail asking that tomorrow we meet again to continue our conversation ... this time with Dan. Seems Alex was somewhat impressed with details of my walk as they could apply to the trek he and Dan are about to undertake. Of course, I said OK...now just to select the meeting place, which looks to be the town of RAYMOND.
The Elma Supermarket EVERYBODYS. I have one serious omission: I failed to take a photograph of BECCA, manager and Alex's friend. I am so sorry, Becca...please send me a pic so I can include you in my next blog update.
I first visited Elma in the year 1962..some 50 + years ago, when I took as my second wife, Sharon Fortman, from the town of ELMA / SATSOP. The area of Grays Harbor was at that time in full swing to become a vacation destination to rival that of Florida. Unfortunately, it fizzled out. Changes did, however, come to the area. A 4-lane divided highway was built from the city of OLYMPIA all the way to HOQUIAM to support development of the new playground of OCEAN SHORES...where one finds today, upscale hotel resorts and endless sandy beaches on which it is still permitted to drive vehicles.
The downside came to the small towns between Olympia and Hoquiam: The new highway bypassed the thriving towns of McCLEARY, ELMA, and SATSOP, setting in a decline of half-a-century. These towns I have walked the past two days. The struggle to survive continues.
The near deserted main street of ELMA, Washington
An ELMA church.
The SATSOP Grade School...certain to become a national treasure.
Please say HELLO to l. to r.: TRACYLEE and DAVID ANDERSON, ALATZ CORDAVA...the Second Grader at ELMA Elementary School, and LULA MATTHYNSSERS...all relatives...all struggling to bring success to the ELMA "Convenience Store" named SCHOUWEILLER GAS and GROCERY.
This business has been in the family for some 25 or so years...having been sold - and taken back- three times. The transitions resulted in progressively larger losses until today finds Trascylee and David totally consumed in turning SCHOUWEILLER back into a successful profitable business.
LULA, realizing she could not join my in my walk, settled for a photograph together, plus a historical "note" together with my signature, which is to be framed and posted in an appropriate spot.
Deserving or not, I appreciate the pleasures sent down when meeting such wonderful people...making it, for me, quite difficult to continue to move on. My first choice would be to park, stay a bit, and work my tush to help if I could.
Not the first time facing such decision(s)...my destination has become incidental...the trip is everything.
The shelves, in Trascylee's words, are for the moment, quite bare...but a whole lot better than a few months ago.
Local residents found living in nearly every lawn: MOLES...tunnels of the blind rodents are cleared by pushing dirt into piles...to be certain, each dirt mound is connected by series of tunnels...from which the little guys eat the tender roots of the grasses hanging down into their tunnels.
History's possibly most ancient and wide ranging "brotherhood" reaching into pre-history and very active world wide to this day. My Dad was a 32nd Degree Mason. I was a DeMolay (young men's associated organization).
Included this image of a modern Water Hydrant because of the large number of them found on Highway 12, which connects the towns I am currently walking...so interesting because this area has never fully developed, yet fire fighting water hydrants are found close together...waiting for the people to arrive.
Between ELMA and SATSOP is a very carefully groomed golf course...lots of folks out golfing today in spite of the cold windy day.
This wood tower has been a fixture on farms in the ELMA / SATSOP townships since I first visited back in 1962. Inside the tower is a large water tank...such structures - of modern steel construction - are found in nearly every decent size town throughout America.
The home of Sharon's family when she and I married, had a nearly identical water tower.
The countryside looking North toward the nearby Olympic Mountains.
Visible from Highway 12 are the two distant "cooling towers" of a failed nuclear power plant...killed by the State of Washington in the 1950's...today a reminder of the failed dreams of developers of Grays Harbor over a half century ago.
Not a single business has survived in the once thriving village of SATSOP...a ghost town which, like so many towns in the South East of America, progress has passed by...I am reminded of the many towns I have walked in the South East...similar modern highways passing them by...beautiful 150 year old townships with still magnificent multi-story brick buildings...paved streets...modern in every way...with residents found sitting on the paved sidewalks, feet resting in the street gutters...and not a single business in a single building...the residents with no hope of finding work in the otherwise empty ghost town...waiting for society to come rescue them or at least open up a bakery so a loaf of bread can be purchased.
In our growing "social" society, where "overlords" make the decisions, hope for many is a forlorn dream.
This is some of what SAM and ME have discovered walking America.
This field of grass was once part of the homestead of my Wife Sharon's family. On this field, I joined in with my new family to play baseball. At the far end stood the wood tower with the water tank inside. I could not pass this spot by without walking it one more time...
Please say HELLO to DAVID SULLIVAN. David, I found removing broken fir branches from the old baseball field...now his...which he purchased some years ago...just to give him something to do during his retirement. David and I chatted for a good long time...recounting old times ... how it is no longer allowed to take drinking water directly from the creek at the bottom of the hill - which Sharon's father did...how Mrs. Conover still lives in the house across the fenceline (I knew Mrs. Conover back in the 1960's and knocked on her door to say hello...alas, no answer)...
and also how, after the 1964 earthquake, Mrs. Conover's drilled well of 150 foot depth, suddenly pumped RED water. She still uses her RED water for irrigation, but using a backhoe, dug a new drinking water well some half way down the steep slope to the e-coli filled stream...contaminated from the addition of a new development upstream.
The "Fortman" home...just it looked back in 1962.
Please say HELLO to KATHERINE. Katherine is receptionist - and perhaps more - for the MONTESANO, Washington town of some 4,000 residcents...the firm of LINDLEY FINANCIAL, owned by recent graduates of WESTERN WASHINGTON UNIVERSITY (of Bellingham).
I received an e-mail from Alex on my new "DROID" super duper phone...which is so complex that I still do not know how to make it work. I queried some dozen folks in the town of MONTESANO, asking for guidance...all without success as no one owned such a "computer". In desperation, I went knocking on business doors, finally reaching Katherine, who took the next hour or so instructing me in the mysteries of DROID.
I think we have a new follower. Thank you Katherine...and welcome.
I walked three sessions today, essentially covering from McCleary to and beyond Montesano. The above image is Washington Highway 107 which heads south to RAYMOND...and continues some 80 miles to the Columbia River and the city of ASTORIA on the Oregon side. Third walk of the day was on Hwy 107 for about 10 miles...is another 17 miles to Raymond, where I propose to meet with Alex and Dan tomorrow.
The Chehalis River...known for it's Salmon and Sturgeon.
We are back in the land of horses.
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Am once again fortunate to be invited by Montesano SUBWAY to use their tables and electricity to create today's blog. The local Chevron Gas Station / Convenience Store has invited me to park overnight.
Is now 1935 hours (7:35pm).
I am in awe as to the immediate return of new "friends"
How can it be that I be so fortunate to find such a treasure in this new endeavor of an old man...and I only set out to take a walk...
Soon, I will be increasingly bringing the LYMPHATIC SYSTEM into this blog. I have come to accept that the Lymphatic System is truly the - at least - third most important organ of any living man or animal...an organ without which we simply would not exist...an organ dependent 100 % on the physical activity of each of us...and all AT NO COST !
L A T E R..........