Tuesday, 30 September 2008

Vale to Boise (September 29)

Day 15

The senorita at the diner asked if I had any Scottish bills to add to her collection. I said I didn't have any. Well, I wasn't giving her a tenner. On the road at 9, through miles and miles of onion country; flat fields, straight roads and very little else. Today I pined for busy streets, terraced houses and enclosed spaces. A sign told me 20,000 truckloads of this most smelly of vegetables were shipped nationwide every season. As soon as it warmed up, off came the jumper and trousers, and on went the suntan lotion. Stopped in Nyssa for groceries, and today's sandwich turned out to be the most flavoursome of the trip so far : an Italian themed sub, thick with salami, pickles, olives, hot peppers and soft, soft cheese. Then across the Snake River dividing Oregon and Idaho, but more of the same old smelly, flat fields stretching to the horizon.

Finally able to update my blog for the first time in three days, at a library in Caldwell, where a man questioned me about my trip (I was wearing lycra). He suggested I go to places off my route, told me about his five cars, his five kids, work in real estate (which like everything else is faring poorly) and his occasional military tours of Iraq as an interrogator. I still cannot believe how welcoming and open people are here. Continued from rural fringes, towards downtown Boise, traffic and urbanization increasing all the way. Funny to be held at lights in multi-lane highways and see beautiful women again, after several days in the boondocks. There are so many cell phone-using drivers and also motorcyclists without helmets. I don't know how the law stands on these issues and it's different in each state, but something should be done.

Tonight's game of Scrabble (yes I played Scrabble!) was with Janice, who had come down from New Meadows in the mountains to the north, to her second home here in the city to play a game with me, via the Pixie Pit. It was good to have home cooking (meatballs and pasta)as well as Idaho wine, after all those burgers. The game was neck and neck much of the way, even when I played the one bingo (REGIONS). I hadn't seen it initially and put down GROINES instead, which Janice rightly challenged off the board. The E of REGIONS was positioned off PUB to make PUBE. Later it turned out to be erroneous (Janice didn't query it at the time) although PUBES was bona fide. Janice had been reading my blog and was proud to report that unlike pretty much everyone I've talked politics with so far, she was a Republican. She especially liked Sarah Palin, as she could relate to her children and her down to earth nature. Janice had four children, 10 grandchildren and one great grandchild on the way. She also told me about the recent indiscretion of the Idaho Governor, a man with a wife and children, who had tried to pick up a man in a restroom and the man in question turned out to be an undercover police officer. His wife stood by him, but he lost his job. Unlike Washington and Oregon, Idaho is predominantly right-leaning.

Tonight I stayed with Nancy and Clyde, sister and brother-in-law of Reva in Belfair and whom I had met there. They had offered to put me up and as the next day was a rest day, I would be staying with them for two nights. They had been playing golf today and had played 36 holes with Nancy's 80 year old mother. Nancy and Clyde wanted to stop after two rounds, which had taken eight hours, but the old lady wanted to carry on! We stayed up until 2.30, drinking wine and talking about the election and religion. They seemed pretty liberal and well-informed. Clyde put me to shame with his knowledge of the Middle East and also knew quite a bit about Britain. Apparently today had seen the worst plummet ever in a single day's trading at Wall Street. Unfortunately I can't remember a lot else about the discussion and I blame the wine.

A little fragile in the morning, but that was soon put right with three cups of coffee and a bathtub jacuzzi session. I weighed myself and have lost a whole pound in the two weeks since I've been here. I had expected it to be a lot more and I blame American food. No wonder there's so much obesity here, that's all I can say. I don't think British people, with the food on offer there, have the same excuse.


paul said...

Glad to see you are faring well, making headway and watching out for rattlesnakes. Actually I'd be amazed if you really did see one... Also glad you get to have some interaction with the conservative perspective. I have a point of view but it's certainly not the only valid one...it's just the one that makes sense to me.

melissadavlin said...

We're ready for a Scrabble showdown in Twin Falls. Hope you're faring well and we'll see you tomorrow.

Adrian said...

I'm very impressed with how clued up people are. Or does that sound patronizing? Yes, see you tomorrow evening Melissa!