We’re Off


Tomorrow we head out for the 3000 mile trek via back roads and small towns, hoping to make it to northern PA by August 18.

Kate Oechler and Cliff Hunter will be married on that day, in the family homestead of Cedar Pines. Kate is the youngest child of my youngest sibling, Mike Oechler and his wife, Kitty,¬† and also a person of impeccable taste. I know something of her taste because she chose Cliff, but also because she asked me to do the painting on the announcement shown above. We are eager to join in their celebration, to meet and greet family and friends and make new friends, and then, after the festivities are over, to take possession of the house and do some work: I’ll paint, Jer will Wikipedia, and we’ll both check out the rails-to-trails on the other side of Pine Creek.

But before we get to Pennsylvania we must cover the northern reaches of the US via back (red on our map) roads, going through small towns and perhaps crossing into Canada for a few days in order to drop down between the lakes to Niagara Falls, and from there, to Wellsboro PA and down Babbs and Pine Creek to Cedar Pines.

Preparations include:

Meds and “meds”

Peets and Peanut butter

And my infamous red bag, full of electronic devices (‘Droid, Kindle, cell phone) and their chargers as well as loose art supplies, like oil crayons, charcoal and pencils, and sketchbooks. Also the snake stomping boots and the aquacize belt — that blue foam thing.

Tomorrow we head out to the Maryhill Museum, crossing the Mighty Columbia into Washington at Cascade Locks. Maryhill has a new wing and their current exhibits include “The Subject is Light”, contemporary realist paintings, primarily landscapes. Maryhill sits on a bluff above the Columbia on the dry side of the Cascades. You can see forever from the Mansion-turned-museum.

Then we’ll go continue north and east, staying the night in Clarkston, at the confluence of the Snake and Clearwater Rivers — famous waters for those of us in this neck of the woods. The next day, we will take Rt 12 up the Lochsa River in the Bitterroot Mountains and finish in Basin, Montana (between Helena and Butte, along I-15) where I did 2 months of a residency in December and January, 2007-08. We want to see the town when it isn’t shrouded in ice.

With any luck, I’ll be blogging along the way. We plan to move slowly, checking out anything that catches our eye. The journey in this case is an important¬† part of the adventure; the goal is to enjoy everything, travel across miles of plains, prairies, mountains and forest, festivities that include people we love, art making in the concentrated way that feeds my soul, family, friends, old haunts, new visions. What joy! –June

24 Responses to “We’re Off”

  1. Kate Y. Says:

    When I did my big solo road trip up the east coast in 2000, I found that the mom&pop motels I preferred were most likely on the outskirts of towns with five-digit populations….

    • june Says:

      Good advice, Kate. We’re lazy about accomodations — Best Westerns when we can find them — totally boring and reliable. We tend to fall into exhausted stupors upon reaching the lodging. But some of these days we’ll want to stay longer than a night’s sleep, so we’ll keep our eye out for small towns.

  2. jeaniedee Says:

    I, too, am envious, I guess. I remember cross-country trips I’ve made previously and began to think that, perhaps, Doug and I could make one or more trips with no special time to arrive, with the caveat that we should stop whenever we want and should check out anything that interests us, and with minimal to no use of freeways and other big roads. It sounds idyllic to me. I wonder which would be better: finding sleeping arrangements day by day or renting a small camper van for the trip.

    • june Says:

      We looked at campers, but decided the hassle of finding places to stop with one as well as the $$ involved made motels much simpler. Our default is the Best Western — not too expensive, clean, usually decent, not fancy, but more than adequate. But along the way, we’ll find ourselves having to settle into other digs. We actually joined the Triple A, partly because of our aging vehicle, partly because of the maps, and partly because they might help us find places to stay.

      As for idyllic, well, there are moments and moments. We had a fight over carrots this evening, until I started to laugh and Jer grinned and we decided not to mention them ever again.

  3. jan2bratt Says:

    Hope you have a safe trip with no car problems!

    • june Says:

      Thanks, Jan. We’ll see, won’t we. The 94 Honda with 111,000 plus miles on it seems to be tooling along. But it (and we) aren’t used to hot weather. So we’ll see:-)

  4. Kate Says:

    I’m excited Aunt June! You’re wonderfully adventurous today!

  5. Diane Says:

    Well, I must say I am jealous.

    • june Says:

      Good! I’m always jealous of you between November and July, so this should even things out a bit –snort– thanks for checking in, Diane — and cheers!

  6. Carla Says:

    It sounds like a wonderful trip. I will wait anxiously for your posts along the way.

  7. janetl Says:

    I’ll miss you! I love your use of “Wikipedia” as a verb.

  8. Lia Says:

    You are inspiring wanderlust in me! Happy trails to you two! Look forward to reading about the adventures.

    • june Says:

      Thanks, Lia. This is a good way to quell wanderlust. I figure if we make it through this trip, we’ll probably stayed married for another 49 years –snort–

  9. Jean M. Judd Says:

    Enjoy the journey, June! There is so much beautiful scenery along the way! Those are the kinds of trips we love to take as well — usually with a classic car. We have done the Route 12 trip from WI to Detroit and Route 2 from Duluth, MN to the Pacific. If you were following Route 12 a good portion of the way, you would be within an hour and a half of my studio in Northern WI.

    • june Says:

      Our car isn’t a classic but it might be a “classic”, Jean. It’s a 1994 Honda, still in fine shape.

      We won’t stay on Rt 12 after the Lochsa and Missoula; we want to check out the Missouri Breaks and the Theodore Roosevelt National Park. Then we’ll head north to Rt 2, going into Canada on the northern Peninsula of Michigan. Definitely backroad travel. Good to know that someone else does these crazy trips.

  10. Olga Says:

    Great! I look forward to following your e-trail. I must dig out our US roadmap. Have fun!

    • june Says:

      Get out your map, Olga. Today we went on I-84 out of Portland, crossed to Washington at Cascades Lock to Rt 14, followed that until we crossed the Columbia back into Oregon on an Interstate (83?) and then picked up Rt 12 all the way to Clarkston WA, just across the Snake River from Lewiston Idaho. Wonderful territory.

  11. Del Thomas Says:

    Happy Trails! I’ll be following your wanderings. Love, Del

    • june Says:

      Del And Gerrie — I’m hoping to blog all the way across, but that may be more hope than reality. Of course, I have Del’s model to follow, but not her energy:-) Anyway, I’ll keep trying.

  12. Gerrie Says:

    Sounds like fun. Hope you keep us posted on your travels!

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