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May 9, 2017: Heading Home

I am on an airplane, heading home. This is the final leg of my trip. I am eager to see Pete, who will be waiting for me at the airport. And Ryder, who will be in the car. Pete will be ecstatic; Ryder will be noncommittal. I have presents for Pete in my backpack, mints for the horses in my shirt.

Hard to believe that this day started out at 4:30 a.m. – an Amtrak employee shook my foot – I was actually dreaming, meaning that I was partially asleep. I got up, got my gear together, and then along with what seemed like dozens of others, got off the train and on the bus that was going to Portland. The bridge to Pasco and points beyond was being repaired, so they were bussing us to our final destination.

The bus was crowded. Joe, travelling companion, sat next to me. I was glad to have him sit next to me because I wasn’t up for exchanging pleasantries with someone I did not know. Joe, I now knew well. I had been given a regular breakfast and he was given a regular breakfast and a sleeper car breakfast.

Beautiful drive along the Columbia River – and the weather was cooperating. Joe and I talked quietly – he was heading to his evening school board meeting in Sheridan Oregon – wasn’t sure if he would make it.

I claimed my baggage in Portland, at the train station, and then sat on a bench out in the sun and waited for Eleanor, who materialized ten minutes late because she first went to the bus station. So good to see her – we had a great day together; actually, it was the most relaxing day of my trip. We first went to the Woodstock area and ate deli food above the grocery store, then in the afternoon, rested, talked, and rested.

El is 28 days from retirement – as we both agreed, retirement being an odd term because she is not that old. But it’s time; things are becoming untenable in the school where she teaches. She is now wondering what to do with her time. I didn’t say what I was thinking, which was that I who have been retired for close to 20 years could give her lessons. I wasn’t sure that she’d appreciate it, hearing about this. The differences are that I have a lifestyle that centered around my home based activities, and she has a lifestyle that’s centered around her school related activities.

In listening to El talk, it is quite clear to me that she’s a gifted teacher and a very hard worker. And I am sure that the children all love her. I tell her this, and she does not believe me. I wish she did.

We had dinner at one of our favorite seafood restaurants, then after went for another walk, admiring old houses and trees and plants in bloom. The sunny, warm weather also put us in good spirits.

El dropped me off at the airport – I really wanted to stay a few days, but as with Jacki, she has a job and would not be able to spend time with me. I did invite her to the Aleutians – sure would like to take her on a trip there because she likes to watch birds.

I am so eager to get home that I cannot stand it.

Next: 130. 5/10/17: Mr. Briar,

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