While we were making breakfast on this particular morning, Little Bird pointed out that Walden’s right rear tire, the same one that had been repaired a couple days before, again looked low.
After breakfast, which included the potatoes that had been cooked in foil in the previous evening’s fire, I found the nearest Google-reported tire store, about 40 minutes away, and headed out. It was a pretty beautiful drive.
I found the little tire store, told the guy what I knew about the previous repair involving a bad seal at the bead, and he suggested that I may need a new tire. It’d be an hour before he could get to it.
I left the tire and drove off in Walden. Nearby, I found a place to refill my soda jug and looked for a coffee shop where I might get a wifi connection and hang out. It was quickly apparent that this little one-horse town wasn’t going to offer anything like that (I was not entirely convinced that there was even the one horse). I ended up pulling over at a historic marker, where I had a decent 3G connection, and writing there.
After an hour or so I went back to the tire place, but they still hadn’t diagnosed the problem. I sat out front, clickety-clacking. A while later, the owner came over and showed me a very small nail or wire that had punctured the tire. They patched it and I was on my way.
I stopped at a grocery store on the way out of “town” and bought some supplies, mostly stuff to make fajitas. As I was leaving the grocery store, I drained the cooler to put in more ice and a fellow who appeared to be a native American came over and told me that I was wasting a lot of water. He went on to tell me that water was sacred to his people. I told him that I would like very much to find a way to keep food cold without wasting water, and that sometimes I bought dry ice. He asked where I was from and he told me that he had fought fires in Tennessee. After our conversation, he asked me if I had any change. I have him a little change. After that, a woman from the grocery store told him that if he didn’t leave the premises immediately she was calling the police.
Back at the camp site there was no sign of anyone. I started the meat marinating in some seasoned rice vinegar, Worcestershire sauce, garlic powder, five spice powder, maybe some cayenne, and then pulled out a laptop to write some more. While I was waiting, a little fox ran by with something in its mouth.
Before long, Little Bird returned. I asked her where Ox was. He was asleep in the tent. I cooked up the fajitas. Ox made some rice with his secret seasoning, and we had a damn fine dinner. Both evenings we were in this place, a deer came around to snack on the greenery.
It was cold that night. I retired pretty early to Walden and cranked up the furnace. I started thinking that the idea of hauling some stuff up into the woods to sleep outside in the cold was not so appealing, perhaps somewhere more southerly.
I started to think to about the route. I had originally intended to go to Seattle next, but my companions were headed for Portland, a scant three hours south of Seattle. Sure, I could go strait to Seattle and drop them their to let them find their own way to Portland, but I was already starting to feel like I would feel better if I just got them to their intended destination. Of course they had no real plans for what to do when they arrived in Portland, but who was I to judge?