Home is an unpaved road

“Mom do you know how many signs there are to your house that say the road narrows?” This from my daughter on a drive to our Idaho home. I did not know. So I started at one end where our gravel road meets the highway and drove to the other end where it loops back to the highway. I found more signs than I am sharing, and many tree houses, too, along our route. For me, home is a sense of place, a sense of the wild in nature and in my life. I have lived in mountains, on a beach, almost on a boat, and in cities.

My feeling of home brings sounds of people chatting, laughing, and crying together. I smell aromas from family cooking together in our kitchens, the compost in gardens, and rotting seaweed on a beach. The sense of home would make a challenging photo series. Some feelings can’t be photographed.

I see me in a place remote from city sirens and helicopters, a place where I encounter wildlife and rocks and rivers and can walk daily in peace. I want to get off the pavement and journey up a dirt road, ever narrowing, to a home where I can retreat from the fast pace of life. A place to renew myself and my family and set us running back to pavement when the time is right.

Pacific Northwest Travel Journal October 2014

I traveled to Port Angeles, Washington, USA, in mid October after living away for a year. I lived at the sea port for many years, with a home in Idaho, too. Here are selected photos from my autumn trip across the Pacific Northwest. You can see more in my post about a little almost-ghost town where we stopped for lunch on our trip home. “Washtucna, No Town for Old Dogs”

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Where the heck is Washtucna?


Washtucna, No Town for Old Dogs

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Washtucna, Washington, USA. We pulled over for coffee at the highway stop shop where they also offer a menu of hot dog dressings and sell antique dishes. Hot dogs on  a road trip? Let’s see if we can find an interesting locals diner in town instead.

The welcome sign at the edge of town invited us to cruise Main Street and shop local businesses. The whole town was closed, many buildings boarded up, something like a ghost town! We spotted Sonny’s, the only place open in town, and determined it was not the cafe-tavern for us. The only people we saw were the two coming out of the tavern, a driver watching wild turkeys from his car parked by a stream in a park, and one woman in bright pink pajama pants who stood on her porch and yelled at us to get off unmarked private property, a scrubby deserted lot across the highway from her home. We didn’t even see a dog. But we did find plenty of subjects to photograph before we ate hot dogs and hit the highway again.

We drove to the not-so-far end of town and made our way back to Highway 26. Looks like population 100 or maybe less. Stark! Washtucna has at least 5 tiny parks, put in so they could qualify for a grant. Nobody we talked to at the highway stop remembered anything else about the grant.

We toured town in gusty wind, and then ate our hot dogs in the parking lot of the Sunflower Park next to the highway. There, four signs warned us that dogs are not allowed so we kept the German Shepherds in the van. After lunch I photographed the four signs and more. When I walked through the little grassy area I discovered why dogs are banned. And possibly why there are no dogs to be seen in this ghostly town, except hot dogs.

Here is my photo tour of Washtucna. Click the first photo to start the slide show. Look for silos in the background, signs of the grain industry that thrived here almost a hundred years ago. Today I get hints of a setting for a horror or sci-fi tale, or maybe an unlikely romance story. Zombies…and dogs…lots of dogs…

To see my photo-journal of my autumn trip across the Pacific Northwest click this link.

For another town tour go to Aberdeen, Scotland with Rachel.

Show me your town or one you pass through on your travels. You can send me a link in comments. Happy trails!