Sunday, July 25, 2010

The Journey Concludes (aka: OK, this has gone on long enough)

(Ominous 1930's radio announcer) When last we left our dynamic duo, they were battling the savage beast that is sleeping in a hotel in Idaho.  Can they best their valiant foe?  Will they complete their journey?  And who is Sheldon Devane?

OK, so since I'm writing this recap, clearly we survived.  We did complete our journey.  And, if you've ever enjoyed a delicious shrimp cocktail, you know about shelled and devained. I digress.

Day 2 of our Homer-esque travels was completely different from day 1.  The cat was very sedate.  In fact, Konowalchuk had been transformed.  He was no longer the screaming angry feline ready to flatten tires with his claws and puncture my arteries with his fangs.  No, something was different.  My beloved little man had become... he had become an Over-The-Road trucker.  He was wearing a mesh backed John Deere hat, had a chaw in one side of his lip and a smoke hanging out the other.  He would yell at the four-wheelers to pick it up and was craving his next hit of meth.  He even went searching for his milk jug to pee in and toss at other truckers. 

In actuality, other than one seemingly obtuse river crossing, Kono was a great traveling companion.  I even think I heard him laugh along with the Carolla podcast a few times.  Our excitement came at the very moment we entered our new home state.

For those of you that know Oregon, you will know the town of Pendleton.  For those of you that know my family, you will know the name Bud.  Yup, my dear ol' dead beat dad, upon leaving my family before I was born, picked up and mosied off to Oregon.  Settled down in Pendleton or Hermiston.  I can't recall which one.  Maybe both.  Of course, most of his time he spent in the State Pen so doubt he had a lot of time to enjoy the beauty of those towns.  Luckily for him, there wasn't an abundance to enjoy.

At Hermiston, you turn north to cross the mighty Columbia River and join up with the leftist colony known as Washington State.  Ironically named, as our first president would have thrown his dusty white wig at these people if he knew his name was associated with their political leanings.  Like naming Cuba "Jeffersonia" I suppose.  Anyway, enough of that.

To make entry into Washington, you cross the Columbia River on I-82.  I have been in this area before.  As a matter of fact, as a boy I was at this very spot overlooking the Columbia with my family on a road trip the day it was announced the Soviet Union was ending its run of wildly unsuccessful communism.  If I had a crystal ball back then I am sure the word "Putin" would have come thru it and I would know I shouldn't expect long standing results.  The point being, I have a historical tie to this stretch of land and that is what had my attention.

Looking back I realize that is where I made my mistake.  While reminiscing about travelling the world in a faded tan 1979 Datsun 210 station wagon with 4 bald bias-ply retread tires and at least 2 very angry women, I should have been thinking about my land-locked Hebrew of a cat riding just inches from my bare skin and blood vessels.  Kono, as far as I know, has never seen water.  I mean, sure, he loves taking showers with me and his favorite place in the world to lay is a bathroom sink.  But that's not really water.  No, not quite like, say, crossing a large river used to carry ship traffic from an ocean to the inner workings of our country.  That's water.

Turns out, he aint a fan.  Or to be fair, he wasn't sure if he was a fan and figured it was best to err on the side of caution and just begin attacking me in case he wasn't a fan.

The bridge over the Columbia sits in a lovely little valley with the McNary Dam about 500 yards upstream.  Its visually pleasing.  Its scratchually horrendous.  It was all a matter of poor timing really.  As I was about to begin traversing the bridge, K chose the moment to stand up, stretch in that arched back way a cat has to make it seem like they've just come out of a five winter long hibernation, take stock of the landscape that is passing by, AND HURL HIS FAT LITTLE BODY IN MY DIRECTION LIKE THE GHOST OF A THOUSAND NEUTERING VETS WAS OUTSIDE HIS WINDOW!!!

He'd seen the water.  He took hold of my right arm with his claws of death and held on tight.  With our 25 foot long traveling circus I was pretty sure I couldn't simply take my hands off the wheel and extricate my new growth from my bloody bicep.  But it became clear something had to be done. 

I should apologize to the poor family from Montana in the silver Dodge Caravan.  They too were a victim of poor timing.  They decided to pass my traveling mess at a moment which will be seared into their psyche for years to come.  It was obvious to me my cat was not kidding around.  I had to do something.  And, I decided to make my move.  As the Caravan made the left rear corner of the U-Haul trailer, I began to gently (furiously) begin trying to shake 20 pounds of angry cat off my arm.  What the family along side me saw was a now swaying trailer, a truck bed with a tarp feverishly flapping in the Ore-Wash winds, and a commotion in a silver Toyota Tacoma that looked half comical and half life-changing.  It was a sea of fur and blood and wailing and gnashing of teeth.  And then there was the cat.

By the time we entered Washington and reached dry land, Kenworth K as he now likes to be known on the CB radio had finally come to rest in the back seat of the truck.  He found his cat crate, and for the first time since we joined forces, he just crawled into it.  And that was his resting locale for the final 5 hours of our journey.  Never heard another word out of him.

I passed the Tri-Cities, where my cousin Eddy and his family live in Richland.  Past Yakima, where the greatest board game ever, The Farming Game, originated.  All the town names, Satus, Hurrah, Toppenish, vividly familiar from hours of sitting around the table fighting with the family on game nights.  I saw the little town of Ellensburg, probably the prettiest place I've seen on the mainland.

Summitting Snoqualmie Pass, I knew I was nearly to my new home.  I also knew that I needed my cat to chill in his crate because our new city is really just a strip of dirt in between a LOT of water.  As I came down I-90 and prepared to cross Lake Washington onto Mercer Island and then into Seattle proper, I slowly and gently closed the door to Kono's crate.  He was non-plussed.  He wanted the trip to be over as badly as I did.

It had taken us a day and a half, but by mid day on Tuesday, July 13, Konowalchuk and TheM@ had reached their new home in their new city.  And what a city it is. 

From this point forward, I hope to keep the blogs shorter and the pictures more plentiful.  This city is amazing, the views never end, and I know the one or two of you actually reading this want to know about my existence here more than you wanted to hear about the journey to get here.  Well let me assure you, I live a boring life so you got the best already.  I know, I am supposed to say stay tuned for more riveting drama.  But instead, stay tuned for some beautiful pictures and just maybe some moderately interesting reading.


  1. Another great post, sir. Unfortunately, photos are not allowed in the comments section, so you'll have to accept a link instead:

  2. That is a funny picture... unless youve recently been attacked by an angry furball. then its traumatizing.

  3. okay, that made me giggle and giggle. Matt I'm sorry to hear you've left lovely Colorado but we wish you the best! good for you for packing it all in and changing things up! I can't wait to read more. I may even become a follower especially if cameron goes on the hiatus again! ;)

  4. Thanks, Jen! I appreciate your joining in on my attempt to let my fingers do the talking on this, the Cameronomiconosphere Blogging Network.

    And anytime you and Paul wanna head up my way, let me know! We will find a fishy equivilant to the James Tea Kirk!

  5. If you took that picture of the Seattle skyline (although, I am not quite sure that you did based on the timeline and storyline), you should sell it! That's something someone would take a picture of, copywrite and then put on the internet for people to download and then SELL to people that have purchased the rights. Anyway, enjoy Seattle. Thanks for killing Kurt Cobain.

  6. ha ha ha ha Regan..... ugh... :)
    He is right that it's a great photo, though.

  7. Thanks. I did take the pic. I took lots of dang near the same pic. It comes from the Kerry Park over view up the street from me on Queen Anne hill.

    Quite the city.

  8. Aye, indeed. I can't wait to visit. And maybe pee off of that patio you have (you might wanna warn the doorman, if you've got one).