On the road, with rainbows and a guide to splattered bugs…


We got a late start leaving Portland for Olympia, WA yesterday morning. When we left, it was sunny and I was excited about the possibility of traveling north into more sun. Anna had sent me a message earlier saying it was a glorious day in Olympia. Like that famous 15 minutes of fame…

…the sunshine was over in about two minutes, and we were back to overcast skies with threatening rain. Oh well, it IS the northwest. Max was OK with it. We were on the road, he was in familiar territory (his crate), and it was nap time. I was on my own.

We hadn’t gone too far – Vancouver, WA to be exact – when I got a bee in my bonnet to find an AT&T store to pick up a free 3G gizmo to improve my signal at home. And I won’t be home for another month! It wasn’t like I had to get it right that minute. According to my iPhone app, the AT&T store was right off I-5, not far from where I had just filled the gas tank. Let’s GO!

“Oh, we don’t have that here. You have to go to a corporate store for it.” Stee-rike One! He rattled off where the other two stores were located, and I acted like a local, nodding my head and saying, “Thanks so much for your help,” as I turned to the door. In the car, I looked up AT&T stores on the iPhone, punched the closest address into the GPS, and set out.

Jake the GPS guy is a tad better than Vanessa was, and he managed to get me there with no missed turns. Of course, by now, we’ve got a half hour into it – and remember, I DON’T NEED THE THING FOR A MONTH! If then. The second store was as small as the first – what makes it a corporate store? I forgot to ask.

A lovely young woman told me they did have it in stock, and handled the transaction quickly and professionally. In less than 15 minutes, I was walking out the door with the box in hand, gizmo safe inside.

By now, it was lunchtime. Driving around Portland somewhere the other day, Diana told me that Burgerville serves locally raised, antibiotic-free, sustainable beef. I had passed one on the way to the AT&T store, so I backtracked and found it – without the aid of Jack the GPS guy! Woo-Hoo! Had a delicious cheeseburger, fries and small strawberry shake.

I was shocked by two things: the burger tasted like a burger, and the shake was really SMALL! Like maybe 12 ounces small. Great meal. Great place. They even have posters on the walls showcasing their suppliers.

In addition to providing their customers with high quality, locally-produced food, they also provide affordable health insurance to their employees for $15 month! In business since 1961, they are committed to their business model. After going to their website, I am so impressed that I urge you to check out their sustainable business philosophy and practices for yourself by clicking here.

OK – off the soapbox! On to splattered bugs. When I was filling the gas tank, I noticed this poster on the pump, and had to take a picture:

Can’t you hear the kids? “Mommy, please! Can we go to 76 and get gas so I can read the poster? Please? PLEASE?

As we continued towards Olympia, the skies darkened, rain came in small showers, then gushing downpours that slowed us from 70 MPH (the posted limit by the way) to less than 55. Then, the most amazing thing happened. Behind us to the left (west), the sun broke through and suddenly there was a RAINBOW arcing across the trees to my right and landing in the road about 300 feet ahead!

Not just a pokey little rainbow either. This was a gorgeous full-spectrum, intense, fat rainbow. And it kept pace with the cars, not allowing me to catch it or pass through it, but moving down the highway at 60 MPH. Cars in front of me were spewing little plumes of rainbow from their rear tires, the rainbow kept on going, and I was entranced!

Then the rain picked up, the sunlight and rainbow vanished, and we were back in the Pacific Northwest on a rainy day. Driving north on a rain-slicked freeway. Just as suddenly, the rainbow reappeared – this time arching all the way across all four lanes into the fields on the opposite side. We rounded a curve and it was arching from the left down to the ground on the right.

It was one of the most beautiful things I’ve ever encountered. There was a moment, when I felt like Tumbleweed caught that rainbow. We were closing the gap between it and our front bumper. Then, the car in front of us looked like it drove through. There was a flash of purple-pink on the rear license plate of that car; then we were in golden light for just an instant and through to the other side. Back on an ordinary rainy road.

There have been many experiences on this trip that will stay with me forever, and that half hour of heavy rain and rewarding, promising rainbows will be right up there at the top of the list.

We finally got to Anna’s house about 3:30 (after checking in at our hotel). She’s got a sweet, tiny apartment that suits her needs as a college student. It’s in a house on a quiet country road about a mile from campus. The property is enclosed by a fence with a farm gate across the driveway. Reminds me of being in Maine more than anything else I’ve seen in this neck of the woods.

We went to her Co-op for groceries, and returned to prepare a tasty meal of coconut rice, local spotted shrimp, and kale with garlic. She made a delicious pear, blood orange, meyer lemon tart for dessert. We spent hours talking about her schooling, what she’d like to do next, my trip, friends, travel, puppies, and MAX in particular!. By the time I returned to the hotel, it was 10:30!

I am so happy that I was able to come and see her here in Olympia before she completes her time here and graduates. It’s been a long and twisting road for her to get to this point, and I’m really proud of her. She’s determined, resourceful, and fiercely independent – all excellent qualities for a young woman to take out into the bigger world.

Today, we three are heading to Seattle for the weekend…

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About Maureen Farr

I am a graphic and web designer – and the publisher of the print version of Arts Guide, a free guide highlighting the arts, dining, events, and more on the coast of Maine. In addition, I am a visual artist working in mixed media and encaustic, as well as creating found object jewelry. I am currently at work revising a short novel that I wrote as a participant in the 32nd Annual 3-Day Novel Contest.
This entry was posted in Eating out on a road trip, Friends along the way, Musings, On the Road, Oregon, Portland, Traveling with a dog, Traveling wth a poodle, WA, Washington and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

12 Responses to On the road, with rainbows and a guide to splattered bugs…

  1. Marilyn Wheeler says:

    It’s way more fun “travelling” with you than with Kerouac!

  2. Maureen Farr says:

    WOW! Thanks Marilyn. I am honored.

  3. Gandalf says:

    What? WHAT? Triple WHAT?

    No pictures of the rainbows?? tsk tsk

    Well, I’ll still send you Sarah Margaret’s pink snow url from a couple of days ago . . .

    All is forgiven.

  4. Sounds like a great visit with Anna! I wish you had a picture of that rainbow–it isn’t often that you see one that actually looks like you could HOLD it in your hands, you know? It’s like magic! Hope you have a great time in Seattle! I’m sure we’ll talk this weekend. . . xoxo Cin

  5. Catherine says:

    I once drove through a rainbow in Sedgewick. It was a magical unforgettable experience, one that I hope will find me again someday. Lucky you to have been in the right place at exactly the right time!

  6. jane says:

    hi maureen

    your story of your trip has given me much pleasure. i am travelling with my dog and your tips have helped me find motels, place to take her. best, jane

  7. hank says:

    say hi to anna 4 me, momo. the rainbow lives vividly in imagination!

    • Maureen Farr says:

      Yay Hank! Glad you liked it. I will say Hi to her for you tomorrow when I see her again. We are all in Seattle! Just drove back over to my hotel and saw the space needle for the first time. Looking forward to exploring tomorrow.

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