Day 10

The Girl from Richland

The DR650 infront of the Detroit Lake Marina general store, Detroit, Oregon, USA
The DR650 infront of the Detroit Lake Marina general store, Detroit, Oregon, USA

Scorpion Creek Campground to Richland


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I got up early. I was worried someone would catch me tresspassing. When I scrambled out of the tent I realised where I was. I slept under some electricity pylons. This must’ve been an access road for them. It would be company land. I didn’t have to worry about a private owner chasing me with a gun. I took my time with breakfast and made my way back to Detroit to get fuel.

It was a cute spot by the marina. The general store was closed. Thankfully it would open in 10 minutes. I saw the owner walking around inside. She didn’t let me in until it was exactly 7am… I got fuel and headed back up the road to Scorpion Creek Campground. It was a lovely road during the day. The trees reached over the road. It was cold.

I zigzaged through the mountains along the river until I reached the outskirts of Portland. I found the Historic Columbia River Highway. There was a vista point along it that overlooked the Columbia River. It was the border of Oregon and Washington. There were plenty of people. It was marred by a thick coat of smoke. I couldn’t see too far. I continued up the river.

I followed the river on the Highway. I planned to go up through Canada via Glacier National Park. I stayed on the south side of the river until I reached the Bridge of the Gods. It came out of nowhere. I rode across it. It cost me 1 dollar. I followed the Lewis and Clarke Highway from here on. A name I would see a lot in my travels. This was a mostly frieght route with little scenic value. Perhaps the river was traditionally used that way. The landscape began to turn dry as I moved out of the hills. It was hot.

I jumped off the North side highway and across to the South to get fuel at Biggs Junction. There were heaps of people stopping for the numerous fast food outlets. I jumped into the McDonalds to grab a bite and a humoungous soda to cool off from the Summer heat. I planned my next stop at Kennewick.

Riding back to the North side I found a peach farm on the way. They had a stall on the side of the road. I throught I’d grab some. The two girls inside didn’t pay me any attention. I was expecting some country hospitality I suppose. Instead I just got a bunch of gigantic juicy peaches. They charged me 5 USD a kilo though! They were, without a doubt, the best peaches I had ever had.

The ride to Kennewick was uneventful. It was long straight highways all the way. I stopped at a cafe to find the nearest campground. A young girl noticed the bike out the front and asked me about it. She joined me on the large sofa like chairs for a chat. “I wish I could do what you were doing”, she explained. “You can”, I replied She had been in Richland her whole life. She struggled with her family until she had got a great opportunity at a weld shop to work. It wasn’t the job she envisioned but found the work theraptic. She motioned the footpeddle with her hand in a wave like motion. She enjoyed it. “I just want to get a car and drive to the coast. I’ve never seen the ocean” “You should, it’s beautiful over there” She was inspired. She must’ve been about 18. “Do you know any campgrounds around here?”, I asked. “Yeah, there’s one of the edge of town” I plugged it into Google and found it.

I said good-bye to the girl from Richland and went to Horn Rapid Campground. It was early for once so I grabbed a can of beer at a store to celebrate. The campground was huge. It had lush green areas with picnic tables, toilets and showers. It was an oasis against the dry land I had travelled. It was a paid campground as you’d expect. I went over to the information board to grab a payment form. There were none. I called the number on the board to the park ranger. There was no answer.

The shower was nice and warm. I hadn’t had one since I was at Timi’s house. I was starting to run out of clean clothes though. I carried about 6 pairs of underwear, a few socks and t-shirts. The underwear concerned me the most, followed by the socks. I eventually got a call from the Ranger. I explained there was no envelopes to pay. He said he would swing by in the morning. Little did he know. I planned to escape before he came.

I heard the howl of wild dogs in the distance as I fell asleep.



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