Thursday, July 29, 2010

Sheep and Whales and Lead, Oh My

The spouse and I left Hermiston early this morning to drive to the coast. Our objective was not only to enjoy the beautiful summer weather and ocean breezes, but to....wait for a half a ton of lead!  We are now driving the pickup around the coast with a load of lead secured in the back.  For the record, the spouse did not find any coolers during the 300 mile journey to the sea.  He did point out one cooler lid, but since we were in a construction zone with only one lane of traffic on the freeway, he was (thankfully) unable to stop.  He did point out numerous hubcaps to me.  There was one stretch of road in Portland that had hubcaps every 500 yards.  Urban freeway recovery is much more complicated than in eastern Oregon.  Since we are maximizing our load limits with the lead, the hubcaps are still up for grabs.

We've had a very relaxing day.  It's like rehearsing for retirement.  In the Columbia River Gorge we spotted the big horn sheep and stopped to watch them.  The herd has grown considerably since they were first reintroduced to the gorge several years ago.

Once we got to Lincoln City, the spouse dropped me off at the Outlet Mall while he went to get the lead.  Anytime I can buy shoes at 50% off it's a good day!

We took a drive up the coast to a viewpoint by Depot Bay.  We walked out to the edge of the cliff and were watching the ocean when a gray whale surfaced and blew right in front of us.  He rolled over and resurfaced several times while we watched.  Such an impressive sight.

We had dinner at an Oregon coast institution, Mo's.  While we were waiting in line for a table, I realized that the couple in front of us were also from Hermiston.  Small world!  After dinner we returned to the hotel.  I was asking a question at the front desk when a man came in to register.  He mentioned that he was tired from a long drive and I asked him where he was from....wait for it...Hermiston!  It really is a small world, or we're being followed.

Tomorrow we're heading back to Portland.  Our daughter has been in Japan for the past few weeks for her job.  She is flying home to Austin via Portland.  We'll pick  her up and take her to visit her grandparents during her six hour layover.  Then we'll drop her back at the airport and take our load of lead back to Hermiston.

Are you asking yourself "What the hell is he doing with a half a ton of lead?"  Trust me, I had the same question.  Apparently the price of lead has skyrocketed.  My spouse, who likes a bargain almost as much as me, found a source of lead that was considerably cheaper than what he could get locally.  He uses the lead to reload shotgun shells for trap shooting.  So if you're going to drive 300 miles to buy lead, you certainly want to make the trip worthwhile, so you buy a half a ton!  And, no, I'm not helping to load or unload it!


  1. What natural marvels you go to see! I would love to see bighorn sheep and/or a whale of any description!

    A couple of questions about sizes of things:
    1. How big is a half ton of lead? I'm guessing not very big.
    2. How many sizes too small do you have to buy shoes to find them half off? (Sorry. It made me think of that ancient elevator joke: "Ladies underwear, half off.")

  2. So much fun to read about you traveling roads that are familiar territory for me. We saw the sheep in the gorge last summer for the first time and were thrilled (we were on our way to Canada). I'll be at the Portland airport this evening, in my husband's arms for the first time in a week (spent in Iowa writing).

  3. June, You're right, a half a ton of lead is surprisingly small. It sure made an impact on our gas mileage though! The lead was in small a quart of ice cream size and they took up about 2 feet X 3 feet in the back of the pickup.

    Deb, I bet you and my daughter crossed paths at the airport. I'm looking forward to hearing about your writing experience.


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