Day 18: Thursday 9th June 2011.
Spokane, WA is today’s destination, to meet friends before we meet family in Denver, CO. We’ll fly from Seattle after Cousins Dylan & Melanie take us to get an AMTRAK bus from Vancouver’s refurbished Pacific Central Station.
Today we travel for one hour in a plane and four more on a bus, and spend another four hours just waiting. But we have a day ‘alone together’, a pleasure that has not faded in 40 years. On the bus, a veteran of the Korean war is one of the 27 out of 2,000 survivors of one battle in 1950. He asks where I got my hat, but I’m sure he dislikes it.
Interstate 5 winds up, down, past lakes by Mt.Vernon; the wooded mountains of Washington State rotate elegantly past my window like a vast but stately court dance in robes of every green; but my thoughts are with friends and cousins, evergreen on the road behind us. Our journey is not measured in landmarks but in stories of life, new homes and children in beautiful places: California, British Colombia. The soldier recalls unbidden his past duty and suffering, but we’ll bridge decades and oceans with happy memories and lively hope.
Lunch will be at Seattle, Union Station. The birthplace of St.Arbuck’s. It’s clean, polished, flavourless. Let’s go to the airport.
I ask the stewardess why my iPad does not rotate the display? There’s gravity up here isn’t there? Should be, she says, We’re pressurized! Welcome to real America. The bus driver asks every one, How are you. They all reply. She drops us at the Hotel. They’re really polite. Or we’re really looking tired. The Davenport hotel in Spokane is fully loaded. We’re good for a perfect night in for two.