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The Art of the Ramble…

Good morning, Netizens…

Report upon a good ramble…

I suppose I need to admit it from the onset that my wife was right, that I had been stuck behind the desk, in the Great Chair, for far too long. Even after I knew beyond a word of doubt that she was correct, that I had become frumpish and withdrawn during the long Winter, as if clinging to something inanimate in my daily routine, I agreed to the concept of our Ramble, as we have come to call it, and shortly after 9:00 AM we were off.

The rules of the ramble have always been the same: we climb in the family Hootmobile and simply try to our very best to get ourselves hopelessly lost. The only rules by which we declare a Ramble in play is (1) we pick a direction of the compass and (2) we drive until we see a road, highway, dirt path or what-have-you that looks interesting at the time. Repeat until either exhaustion or time has expired. I do believe the longest Ramble we ever took was a circuitous trip from Coeur D’Alene to Headquarters, Idaho via Dworshak Dam Road with various side roads far too numerous to name in Clearwater County and from thence back to Spokane. The total time elapsed was over 12 hours start to finish. It was delightful.

Our Ramble this weekend consisted of a trip to Ione, Washington and beyond. Why Ione? Why not? All winter we have been muttering imprecations about the snow in Spokane, while Ione had an equal or greater amount of snow and yet you never heard a word about it. That’s because it is a sleepy little burg where no one minds Mother Nature; they simply tighten their lips and proceed onward.

While we were Rambling around Ione, we stopped at one of our favorite roadside attractions, a place along Highway 20 called The Outpost where, once upon a time we used to listen to several of our favorite bands playing music beneath the stars. We had driven by it once, because the sign said “CLOSED”, but the second time around, we saw people sitting on the lawn next to the river and thus we learned it is under new ownership.

We stopped, got acquainted with the new owners, studied them in our own time-proven methods of character assessment, and after only brief thought, have promised we will return once they finish recovering from the vagaries of winter and the previous business’s closure. They are nice people, with good business backgrounds. It takes a lot of guts to buy a down-at-the-heels resort during bad economic times, a fair amount of capital and some luck.

Once we found a peaceful pull out along the road, we took this tranquil picture to remind us that one can always find peace and tranquility. Sometimes all it takes are two people committed to the game known as a Ramble, and a commitment to each other.


Ramblin’ Fever…

Good morning, Netizens…

First, I’ll play the chorus from one of my old Merle Haggard favorites, “Rambling Fever” which goes like this:

Ramblin’ fever, the kind that can’t be measured by degrees
Ramblin’ fever, there ain’t no kind of cure for my disease

The minute the winter’s accumulation of snow ceased making our highways half so tricky to navigate as they have been and the minute the State Highway Department begins putting their snow plows away for yet another season, I begin to get my annual dose of Ramblin’ Fever. As quickly as the jackrabbits once more begin assuming control of the high meadows in the Sawtooth Range, I tromp my foot onto the accelerator heading for destinations unknown.

Once my wife and I traveled over a three-state area following any of our favorite Bluegrass musical groups wherever they would play. From the mountains of Idaho and Montana to various places throughout Washington State, we rambled whenever one of our favorite bands played, slept out either beneath the stars or, later on, in the motorhome. Unfortunately, that entire urge died. I was told emphatically I could not befriend a Spokane City Police Detective who figured prominently in what was once one of our favorite bands, and it is to the point now that we hardly ever attend any musical festivals as we once did. No, let’s be more emphatic than that: it was a former Assistant Chief of the Spokane Police Department who made the “rules”. All we have done is follow his questionable lead, and we avoid any involvement in the local musical scene. Everyone lost in the deal.

However, the rambling fever, which has always been there subconsciously, that inherent urge to climb aboard something with wheels and head out into the morning sunrise, still lives there beneath the surface, unwanted, but nonetheless part of my consciousness. I don’t like Big Cities, I don’t do well in the heart of a rush hour traffic jam on some concrete slab, and I sure as hell do not relish the thought of some pin-headed high-ranking police or political bureaucrat judging my character without even meeting me face-to-face.

However, the minute that Spring peers its bright green nose above the snowbanks far enough to see from beside the road, I grab the digital camera and look for a road that seems interesting and off we go. If that road passes another that also seems interesting enough to follow, we follow it until we decide to come home. Hopefully we will have gotten lost a time or two; perhaps we’ll find a place to justify ramblin’ fever.

It’s almost time to ramble again. I can hardly wait.

Have you ever gone rambling across country for the sheer heck of seeing the countryside? If so, where did you end up?