Laughing all the way — Paradise Lost

September 4, 2015

By Pat Detmer

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NEW  — 10 a.m. Sept. 4, 2015

I mentioned in a recent column that we would be road touring the vast and empty spaces of southeastern Oregon and jumping the borders between Washington and Idaho before heading home. It was a great trip. The vistas were endless, and road signs that declared “No service for the next 45 miles” were abundant. It was paradise.

DetmerColumn 20150800But here’s what was not paradise: the fact that we’d planned the trip as a series of one-night stands. It seemed like a great idea when we looked at the map, but in practice, we realized that the Wake Up/Pack Up/Leave model was not for us. From the start, it was clear that this was going to be a trip to the Land of the Lost. Witness:

  • Our first night out in Condon, Oregon, we realized that we were missing an entire bag of toiletries, including my thyroid pills, an excellent medication to have handy when you don’t have any thyroid glands. In the morning, we went to the lone drugstore to buy replacements. Toiletries were easy. Medication … not so much. The pharmacist there didn’t make an appearance until 10 a.m., so we called our next stop and picked it up there. I now know that I can survive a day without thyroid medication, but I did put on 20 pounds. I deserved it. I was the one in charge of that bag, and when we got home, it was sitting in the upstairs hallway, right where I’d left it.
  • The next day, three pieces of clothing were left in the hotel room in Condon, all mine. Three! And I didn’t even realize it until two days later. Two!
  • We checked into our cabin in Joseph, Oregon, and headed to the Wallowa Lake Tram. We rode to the top and walked the trails, gazed into the heart of the Eagle Cap Wilderness area, and ate lunch at the Summit Grill. After descending from 4,000 feet, we returned to our cabin where The Sainted One couldn’t find the keys to get in. We dug through all the bags that were still in the car, pawed through the console, peered under the seats. We took the half-hour trip back to the base of the tram and checked to see if anyone had turned them in. On one last, desperate scramble through the car, they were found. It’s a mystery how they managed to stay hidden from us. The other mystery is why The Sainted One, who always wears cargo shorts with at least a dozen pockets, didn’t use one of them for the keys.

I’m convinced that if we ever attempt a full-blown cross-country trip using this one-night model, you’ll end up seeing us on the news, because we’ll be standing naked at the Atlantic seashore, patting non-existent pockets looking for money, keys, clothing and missing brain synapses, and our car will most likely be parked somewhere back in the Poconos.

You can reach Pat Detmer — who knows full well that most of these issues were hers and not her husband’s — through

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