I find it easy to lose track of the days now that I don’t have to get up for work every day. I did not realize that this was a long weekend coming up until I overheard some local farmers at breakfast this morning. I was heading west towards the Oregon coast along highway 20 and decided that a crowed tourist area was not something I wanted. I needed a change of plan. Highway 20 is a long straight highway through the desert, not offering much in the way of distractions. I needed a sign.
“Coffee and Pie” was the next sign, in front of a small old town style café and enough of a distraction to make me stop. The café as filled with local ranchers and ranch hands just in from rounding up some livestock. I ordered my coffee and pie from the petite woman behind the counter and took a seat next to the locals. Friendly conversation soon started and it quickly felt like I was chatting with old friends. The pie was one of the best that I have ever tasted and when the turnovers came fresh out of the oven I just had to have one of those as well. The café suddenly emptied, back to work for the ranchers and their hired help. Only three of us were left, myself, Wayne the “flammable liquid dispensing technician” (gas jockey) and the petite woman, Rebecca, who as obviously in charge of the café.
Now that my mouth was no longer stuffed with pie I was able to contribute to the conversation a little better and answered some questions about my adventure and the places I have visited already. I mentioned my desire to do something “western”, like ride a horse, while I was in Oregon. Before I knew it “Bell” was saddled up and I was holding the reigns. Now, I have never really ridden a horse before! I have been to a couple of “horseback riding ranches” where they put you on some old horse, make you wear a stupid helmet and you follow a lead horse around some well-worn trail –not real horseback riding. Bell was a real horse, not an old mare, and I had her all to myself with miles and miles of open fields to ride her. I was in shock, these people did not know me, there was no liability waiver to sign and I had their horse to ride for an unspecified period of time. Riding was easy and the horse behaved herself, we rode for over an hour around the fields and not so well-worn trails. Fortunately for me Bell knew her way home.
Back at the café I had another fantastic meal, an enormous ham and cheese sandwich and best of all great conversation with Wayne and Rebecca. I watched Rebecca work on her accounting and really wanted to offer my years of accounting expertise in an effort to contribute. After watching for a few minutes I realized two things, 1. She had things well under control and 2. My help would only slow things down. We agreed that I would come back after my trip and work as her accountant; I would be paid in pie.
As I sat listening to Wayne’s wonderful stories, impressed with this knowledge of Canada, I had a decision to make, stay for dinner or continue heading west. I found this decision difficult, not because I wasn’t really hungry nor because I don’t know what “chicken fried beef steak” is made of but because I found Rebecca to be extremely charming. She had that country girl charm, a beautiful smile and carried herself with confidence and grace. I knew that if I stayed for dinner, I would find an excuse to pitch my tent and then would have to order breakfast. Most likely I would end up branding cattle, learning to operate farm equipment, get fat from pie and would never reach Argentina. I regretfully got back on my motorcycle and headed westbound.