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Hauling potatoes over the pass | New World Seeds & Tubers

Tom packs the potatoes from his apartment and does not have any storage capacity there. We went to fetch some potatoes back in February. Lacking transport other than my old jalopy we were worried about snow on the passes, but thanks to the miracle of webcams broadcasting pass conditions live over the internet, we were able to ascertain that the pass was clear. Daytime temperatures were well above freezing.

I picked up Tom downtown, and we passed Uwajimaya (Japanese supermarket/variety store) on the way back to where the car was parked. I hadn’t had any breakfast yet so we went in to look for something to bring along for the trip. I found some buns filled with red bean paste, and some Asian-style rice crackers–you know, the ones typically flavored with soy sauce and wasabi.

Stevens PassIt was a bright crisp day with a few small cottony clouds against a dazzling blue sky. There were tiny snowflakes over the pass but they didn’t stick and the road was clear. We made good time through the pass and stopped at a rest area nestled in the eastern foothills of the Cascades. That area is fairly picturesque: it has a somewhat southwestern contour to it, its canyons carved by wind and water erosion, and covered in open pine woodlands.

Unfortunately the buns were horribly stale. Tom got a surprise when he bit into the bun and discovered the bean paste. The combination of beans and sweetness was a novelty.

We got our potatoes and stopped in Ellensburg for some lunch. This turned into a challenge as it is not a large city and a lot of the restaurants and cafes we passed were closed. I would hazard a guess the local economy isn’t booming right now. Had to find something that wasn’t too greasy. We passed the local college and admired the old brick romanesque architecture. Ended up having overcooked Chinese buffet.

On the way back we stopped for a few minutes at the pass. I asked Tom to stand for a picture so that I could get the camera set up. When I look up again, I discover that I’m under attack:

Snowball assault

Hard to tell but there’s a snowball in his right hand about to be launched in my direction. But it was all in good fun and I jumped into the next photo.

We got back into the car and headed back to town. I don’t remember what was playing on the radio but it wasn’t to my taste, so I turned it off and, being in a jolly mood, started singing. I often sing while driving or working.  I suggested Tom sing too so we had to find a song we both knew the words to. He suggested “When the saints go marching in”.

To my ears that sounds like a funeral song from New Orleans but we rendered it with some spirit. Tom sings baritone; I sing bass.

Tom fell asleep shortly thereafter which was probably just as well so he didn’t have to worry about the road rage driver who pulled in behind us in Issaquah. I glanced up at my rear-view mirror to look at the late-model luxury sedan that was too close to the rear of my own, to see the driver making rude gestures and flashing her lights at me.

There was really nothing I could have done; there was a car in front of me. She could have gone around but mid-afternoon traffic was getting thick enough she probably didn’t want to weave her way back to the lane she wanted. Maybe I and everybody else in her way was supposed to just pull out of her way. Life must be hard for people who are chronically frustrated by all the idiots in their way.

We lost her in Bellevue and headed back to the park-and-ride where I dropped off Tom and his potatoes. It was a slow ride back home for me, as the streets of his neighborhood were still coated in a thick layer of ice.

That’s not a typical working day for us; that was more like a junket. We’ve got another one coming up shortly, but some real work later this month. Real work is good too and I enjoy it as long as I don’t end up hurting anything, which I usually don’t as long as I build up to it. It’s hard work for two old duffers the younger of whom is 46 and the other one is JUST ABOUT TO HAVE A BIRTHDAY! (Happy birthday ole buddy…).

I’d better go out with my youngest daughter to fetch the goodies I’ll bring on the next trip, which will be the day after the big day. I can’t tell you what he’s getting for his birthday just in case he reads this but you may benefit indirectly. While I’m out fetching the treat to bring on the trip (yow, it’s downpouring as I type this), I’ll mail an order for some rare crop varieties for us to grow out this year, that I think you’ll really like.


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