10 August 2007
A few months ago I decided to do something I had never done before: drive by myself to Idaho and Utah. This excursion has become my annual August trip – a last hurrah to see family and friends before returning to the escalating rhythm of training season.
Usually, I travel by plane. This year, however, I figured I had the time for a leisurely drive and a little exploration. I mean, what says summer more than a road trip?
With energy and eagerness, I began my journey in Salem on Highway 22 headed east toward Bend. This route is familiar territory to me. Nothing new here, just beautiful scenery and a slow climb through the Santiam Pass behind fellow vacationers.
It was the stretch beyond Bend to Boise that I was eagerly anticipating: The Road Unknown. For someone who travels the byways of Oregon regularly as part of my job, it’s still exciting to traverse new territory.
And the landmark I was searching for? What has become known as The Shoe Tree, a cropping of scrubby trees lassoed by dozens of shoes between mile markers 126 and 127 along the Malheur River. There were mostly sneakers, a few boots and flip flops -- even a pair of ballet slippers and ski boots. Apparently, not much to do around here but mark your passage with an abandoned shoe or two.
By the Numbers:
•Fellow Mazda 6 drivers in hotel parking lot: 2
•Times driven around the same block in Boise: 3
•Number of aggresive RV drivers towing Hummers: 1
•To wash the car windshield
•Water reservoir for Camelback
•Change to MST while still in Oregon
Miles driven: 449