I just got back from driving from here on the eastern side of the state to the coast on the far west — 500 miles, just like the folk song. More trains than I had ever before noticed rattling along on tracks next to the highway, acres of wheat being harvested, countless miles of wind mill farms, and wind surfers skimming like water bugs on the surface of the big Columbia River. From pine covered mountains to wheat fields to high desert covered in sagebrush to the huge cedars and Sitka Spruce trees on the wild Pacific coast and back again, feeling a little like Lewis and Clark. From the freeway, I was aware that most of what I passed in towns of any size had the look of ubiquitous America — home improvement meccas and drug stores, coffee and grocery chains, various big box stores, fast food stops and larger family restaurants — there’s not much diversity out there. I’m going to make an effort to patronize and cherish every mom and pop place I see — except maybe some of the motels. They might very well be just fine but I thought a few of them looked a little dicey.