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Monday, November 19, 2001

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Salem, OR

I had checked the weather last night planning to continue on to Seattle if it was raining but the weather report just said cloudy. I woke up this morning and the 'cloudy' was coming down steadily. I decided to try and walk anyway. I caught the 17 bus downtown. It's $.75 for the ride, and transfer, and no day passes. The driver said I could pay the senior fare and he wouldn't ask, but I decided to be honest. One of the regulars and the driver were talking and it seems the passenger was recently out of prison. He seemed to find humor in it. The driver said he'd been hired to work at the olympics in Salt Lake City. I guess there are quite a few jobs that need to be done at an olympics and driving people around is a big one.

I found out this morning that I had forgotten my knit cap and it was chilly so when I got to the transit center downtown I asked where a mall was since I didn't mind taking a bus to it. The information person pointed across the street. How cool, a downtown mall, right next to the transit center. The transit center also has a large inside waiting room with nice bathrooms and an information desk. Very well done.

I went over to the mall but could not find a knit hat that I like. They are all, even the men's, so little and tight. I loved my knit hat as it's big enough to fit loosely over my ponytail or even a large clip. By the time I spent some time in the mall and wandered around downtown till I found the Salem Hospital where the volkswalk starts it was 11:00. I signed up and started out.

The walk took me to the state capital with a golden pioneer on the roof. It was rather empty as the legislature only meets six months every other year. How can they run a state with so little time in session? I watched a video and took a couple pictures of the rotunda, then I was off again. The directions took me through a very nice historic area, past some large historic homes and through a large park. The park maintenance people were busy cleaning up all the leaves. Everywhere there were fallen leaves and gorgeous ones that hadn't yet fallen. A couple time I passed a tree with golden leaves that were falling. It looked like a rain of gold against the gray day. There were pink and red and gold and yellow and orange leaves. I loved it.

The picnic tables were leaning against each other in long rows at a slight angle with the tops underneath. I suppose this is to keep them from be messed up as much by the rain but they did look funny. The walk took me by a donut shop, yummy, and up a hill to the governor's mansion. It was very nice, as were the homes around it but I couldn't see much of it.

From here I wandered back to the downtown area where the walk went through a couple of small, sunken parks, one with a bookstore that I checked out. From there I followed a walking path along the creek back to the hospital. It was a very nice walk even though I had my umbrella up more than down. I stayed warm enough, though, which is what I care about and I even got too warm a couple times while walking. I thoroughly enjoyed the fall colors falling on lush green grass and the moss on everything. The gray and rainy day made everything a little mysterious. Hey! When you live in the desert rain is fun.

Then I took the bus back to downtown and I found out that the bus is free in the area around downtown. I looked around a little then bought my ticket for tomorrow at Greyhound and caught the bus back to the motel. It was pouring rain by then and I wanted a warm supper. I stopped at a Village Inn for supper and was disappointed. I haven't had a good experience at the Village Inn/Dennys type place recently. I think they try to do too much and don't do anything all that well except breakfast.

It was good to get back to my room and get ready to travel tomorrow, then curl up to watch television. I enjoy seeing what local news in other places considers to be a problem. Cleaning up all those leaves seems to be a problem in Salem OR.

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Rachel Aschmann 2001.
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