Saturday, May 30, 2015

33. Alan Starts Out

Adrian drew this route to the locations of Alan's first nine depictions. 

The next morning, Alan woke up in his upstairs apartment, vaguely remembering his late-night walk back from Adrian's house. Alan's head felt only a little bit thick; not quite a hangover but close. 

As he got dressed, he thought of his picture list again, so he picked up his road map and went to find Adrian.

"Ahoy down there," Alan called down.  Adrian returned an "ahoy" and Alan found him pouring coffee in the back room.

"Have a cup?"

"Sure. Thanks."

Adrian noticed Alan's map and said, "Let's look over that list of yours."

So they sat down with their coffee at the makeshift dining table in the back of the gallery. Adrian looked at the list and started marking Alan's map while Alan loaded his coffee with just the right levels of sugar and milk. Osborne, once again, had settled an Alan's lap.

"Okay, most of these first sites are just west of us - and the best way to reach them is on foot."

"Oh...well, I'm glad I bought hiking gear. How much of a walk are we talking about?"

"Well, it'll be a long one - several days, maybe two weeks. Here, I marked most of the spots they want depicted, and I penciled in your route. The paths are well-posted with signs and mile-markers. You'll find inns along the way if you don't want to camp out every night."

"Inns? Sounds like long-ago England..."

"Oh, wait 'till you visit one or two of them. They are one-of-a-kind establishments meant for walkers or wanderers who want a bath and a comfortable bunk for the night. Most serve supper and a toddy, and then a good breakfast in the morning. You'll also meet other walkers; they are quite a community!"

Alan stared at the red lines Adrian had drawn, and then said, "Uumm, this looks like a LONG walk."

You should be fine out there," Adrian said. "It's an easy walk, and then you can catch the train at Pendleton for the last couple of stops. The weather forecast is clouds then sun, then maybe a storm in a few days. Just watch the sky and find shelter if it looks nasty! I heard the surf might get rough out there, but it shouldn't be too bad where you are going.

"Also, this time of year is great for late afternoon skies," Adrian added, "especially near sunset. For the picturing, that is. I've gone out there a couple of times, so I know."

Alan looked at the map. "I sure appreciate your help here," he said. "I think I can follow this all right - it looks like a two-day walk just to reach the Hook." Then, "I see there is a road here, this 'E-2'. Couldn't I take a bus to Paddy or Fernley?"

"Yes, but the bus only runs once a week out there, and I think it just ran yesterday. Those are subsistence towns on that whole western shore - very little need for much travel by road. People out there just walk. Oh, and out on the Hook you might encounter people going 'sky clad' - wearing no clothes at all!"

"Oh, um...okay."