Saturday, October 17, 2015

54. Hike to the ferry, a hot breakfast, then a bus to the train station


At the Stonebill station, Alan got on the train (instead of walking to Pendleton).
Chloe decided to followed a back-country path further south.

The rain had stopped by first light, but the tents were wet!

Since they didn't know the ferry schedule, Chloe had to tell Alan several times, "Just relax - it'll all work out!" They made some coffee and a couple of packets of hot oatmeal for breakfast. Alan said, "I hope we have time to get a proper breakfast in town - I'd looove some eggs and bacon right now."

Chloe smiled at him, "Me too!"

They managed to get their gear in order (the tents can dry out later) and then marched directly through the ruins and down a gentle slope toward two small settlements, part of the co-operative tribal group called the Beastey Bay Tribes. These were compact villages surrounded by white stone walls (to keep out the sheep), with about 150 souls residing in each one. The houses were mostly white also, quite small, and many were built against those outside walls. Since many walkers came through here every day, no one paid much attention to Chloe or Alan as they walked through the first village, called Sturgis.

As they approached the next village, called Bayview, they could see the ferry dock in the distance, and the ferry was on the bay approaching it! They walked quickly through Bayview, again without much notice. Once at the ferry landing, which was quite crowded with horsecarts, handcarts, and quite a few walking passengers, Chloe bought tickets.

"They told me where to catch the bus to the train station," she said. Once on the ferry, Alan was finally able to relax. They had only walked for about an hour, but for some reason it seemed like a much longer distance on the map.

The ride across the bay took about fifteen minutes, and then they were walking into Beastey, a sizable market town. This area began to look familiar, as Alan had seen it once before from the train, which seemed like ages ago!  By the time they reached Beastey's town center and the bus terminal, it was only about 9:30. The posted schedule told them a city bus would take them up to the railway station at 10 and 11 am, plenty of time to meet the train.

Time for second breakfast!

On Castle Road, the main thoroughfare, they found a cafe that specialized in English and Scottish breakfasts, so Chloe led Alan inside by the arm and said, "You'll love this!"

After a fabulous hot breakfast of eggs, bangers and mash, with fresh orange juice and coffee, they caught the bus to the Stonebill station. They sat on a bench out on the platform, in the late-morning sun. 

Behind them through the station windows, one could see Beastey Bay and the ocean, and from across the platform, where they were sitting, they could look upon massive hills, green and empty, beyond the low buildings of Stonebill. The broad slopes led the eye up to Spy Hill, about ten miles distant. White dots of sheep were scattered here and there, and the smaller scurrying dots must be spring lambs, Alan thought. 

Then he said, "This is a lovely day to walk, Chloe." 

"Yes, it is."

A few minutes passed. Birds chirped, and a breeze ruffled the hanging geraniums.

Then he asked, "Uh, when do you think we'll meet up again?"

"I dunno," Chloe said. "That's the thing with this Long Walk, there's no plan - but I'll call you. Or I'll call that gallery."

"Yes, call the gallery and Adrian will get me or leave me a note. Or, you can write me a letter!" 

"Okay. How about in a couple of weeks?" 

Just then, an Irian-Southwestern Railway two-car train glided silently to a stop in front of them. They stood up and Alan smiled at Chloe,

"Hey..."

And Chloe grinned back, "Hey - see you again soon." And she gave him a smooch to remember.

He boarded the train, found a seat and saw Chloe already walking into Stoneville.