Road Trip Roadside Bouquet

by David Perry on April 21, 2010

in Gathered in the Wild,How We Did It

. . . a vase, some clippers and a detour along the way

Roadside Wildflower Bouquet: Arrowleaf Balsamroot, Lupine and some type of Desert Parsley

I had to drive across the state this morning for meetings, scouting and a photo shoot, which meant waking to an alarm after three and a half hours of sleep, filling my insulated travel mug with strong, hot coffee, loading my heavy gear into the truck in a pouring rainstorm at about four-thirty a.m. and then high-tailing it out of town in order to arrive in Spokane in time for a prearranged location scouting session and a day of meetings.

It’s about a five hour haul from Seattle to Spokane, monotonous enough to get some serious thinking done, long enough to fit in a productive conference call between oneself, one’s agent and one’s project partner, and far enough to pass through several fascinating and utterly different landscapes. I do love the incredible ecological variety this state offers.

It was with this long drive and with spring wildflowers in mind that I grabbed a favorite vase on my way out the door this wee morning and packed it snugly in behind my seat, along with a plastic, gallon jug of water. You know, just in case.

The first third of my journey was navigated in relative darkness, so there really wasn’t much thought of wildflowers at that stage, but after a quick Starbucks stop in Ellensburg, while driving that long downhill stretch toward the bridge spanning the Columbia River at Vantage (the trip’s approximate halfway point), I began seeing all sorts of wildflowers on the hillsides and rocky outcrops, and then my mind was reeling. But the wind outside my car window was also howling, and then there was that minor little inconvenience of driving along on an interstate highway at seventy miles per hour. I winced a bit at all those flowers I was passing by, letting my eyes feed upon them anyway, and kept driving. This was just not the place I was going to spend my only, time-budgeted wildflower stop of the trip over.  Nope. Not in a howling windstorm.

A hundred and some miles later, about twenty miles outside of Spokane and with a little less than a half an hour to play, I pulled off the freeway onto a two-lane side road and began driving south, into that transition country between ancient, flood-scoured scablands and the piney, wooded rolling hills of Eastern Washington. I only needed to travel a few miles along that road before I came upon a straight stretch with shoulders just wide enough for me to park safely and a rocky outcrop, lush with three different kinds of perfect, blooming wildflowers. So of course, I did what any normal, red-blooded guy with a pair of Felcos, an empty vase and an imminent, long, planning-session meeting in a hotel boardroom would do. I stopped and cut a wild bouquet for that boardroom table. Duhhhh!!!

Then, as an attentive state patrolman slowed to see if I was completely nuts, or in need of some jail time, I smiled innocently, waved and continued to search for just the right angle from which to photograph my newly won bouquet within its native environment. That last part was so I could share it with you, my Fresh Bouquet loving friends.

Proof once again that beauty is wherever you find it, if only you’re really looking, and that sharing it with others can be as simple as pulling off the speeding freeway of life, pouring a little water into the empty vase you just happen to have in your car, and then taking those few extra minutes to cut a bit of the seasonal magic growing wild along one of the blue highways of life.

This, my friends, is living.

{ 10 comments… read them below or add one }

Gary April 21, 2010 at 11:16 pm

Fantastic, my friend. I’m headed to the Gorge on Sunday to view the wildflower display and I’m glad to hear that they are up and blooming. I’ll be leaving home at around 4AM. We will hopefully see some of natures magic at our destination, but I can only dream of the magic that I might be missing while travelling before the sun has risen. I’ll see it on the way back, but the light won’t likely be very generous. But you never know…


Michael Norman April 22, 2010 at 6:13 am

What will you do for an encore?

douglas larson April 22, 2010 at 7:04 am

Love your photos.
Love your writing.
Just a bit jealous of your creative abilities, too.

David Perry April 22, 2010 at 2:06 pm

Gary, I’m looking forward to seeing what your eyes find, cuz I love the way they see. For others who want to see as well, click on Gary’s name/link above and follow along on his blog.
Mike, hmmmmm, encore . . . You know it occurs to me that I may just need to keep a vase in the car from now on. Roadside bouquets could become a recurring theme, a sort of diary of the road. We’ll see.
Doug, thank you. I’m really pleased that you’re here, and honored by your kindness.

debra April 22, 2010 at 2:52 pm

just another roadside attraction. A guy, his felcos, and a vase. Love it! Thanks to this post, I will now add a vase and a gallon jug of H20 as standard issue on any road trip! Your partner, Debra

Roger Freeman April 22, 2010 at 3:10 pm

Dear Dave,

How wonderful it is to know that you enjoy the journey of life. Thanks for taking us along with you.

Nola April 22, 2010 at 3:42 pm

I always travel with a pair of clippers, but never thought about bringing a vase. Great story as always. But. . .Starbucks? I’m sorry, friends don’t let friends (even FB friends) drink Starbucks.

Daffodil Planter April 22, 2010 at 4:13 pm

Charming story and photo! I always have a dog in the backseat and will have to add the vase/water/Felcos. Sensing a Twitter hashmark in the near future for that trio.

I was in the Spokane area last summer so was waiting to hear _which_ hotel received your bouquet.

David Perry April 25, 2010 at 9:06 am

Dear Debra, Roger, Nola and Daffodil Planter,

Let me try to respond, one by one.

Deb, given all the roads you travel, such a travel kit could become quite a boon . . . and really, isn’t a big part of what we’re trying to do here, to make the notion of bouquets, of having seasonal flowers regularly in one’s life seem ever so much more accessible, and less, some sort of extravagance for only much rarer occasions, like a once a year, Mother’s Day, or a wedding?

Roger, you are welcome to do a ride-along whenever you want, friend. And uhhh, by the way, you may notice a few of your lilacs gone missing any day now, so don’t be alarmed.

Nola, on the subject of coffee do’s and don’ts . . . I will tell you that when in Ellensburg, I too am a big fan of D&M. But their little drive through near the freeway doesn’t open quite as early, and doesn’t have a restroom, and doesn’t have breakfast, other than muffins. So Starbucks at that hour and under that schedule was an easy winner. Make sense?

And finally, Daffodil Planter, we had our planning session at the Hampton Inn, in a windowless room. ;~)

I’ll try to get a new post up later today, a few wildflower bouquets shot on the return trip.

Thanks to each of you who have showed up and made this blog more of a conversation than a series of treatises. It’ so much more fun this way.

Nola April 27, 2010 at 9:41 pm

Okay, David, I’ll cut you some slack on this Starbucks visit. ;) Especially since I just discovered today that in places where the S’bux employees have unionized (not WA), they are members of the IWW. Wobbly coffee!

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