I just finished a 5-day road trip visiting 30 bookstores in Washington and Oregon, a fantastic learning experience. Writers may be crazy, telling stories, but independent bookstore owners and workers are heroes, because it is THEY who display tales, and, in the perfect world, might even recommend yours! My trusty chariot, now at 150,000 miles and 17 years, took me 1400 miles, through Olympia, Chehalis, Ilwaco, Astoria, Seaside, Cannon Beach, Manzanita, Lincoln City, Newport, Corvallis, Junction City, Eugene, Sun River, Bend, Sisters, Redmond, the Dalles, Hood River, Yakima, Ellensburg, Wenatchee, Chelan, Leavenworth, Enumclaw, Sumner, Mercer Island and back to Seattle. The bookstore folks were fantastic, just great, at every single place, making my seemingly hopeless task a lot less hopeless (hopefully). I drove through rain, wind, snow, sun, and hail, came upon a truck fire, and got lost twice. My favorite section was the drive north from Bend to the Dalles, the high eastern Oregon desert, a land of high sky, endless perspective, empty roads, and, when you stop and get out to stretch, standing by the side of the road, all you hear is the wind, birds, and then, after long minutes, the distant whine of a solitary approaching truck, still far from sight. Mount Hood to the left, Rainier to the right…..