Heidi and Hudo in Oregon, USA

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As reported by Gudrun Berg, August 12th

Berlin and probably in the whole of Europe are currently in the midst of a heat wave. How much fun it is to drive in the heat, everyone can decide for themselves. Happy is he who has air conditioning and finds a shady spot to take a break here and there. Hudo has neither one nor the other. We travelled a way together – from Pendleton to Portland – across Oregon along the Columbia River. Heidi in her adventure version, I in the luxury version.
When we meet in Pendleton, it is soon clear that Heidi prefers the KOA campground (really very well run). I don’t have a tent and must find a hotel. It is within walking distance and better yet, a Holiday Inn (my favorite). Clearly very practiced, Heidi pitches her tent in very short time. I am not allowed to help but shoot a quick film instead. Heidi is invited for breakfast at the hotel the next day, then we’re off to the city. It’s a quaint western town with famous rodeos in September. An equally rustic restaurant offers steak and cold beer. The evening is very relaxing and we enjoy it until late into the night.

In the morning Heidi begins her routine – dismantle the tent and attend to Hudo, who gets fresh water in the radiator and wheel spokes, oil check . Fold the map to todays route, get technology started, most importantly the tablet. Only after Hudo is taken care of, Heidi takes her turn. We have breakfast together, take a picture in front of the hotel for a friend, then we’re off.

We continue on Interstate 84 West. The sunlight is blinding. The heat makes the air shimmer. Heidi gets the heat from all sides, even from the engine, of course without air conditioning! This is like mining work – extremely tough work. Meanwhile I sit with a bad conscience in my air-conditioned rental car, and am still warm. We hope to find shade when we reach the river but are disappointed. But the sight of water alone refreshes us. Ahead we see a lot of smoke – a huge bushfire. I learn how Heidi takes her great photos. While driving, swerving to both sides, or else she stops at the road side.

Refueling stop: Hudo gets fuel and water, fuel and watering cans are refilled. They were emptied at stops on the way. We turn south to Mt. Hood, America’s second highest mountain. Here it is green, but not shady. Ahead the snow-covered mountain peak. Slowly we crawl higher. In front of me I see that Hudo is leaking something. A biker stops and tells us where we can find a repair shop, just back a few miles. What time is it? We have to hurry before closing time – it’s friday! Heidi has acquired a wealth of experience, an instinct for moving ahead. The men at the filling station shop are a little overwhelmed by Hudo. They call a young 83 year old. His first car was a Hudson. He and Heidi rejuvinate Hudo. If at first the men saw a woman and a car, at the end of the visit they had gained full respect and saw their work as a gentlemanly gesture. Heidi does not even take the time to wash her hands before we move on. We climb the peak and enter shady woodlands. Hudo and Heidi are having fun on the winding road in slightly better temperatures. I watch the two of them from behind and have to hurry to keep up.

It’s summer holiday time and weekend. It takes a long time to find a hotel. Heidi immediately begins her evening routine – label photos and post to instagram, read and send email, talk to the family on skype. She feels an enormous sense of duty towards all those who follow her adventures online. Apart from an ice cream at the fruit farm, we have not eaten anything. I go to a bar and hope they have a menu. Nachos and Chili-dip with a beer do the trick. Heidi joins me and we talk, about this country, the next part of her USA journey, Hudo’s performance and about the blog. Why it has become so quiet in the discussion section compared to the beginning of the trip a year ago.

Heidi and Hudo have become a unit. Heidi’s senses have adapted to him. Their process is driving, maintenance, photography and reporting. There isn’t much more time in a day. She is alone, sometimes lonely probably. Thousands of thoughts cross the mind, but no one gives answer. That’s why she enjoys meeting people on the way so much. Hudo is a great moderator and ice-breaker.

The next morning we both return to the Highway – I go south, Heidi north, but not without having first attended to Hudo.

Good bye you two – I hope you make good progress!

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