After more fooling around with The Tick (turns out the guy didn't fully retighten the valve at the bottom of the radiator), Steve and I finally got underway at around noon. We drove past the town of Brothers (town for sale) and stopped for lunch at Halton Station, where they have coyote pelts for sale, a sheet listing the bail amounts for different traffic offenses, and a bumper sticker near the restroom that says "paper products are no longer available, just wipe your ass on a spotted owl." I ate a grilled chese sandwitch and watched Quincy reruns on satellite TV. The state trooper driving the late model white Camaro stopped in for hot chocolate.
By then the terrain was already High Desert, as though I was living in a Tony Hillerman novel. It was expansive, desolate, beautiful. We did a raptor count while driving, and then started another list once we got inside the Refuge. We're spending the night in Frenchglen at a bed and breakfast run by Steve's friend. Just outside of Frenchglen we stopped at the Buena Vista scenic overlook for some experimental pictures of the (nearly) full moon peeking through the clouds and shining on the marshes. As the moon reappeared from behind the clouds, it seemed to shine as bright as the noontime sun, accompanied by a three-part invention -- the mooing of grumpy cattle, the honking of irrascible geese, and mysterious yowling of coyotes. Something (probably a deer) was walking around in the water, splashing as it went. Sillouettes of ducks crossed through the moon's reflection on the water. A beautiful evening.