After experiencing the noisy fever-dream that was Moses Lake, with everything from dozens of dune buggies roaring around the shore to an ice cream truck blasting Christmas carols, I decided to keep moving. I found a frontage road that paralleled interstate 90: it was flat, smooth, and had almost no traffic. Finally a bit of luck! After the narrow highways, hilly gravel roads, and long climbs of the past few days, I was ready for an easy ride.
As I looked for a place to camp, I came upon the largest naturally-growing patch of milkweed I have seen so far: there were easily 200 plants packed together in a marshy area near a small gravel road that led to a railroad crossing. As I have been cycling through the Palouse prairie and its abundance of farmland, I have often wondered if the milkweed I've seen along the margins of irrigation ditches and other agricultural infrastructure is a blessing or a curse. In this land of monocultured corn and potatoes, these milkweed plants are no doubt being blasted by pesticides meant for the adjacent fields. I wonder if the monarchs are lured here only to meet their demise at the hands of "Round-Up" and other poisons. Hopefully this abundant patch of milkweed down by the train tracks is a sanctuary for the butterflies and other pollinators. I gave it a little pocket trumpet serenade and moved on.