You've entered Melodyland, where perception is slightly skewed, potential is limitless and imaginary people live happily ever after

Friday, February 28, 2014

My blog: New Series: From Sea To Shining Sea Part 14

Mt. Hood
 Columbia River

Sunday, October 17
We arrived in Bandon last Tuesday, found Gary (the brother ) at the state park.  Gary already had a site for us and the weather was sunny at 73 degrees.  We walked a trail through underbrush to the Pacific Ocean and we were rewarded with a deserted beach cluttered with driftwood.  Abby was a happy dog tearing around like a coocoo.  Richard, our nephew and excellent artist, was there to paint which he'd been doing for two weeks. He intends to be a world class painter and I suspect he'll do it.  Gary and wife, Jean, took us sightseeing the next day.  Some amazing state parks with majestic ocean views, harbors coves and rivers.  But the temperature dropped and fog rolled in so it never got over 48 degrees for four day.  We were glad to head to warmer weather.  Their puppy, "Precious," was excited to see us and Abby, Precious's mother.  Precious has never met a stranger.  By Saturday she and Abby were doing the tandem run thing Cavaliers do with their playmates.  Also playing chase, they found a neighbor dachshund who participated with them.  Fun! for them and fun for us to watch the glee.

On our way out on Sunday, we decided to go ahead north as planned, even fearing more cold weather. We've never been on I-84 and thought it was about time.  The bleak desert didn't sound so good to us and we'd have to retrace through the whole state if we had gone south.  So we hit 5 North to Portland, Oregon. The Unipqua is a major river running all over the place.  More lumber mills were at Roseburg--I think we've seen five of them.  I'm not sure how forestry works but I suspect it's 100% controlled.  All of Oregon seems to belong to the government.  Everybody seems to work for the state.  I'm not sure how the state owns so much land.  Oregon is all about mountains and trees, good roads, tourist oriented, user friendly.  Fall is turning leaf many different colors, except for the pines of course.  Wildflowers are in bloom in little meadows between the tree clumps of Oaks, birch and cottonwoods, and we're weaving between the mountains and hillocks.  It's no wonder I've always been enamored of Georgia's forests.  The only forests I'd ever seen till I was 33 years old were California Pines and Oregon Pines.  It came to me how much we must be like Europe--their counties and our states so different one from the next.  We are totally impressed with the beautiful cities of Salem and Portland.  The freeways are showplaces--of course they are on Sundays.  Rivers make the Chattahoochee look tiny and the trees make us feel we're driving through a park.  It's all mowed and landscaped--green, lush and inspiring.  45 degrees and sunshine at 4:30 p.m.
          We were stopped in a traffic jam due to a crash for about a half hour.  People all got out of their stopped cars.  A man saw Abby in our truck and asked if I had a leash he could borrow to walk his lab puppy.  I gave him one.  We were there long enough there was no problem with him returning it.  I expected someone to ask about our restroom on wheels (the Coyote) but nobody did.  Sunday was a slick day to get around Portland.  Traffic heave but flowing well.  Tons of state parks are on the map on 84 after the city.  We planned to use one with wifi for a change. 
          Mt. Hood peeks at us as we drive through/around Portland.  It's 11,239 feet--it looks like the perfect Littering fine--$6250.00. I think these people are serious greenies..$97.00 seat belt usage fine.  Hmmm.  Washington State was right over there on the next hills to our left.  The Hood River is as big as the Mississippi and navigable with a series of locks.  We're dwarfed by the massiveness.  We're in Lewis and Clark territory.  A canoe on that river which becomes the Columbia River, would look like a pebble on a beach.  Our road follows this river.   Perfect Christmas Trees are everywhere.

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

My blog--new series, From Sea To Shining Sea, Part 13


Tuesday, Oct. 12.  Last night we had dinner with cousins in Medford, Oregon. A lovely chicken stew with homemade noodles, which was a first for me.  Today we went to his sister's house and we met Cindy.  I find it interesting how differently people live.  On this property of a few acres, Ted keeps his huge shop.  He builds airplanes from scratch for people who can afford it.  Some say they would never get inside a plane that Ted hadn't built.  The owner has a problem and doesn't bend so well to get in and out, so Ted made doors that open upward, like a DeLorean car I saw once.  And standing outside this building was Ted's 28 foot boat that he took up to Vancouver Island on a five week trip.  It looked like a fishing boat with a cabin and very deep hull.

Medford is a gorgeous city, especially in the spring, even with all its growth.  It looks all brand new, like there's been no recession at all.

Mountains and hills endlessly spread around chains of valleys with rivers and almost solid trees.  I hadn't remembered just how beautiful Oregon is.   The next day we took off on I-5 for about 120 miles then West on 42 to the coast and Coos Bay.  We had called Darrel's brother earlier, who works as a campground host each October.  All we had to do now was find him.  So we looked for some bars on our cell phone.  We passed through Roseburg which is a whole city lumber mill--probably two miles of pine 2 x 4s and plywood stacked four stories high.  The little town is crouched around the lumber yard's perimeter.  Traincars stand  loaded with wood ready to be hauled to Iowa.  Huge pines that make 12 Georgia Pines each.  Gas is $3.48.  Hiwy 42 is a log truck road but incredibly scenic Aspens and Cottonwood trees are just coming yellow.  It's 61 degrees. Expresso kiosks are on every corner of the little towns.  The largest buildings are fire departments.  Pines are managed and mountainsides display stripped areas that have been deforested but looks like a green quilt with other stages of new growth remaining.  The current fire danger, which this entire state monitors, is low.  We felt lucky.

The closer we got to the Pacific ocean, the more lush and green the woods became.  Abby is still sleeping from her trauma with Grace the English Bulldog at Cindy's house, who smurfed Abby first then launched herself on her rope swing, hanging by her teeth.  Abby was mesmerized.

Thursday, February 20, 2014

My blog--New Series From Sea To Shining Sea Part 12

Mt. Shasta

Okay, I'm  very past my due date to continue this series:

Mon. Oct. 11  We headed back over the mountain to find some civilization so we could continue our journey, but stopped first to wash clothes at a Laundromat.  First thing out of the hat we ran across some people also over doing business from Cedarville.  Unfortunately I felt the need to keep a firm grip on my mouth--no easy feat.  Something had happened in the past with these folks that caused so many people to change their faith in mankind.  Rudeness didn't nearly cover the whole problem.  It's hard to erase people from your mind, but I'm still trying with these folks.

Today is 63 degrees and sunshine for a beautiful driving day.  However, Abby had decided to bathe in some serious caca, so she needed both a hosing off and a real bath.  I was not impressed.  But what are you going to do when you take a city dog into the country?  So now she's fluffy and looks like a molting sheep, and is sleeping off the 10-day party we had back in Cedarville with such loving friends.  She had to compete with two dachshund puppies.

Mike and Darrel were able to fix the Coyote's lift brake problem just before we left town.

The Oregon Mountains pine forests look almost exactly like southern Georgia's pine forests.  Northern California is a bigger political mess than Georgia.  Stupid is rampant everywhere, I guess.  But I understand they finally made a budget after way too long and much borrowing.  With this budget the young people in Cedarville will still have jobs, since the only employer of consequence is the Forestry Svs.  All their jobs were scheduled to terminate without that critical decision being positive.

In the National Forests, which is most of southern Oregon and Northern California, the BLM is cutting out all of the Juniper trees felled among the pines in all directions.  Apparently Junipers draw all the water from the soil and dehydrate plants and land.  We've picked up a peculiar smell in the air which turns out to be a million acres of harvested onions which grow near Klamath Falls.  Street banners advertise the potato festival in Merrill.  Piney hills gave way to farmland separating medium height mountains.  Klamath is known to be five feet deep in snow in winter.  Fortunately we're a little early for that.  From Alturas, Mt. Shasta's snow peak can be seen at its 14,162 ft. height.

Oregon law states a person may not fill his/her gastank with gas. Only the attendant may do that.  Maybe that's why the price is even higher there than expensive California gas.  I called my cousin Peggy in Medford Oregon to see if Abby will be a problem since she's a hair factory.  She said not if her cat doesn't attack.  So I warned Abby, who had never met a cat.

We went over the Klamath River then the GPS changed our minds for us and directed us through Keno and Ashland.  A beautiful mountain drive.  Darrel is only clenching his teeth a little bit.  an amazing amount of underbrush has been cut throughout these woods, we assume to avoid fire exposure.  The pines here are about a hundred feet high.  It looked like the road from Cumming to Hiawassee in every way but pine trees instead of hardwoods.  As the altitude decreased, the pines became shorter.  The Klamath River was again before us to be re-crossed.  My parents took us to these woods when we were children so we could camp in the rustic woods.  My mother canned blackberries which she had picked while I invented horses from fallen logs and my dad fished.  I have no idea what my brother did.  We were seeing what looked like creeping cedar along the roadside, which I didn't expect to find in Oregon.  This endangered ground cover shouldn't be in a dry climate..I will have to investigate that.  We were over the 4551' summit of this Cascade Siskiyou Mountain Road and back into pinelands along Oregon 66.  It looked like we'd left the desert behind on the other side of the mountains we'd just crossed.  Now I'm confused--in front of us were Oak Trees? and switchbacks as we head into Ashland on the steep grade (down)--so glad the brakes were repaired on the Coyote.  Ashland is the home of the Oregon Shakespere Festival then in progress.  We saw ski slopes you wouldn't dare to steer wrong or you'd plaster yourself on a tree.   Steep is in.  No more pines next--only scrub oaks.  Steep as the devil.  I'm glad we were on the inside lane as we entered the valley.  We were struck with golden hills and dense clumps of oaks both green and gold--my favorite.  The Pacific Coast must be right over those hills but it's really 70 miles away.  Monster clumps of mistletoe cling to the 20 foot oak trees.  Seriously dry "Emigrant Lake" was on our right. And breathtaking majestic land with towering mountains practically blocked the sky from the road.

We've only seen five cars since we left Ashland.  Could it be the winding switchbacks?  Then we were thrown back into the 5 freeway north to Phoenix outside of Medford where we parked for the night.  Not bad for one day.  Ashland is so gorgeous we were delighted.

Sunday, February 9, 2014

My Blog--Series: From Sea to Shining Sea, part 11.

This is the valley floor which has a saline lake that is about four inches deep and 120 miles long.  This is looking from the California side of the lake to the Oregon mountains on the other side.  When there is a drought, that lake disappears.

This is looking across the lake on a beautiful day, toward the Nevada mountain range.

This is half of Cedarville downtown.  The residential part of town  (about 50 houses) is tucked into the California side among groves of trees.

Donna, Mike, Kevin, Lorin, Cassie, Jackie and Eric, Charlotte, Kirstin , Can, John and Jess Wright were all there when we arrived for Thanksgiving.  Everybody had driven 16 or 12or 7 hours or  five days to get to Cedarville for Thanksgiving.  We sat around and told lies and ate Mexican food for Thanksgiving dinner.  We celebrated my and Darrel's anniversary again, and Kirstin's birthday.  Then we took five minutes to tour Cedarville, then had a constant game going on for several days in the center of the dining room table.  It was 40 degrees and snowing outside.  Two days ago we were all dying from the heat.  We parked the Coyote at the fairground, which doubles as an RV park when there are no rodeos in town.  But the wedding pavillion will be busy Saturday night.

Sunday, February 2, 2014

My Blog New Series--From Sea To Shining Sea--Part 10

Thursday, Sept. 30.
We got on the way north to Cedarville, a little place located right in the corners of Oregon, California and Nevada.  You can stand in the middle of the old volcano valley and see all those states at the same time.  We’ve got 200 miles to go up I-395.
Passing old desert homes, we preferred the front door, so to speak.  Gerlach is all we’ll miss, and there is so little traffic this way we’d all ready gone 100 miles by 11:00  The temperature is a lovely 74 degrees. There are truck weigh-ins from time to time.  Darrel thinks there should be people weigh ins too.

The valley near Susanville spreads flat and golden all horsefarms.  Alfalfa farms, great squares patch the whole valley in farmland.  Dotted for shade around the houses, are glorious clusters of trees.  Which, of course, makes me homesick for the used-to-be.

Just before Alturas the land is volcanic rocks, soft gold grass, short pines and sagebrush.  We were climbing--8000 ft and 82 degrees.  The old train track that used to run beside the road has been removed--at least the greenie Californians have taken the asphalt away.
But its old track bed is still there.  It’s probably a wonderful horse path.  I don’t know who “Lardass” is, but he’s apparently responsible for a store that’s too close to the road, according to the sign out front.

With 35 miles left to Alturas the trees are dense and taller.  We got over the edge and started down into Alturas’ volcano valley.  The town of Likely boasts a population of 200 and is straight ahead at 5000 feet elevation.  All that’s needed for a perfect picture is a tribe of Modoc Indians riding by on their pintos.
I ate my peanuts and watched the circling hawks shopping for lunch.  Ha!  Now we passed the “Most Likely” Cafe.  I love fun words.  We passed the school with two cars in the parking lot at 12:20.  A volcanic rim surrounds as, as I already mentioned.  But to see it seems kind of moon-walkish.  We saw a radio tower but no radio station beneath it.  The pond covered with ducks was more interesting to watch.