As we came out of the Hoh rainforest early in the morning, one of the first things that we saw was two huge elk on the side of the road. They showed only minor irritation as we and another car in front of us stopped in the middle of the road to gawk. One lazily turned his head toward us, his mouth full of the grass that also stuck to his nose.
I’ve never liked the fourth of July. When I was little it was because I was afraid that the house would catch on fire from stray fireworks. Now I dislike it for different reasons—I think Robinson Jeffers, in his poem “July Fourth by the Ocean” makes an eloquent statement about it: “Therefore we happy masters about the solstice/light bonfires on the shore and celebrate our power.” In any case, we usually try to avoid any kind of July fourth activities not only because of feelings about it, but because there are just so many damned people around.
On the morning of July fourth this year, I thought it would be fun to hike into the next town which we had seen on a previous day’s drive. Yachats is an adorable little seaside town complete with picturesque houses with huge windows looking out to the water, welcoming small shops and cafes, and long stretches of sand walled in by stony cliffs. It bills itself as “the gem of the Oregon Coast,” and if you like the fourth of July, I can imagine that you would agree.
The Newberry Eagle is billed as “the local newspaper of Newberry Country.” I’m not sure where “Newberry Country” begins and ends, but I picked up this gem of a monthly paper in La Pine, Oregon. I adore local newspapers mostly because they are just so awful. When we lived in Boulder Creek I loved getting the mail on Saturday because that meant that I would receive our weekly copy of The San Lorenzo Valley Press Banner, which as a whole isn’t terrible, but would always contain several ridiculous items. One of my favorite things, besides reading the painfully bad “Comedy Corner” written by a local resident, was collecting blurbs from the police blotter: things like a person breaking into a lock box and stealing $25 worth of donuts. However, the Newberry Eagle leaves The Press Banner in the dust.
If someone had said to me only five years ago, “Let’s go climb three miles up a mountain in the snow,” I would have laughed heartily, flipped him off gleefully, and went on my merry way. But there, on the third day of our trip, I found myself doing just that. I suppose it began with what might be considered a misunderstanding. Two people, while making their Match.com profiles both marked the box that said that they liked hiking. However, that word, “hiking,” has many different connotations. For the woman, “hiking” meant something along the lines of “a nice jaunt through the forest occasionally, preferably with a picnic lunch at the end.” For the man it meant something like, “hauling ass up steep mountains, the more perilous the better.” You can see where the misunderstanding comes from. However, as it has been said, love will make you do crazy things. But I don’t just mean love of each other, which was certainly my motivation at the beginning, but love of the thing itself. It is amazing to me, but I have actually begun to fall in love with the feeling that I get from the hard work and rewards of a really good climb. However, at times, the fact that this relationship I have with climbing mountains can be a love-hate relationship is exposed. Continue reading “An Unlikely Mountain Climber”
Although we had done our best to properly pack and secure everything in the RV, we both harbored a not-so-secret presumption that at some point during the drive all of our possessions would leap forth simultaneously from their cupboards and cabinets like spring-loaded snakes in a can of peanuts. So during the entire maiden journey of the RV, our ears were tuned in to every little sound that issued from the back. “Ping, ping.” That’s new. We would give each other a look of consternation and I would shimmy through the cab to inspect the noise. “Bang.” Shimmy shimmy. “Ca-chunk.” Shimmy shimmy. And so it went until at last we reached the Mill Creek campground in Lassen National Volcanic Park. Continue reading “Away We Go”
It’s clear that I have failed miserably at finishing my final posts from our last trip. However, I have had the final post done for a very long time just hoping that eventually I would finish my Peru posts and I could put everything in chronological order. But I’m not feeling chronological anymore, so, linear time be damned – I’m going to post my final post from two years ago and if I ever finish those other ones, it will be like a pleasant trip back in time…
It’s hard to believe that almost three years have passed since we first began this blog (and our first year-long travel adventure). Although pretty much nothing has transpired on the site in the past two years, it is about to become active again. And since I never truly finished all of my posts from our last trip, I’m hoping to intersperse those occasionally with what we’re doing on this current trip.
This trip we are continuing with our “Odyssey” theme which brings to mind Tennyson, Homer, and even Joyce. But for a long time Steinbeck has been on my mind, especially his travel narratives. If anyone can speak for me right now in this time when my thoughts are scattered in a thousand different directions, it’s him. He always knows just what to say…
Chapter 1 Travels with Charley by John Steinbeck
I still have a few more cities to write about, but we’re in the process of returning to “normal” life and I haven’t had time to finish the posts. Stay tuned – I will finish the story as soon as possible.
Usually we would not be excited about a 28 hour bus ride, but our trip from Santiago to Arica was going to be different. We had purchased the top-of-the-line “premium” bus seats which meant that we would have seats that folded out flat into a bed. Not only that, but we were traveling on Tur Bus. Tur Bus is always on time. In fact you can pretty much set your watch by their departures. None of this crap like in Argentina where the bus drivers would say we were going to stop for 10 minutes and we would be there for an hour. On Tur Bus if the bus driver says 10 minutes, you had better have your behind on the bus in 9 minutes. The staff on the bus bring you tasty treats morning, noon, and night as well as blankets and pillows. They also have a list of which passengers are getting off at which stops and they will tell you a few minutes in advance to get ready to depart. The bottom line is that out of all of the bus companies we used to travel through South America (and there were quite a few) Tur Bus is the only one I would unequivocally recommend.