On the way south from Bend, Oregon yesterday, the Girl and I needed a rest stop. Not long after crossing the California state line, I saw this little church aside the highway and noticed a picnic bench in the shade of the large trees. I spiked the brakes, startling the Girl, and pulled in.
Excitedly, she approved.
I got out, let her out, and retrieved my sandwich from the cooler, grabbed my waning back of chips, and snagged the water bottle. The Girl asked for water and drank plenty. Then, while she sniffed about, I ate my sandwich and prayed appreciation for the gift of this little community to this traveling old man.
After a bite, we walked the area, peeked inside the church (it was NOT locked), and I made a few more captures. I’ll have to assemble them and make another post… or edit this one later.
This church reminded me of the one near my family’s home in St. James, Missouri. There, Wife and I attended services for a number of years. The pastor was a favorite old friend, who also was a professor of mathematics at the university I attended.
Sunday morning, I rose, made some coffee, and puttered with my morning stuff for a bit. It’s my wake-up routine. A text message arrived from an ex-student, whom I was supposed to meet in Eugene for breakfast.
Oops… it’s about 90 minutes from Newport, Oregon to Eugene. So, I thought that maybe brunch or just coffee would be better. But the word was, come on anyway. He also recommended the drive through Florence and along SH 126 to Eugene.
So, I took the Girl down to the beach, played with her hard for a few minutes, made a few captures, and off we went. We met my friend and his family for lunch and enjoyed some wonderful fellowship for a few hours at Hendricks Park in Eugene. He has such bright children (no surprise). They were a hoot.
On the drive from Eugene, Oregon to Bend, I stopped at Salhalie Falls (on recommendation). I was blessed to be the only person on the trail near the falls. So, I was able to capture some nice video of the falls. I love that sound.
Then it was back into the rig to find lodging in Bend, Oregon.
Here is a second clip, this one of the main fall and in slow motion.
About two weeks ago I visited this very spot, the rest area at Dismal Nitch, Washington. I stopped here on my way (the roundabout way) to Spokane, wanting some cooler weather (from Portland) and to see the Pacific Ocean. I stayed a few minutes, relishing the absence of the heavy traffic on the south side of the Columbia River, spent some time playing with the Girl, and we moved on.
This time I’m on my way south, heading back to Carson City. I visited people I needed to see. I spent some time reflecting. Now I want to get back to Carson, work on some project work in front of me, and make some decisions about what will be next.
I wanted a break from the drive yesterday, so I paused here at Dismal Nitch once again. The weather was cool and drizzly, much different from the bright sunny day of two-weeks ago. But, what I really noticed is the change in the trees. They are beginning to show fall color.
Perhaps I should have waited for this trip. It would be wonderful to see the trees in full color at their peak. Maybe next year…
I had a hank for this really crappy pseudo-550 paracord loose in my kit. Why might I call it crappy? Well, there’s something not right with the core, it seems too fuzzy, for lack of a better term. I’m used to stranded core. In addition, the sheath and core don’t fuse well when scorched.
So, I had this hank of crappy paracord in my kit.
I’ve been carrying this Victorinox EVOgrip 518 multitool in my pocket for awhile. It’s a great piece of kit and very handy to have around. The scissors and bottle opener get a lot of use. The blade is also wicked sharp for a factory grind.
The tool also has a lanyard loop. So, I decided to tie up a lanyard for the Victorinox with that hank of crappy paracord.
The first attempt used a single overhand stopper knot with the loop just through the lanyard ring. It came untied several times and the knot would move around as the loop moved through the ring.
That was unacceptable.
So, I thought there might be enough cord (of the crappy variety) to make a double stopper knot and perhaps a cow hitch in the lanyard ring.
In the process of fiddling with the hank, the sheath and core came un-singed. So, I resigned the offending end, trimming a bit of core off (with the Victorinox, of course). I then tied the cow hitch onto the lanyard ring and used a double overhand stopper knot, which I cinched together fairly tightly.
So far, the lanyard is holding well. It makes an easy grab in the pocket of my cargos. Lanyards are useful, as I’ve come to learn. They’re also fun and simple to make.
A few mornings ago, the Girl and I headed over to Edgewater Park on the Skagit River for an outing. We walked the perimeter of the park on both sides of the bridge (there’s a pedestrian underpass at the bridge abutment on the west side). The Girl was on squirrel patrol — gotta keep those bushytails at bay! She chased a couple of them, which gets her a good sprint into our walks.
It occurs to me that I should practice calling her off when she turns on. It would be a good skill for her to have — return from pursuit on command. I’ll add that to our practice routine. It will be fun, even if she doesn’t want to give up the chase.
On return to the rig, I decided to cook my breakfast right there. So, I got out my kit, retrieved some eggs from the cooler, and got things started. A single yellow jacket came in to investigate, but I shooed it away. I think the Girl got after it too, but I don’t know if she got it. (She really doesn’t like buzzies…)
Breakfast was good. While I ate, I put water on for a cup of tea. I made a nice cup of Earl Grey in my Yeti mug. While drinking my tea, I cleaned up a hank of rope I keep in the tail net of my rig. Sometimes I need a bit of rope to secure something. The hank had loosened in all our travels. So, I cleaned up the frayed end, made a figure-eight coil, and tied it off with a clove hitch. I liked the package, so I put it together with my mug for a still life.
Sunday morning we got in a decent walk, then loaded out our gear. Or, rather, I loaded out our gear. There wasn’t much, so it wasn’t a big job.
Breakfast wasn’t much — some rubbery scrambled eggs and a hard, cold, dry biscuit with a little canned sausage gravy. I saved back one of the sausages for the Girl. The free breakfasts are often worth what I pay for them. I’m occasionally surprised (as I was at the Oxford Suites in Portland), but not often.
We headed out, taking Interstate 5 to Vancouver (back to nearly where we started from), then Washington 14 east along the Columbia River. The highway parallels the Interstate on the south side, but I hate driving Interstate Highways, except when I absolutely have to get there quickly. The U.S. and state highways are far more interesting.
Washington 14 did not disappoint. I saw a lot of beautiful views of the Columbia River Gorge. For this shot, I pulled off at the Cape Horn Overlook, dodging passing vehicles to get out of the rig. (The Girl stayed in the rig.) I managed a few captures of the view, paused a moment to take it in, and then we moved on.
Along the way, I stopped near The Dalles to watch the windsurfers play. Some use a sail; others use kits. It was fascinating to watch them play, a discordant dance on the roiling surface of the river. My friend Jimmy was right about this place. It is a place I should return to with a much longer lens, much earlier (or later) in the day, and with a tripod for stability. I think some interesting photographs could be made here. There is plenty of subject matter to work with.
It wasn’t long after that we drove out of the Columbia River Gorge. The landscape changed to a flatter, dryer world. The mountains gave way to plains, although the underlying volcanic history showed through the surface here and there.
Then came the grind. It was time to simply finish the drive and get to my destination, Spokane. So, that’s what we did. The outside temperature was between 95–100F, so it was time to use the rig’s air conditioner. The Girl will overheat if it’s too hot.
Eventually, we arrived in Spokane. I found us a place to stay. We found some food. We had a great play before the heat got to the Girl. We called it a day.
The Girl and I tired of the hot Portland afternoons. Saturday morning, as I assembled my gear, after a week of conference, I wondered whether to wander west or east. The call of the Pacific was in my head. (It still is.) I knew the air would be much cooler there, with the mass of cold ocean there. After refueling the rig and buying ice for the Yeti, the pull got me and we headed west on U.S. 30.
The drive wasn’t fast. We passed through many small towns. The river was always to our right. There are only a few bridges across the Columbia River in this stretch. It was warm, but the heat of the day had not yet come on, so we drove with the windows down. I just love the outside air.
We stopped in a small town for a place called Burgerville. I wanted to empty my bladder and get a bite before my blood sugar fell.
The young man at the counter was quite outgoing and pleasant. He walked me through the menu, so I bought a small cheeseburger, a small order of French fries, and a small strawberry shake. The food was all decent, although Sonic still has one of my favorite shakes (only a few places are better). Rested and fed, we headed back out on the road west.
As we drove farther west, the area became more rural. Then we hit Astoria and there was traffic. I suppose I was not the only one looking for cooler air. We made a pass at Fort Stevens, but it was late enough in the day that I didn’t want to pay the day use fee just to drive through. So, we headed back into town.
I knew it would be hopeless to find a room there, so we crossed the bridge to Washington State and turned back east. The north side provided enough shelter from the sea breeze (or sea wind) that the temperature was a few degrees warmer. At 75F, it was nearly perfect. We stopped at the rest stop on Washington 401 for a respite.
What I found is that the Lewis and Clark Company called the place Dismal Nitch. The sheltered (or what they could make for shelter) at this point near the end of their journey during a raging storm. I can only imagine the difficulty of that expedition. It made me wonder what it must have been like. It made me wonder whether I could have done something like that.
Relieved, we clambered back into the rig and headed east on the Washington side. Here we found fewer people and less traffic.
Finding a room was difficult, but I finally found one (an expensive room) in Kelso, Washington. It was clean and what I needed.
We walked across the mall entry to a place called Izzy’s for a bite. Izzy’s is a buffet-style restaurant, very reasonably priced, and they have a grill that will make a small sirloin steak. The staff made over the Girl, but were respectful of her duties. She relaxed under my table while I ate my salad and steak, knowing that I’d be bringing a treat for her supper along with us.
Tired, but satisfied and content, we returned to the room. I made her supper and then we played the game we nearly always do. The Girl is so into her food, especially when I add a bite of steak or chicken. We both laugh and laugh at the process. It’s also a good training opportunity. She has to wait for my command to “go” or she is held back. The tension in her is crazy and she is so funny. What a doll she is.
We’ll walk our last time in Portland this morning. Then we’ll return to our hotel, feed, clean up, and load out. Then we’ll head east toward The Dalles and the Columbia River Gorge. I’m looking forward to poking around, seeing the sights, and perhaps finding a geocache or two. The Girl will be happy if she can be off-lead some of the time.
The Girl and I wake early nearly every morning, even when traveling. Here in Portland, I found a walking path along the Columbia River not far from my hotel. We’ve been out and about just after sunrise almost every day this week. On some mornings, there is even sunshine.
On Monday, the Girl and I rose early, moved around a bit, and I fed us. I handled a conference call that might (hopefully) lead to some new work. I could use a couple of new projects on the books. Then we loaded out the rig and headed west to intercept the Crater Lake Highway.
As we approached the area, the nature of the geology (volcanic) was striking. I could go back here and spend several days exploring the area. Another visit to Crater Lake (so I could capture images at dawn and dusk) is also appropriate.
I pulled up to the entry gate, showed my “old man’s pass,” and drove on with a map and newsprint in hand. We stopped at the Visitor’s Center to look around. But, I could tell that the park was getting busier as the morning aged. So, we drove off to catch East Rim Drive and take in the park.
I was astounded when we pulled off at the first access point. It was a short hike to the edge of the pit. The Native Americans are right — Crater Lake is a holy place. I could imagine the battle between Skell and Llao that they must have witnessed so long ago. That struggle would have been truly heroic.
We spent a couple of hours wandering along the east rim. Then we drove on towards Portland, where my conference is being held this week.