Friday, July 29, 2011

Seaside Oregon

There And Back Again a story of two shuffling people

Once we were able to get through Washington we were nearing our new home state. The Oregon border was marked by a river. We crossed the epic bridge and into our new habitat.  The Eastern part of Oregon looks nothing like you would imagine. It is grassy with rolling hills. It is dry with trains, power lines, windmills, river, barges, power generating dams, massive roads and craggily rock surfaces. Our entrance was a bit intimidating. There was an Army related area to our right with thousands of grass roof covered bunker type things. It looked like a scene out of District 9. I kept expecting a Prawn to pop out of one. I have to admit it freaked us out a little bit to think what might be stored in each.

Soon on the right we were slapped with another strange site. Cultivated tree farms lined the highway in perfect rows. The trees were trimmed so that their slender trunks made uniform rows with strict shade patterns. It was almost as if they were part of the army base standing in attention ready to give their lives for the cause. Dusty trucks drove in-between the unnatural forest and different generations of trees made up the angular clumps. I was a bit wary of all this for it was a stark contrast to the lush green rugged landscape I had come so far to see.

We started to move along the river feeling impressed as we had in several other states by the mobility and transport of massive amount of resources across huge expanses of land. It really hit me at that point the cost of leaving a computer running, a T.V. on while not watching it or just waking out of the room with water running or a light carelessly on. How much that simple little waste cost and how much energy it took to get that energy to me. I felt again this cross country move had changed me completely once by helping me understand the diversity of this country and the need of diversity of opinion and a second time by showing me what it takes to power my comfortable lifestyle. I commented to Roger that we all need to take a step back and rethink our values. Who do we really value? What do we really value? Do we value our countries infrastructure being sound or do we value tax cuts? Do we value someone on Wall Street or do we value the road man bringing us what we need to sit comfortably in our living rooms with a cold drink and a warm meal as we watch television and complain about the state of things?

This eastern landscape made me feel like a spec of dust but I was soon to be made to feel the size of a microbe. In order to enter the Portland area you have to get around a huge expanse of mountains. We were not sure if this would mean a massive tunnel or if we would go up and over. We soon learned it meant following a narrow highway along the river through the mountain pass. I have always found the Hudson Vally to be breath taking but this river area was that times a billion. As if someone had turned the page in a picture book we entered sheer lush green cliffs. The river flourished with pelicans and other aquatic birds. Incredible cascading waterfalls rocketed down the sides of the cliffs and monstrous rocks loomed above us. The conversation simplified to "WOW! Lookout there" and "Oh my gosh look over here!" Traffic slowed. A dramatic tanker truck accident blocked the opposite direction of the road. It looked as if the driver made it out ok and that no one was hurt I was grateful to see. People did not seem angry in the least and this left a lasting impression on me. People were having a highway block party pulling out their lawn chairs and some even had grins on their face. Curiosity was there more then frustration. This would normally be a occurrence that would have taken priority in our thoughts but there were so many other things to see that soon after the traffic picked up our brains were bombarded by wondrous sites again. Soon were were in site of Mount Hood. This mountain is just unreal when first spotted in the haze. I think I will need to climb part of it to really grasp it's reality. I was mixed with the feeling it was a guardian and a danger looming above the landscape. It phased in and out of view as we moved closer and closer to Portland.

The city of Portland was a surprise for there is not suburban sprawl or chains to line the entrance of the city. It is a wall of trees and bam! a city. The bridge network is a engineering wonder. The city is so easy to get in and out of or even around as we passed it to head to our country town of Forest Grove. We have much exploring to do in the city and I will write about it more when I have spent more time there. We moved on to Beaverton, Hillsboro and then on to Forest Grove. Each little area was connected by a traffic circle with no harsh intersections. The fields were filled with every kind of fruit plant and tree you could think of. There were hops fields as well. Water rocketed over the  plants keeping them vibrant and green. We dropped the tow off at the U-Haul places making a little old man with pure white hair and highly cushioned sneekers crabby that we were several days early. He walked back and forth with Roger and I following him like lost sheep with him grumbling under his breath that he had work to do. We finally found a spot and I started to follow Roger in the MINI. I freaked out a minute during my trial by fire, completely forgetting what peddle did what in the stick shift car I had not driven in some time. We made it though through the easy to drive on country roads.

I need to get some stuff done and will write more later. We are now in New York believe it or not. We had to fly back here for a wedding this weekend. Talk about traveling. We have traveled about 5000 miles over the past two weeks. Hope to see you all back here again in a few days!

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Montana River

King of The Road

When I woke up from the tiny motel in Terry Montana I had no idea what I would be seeing when I walked out the door. It was 2 am when we arrived and had been dark through most of North Dakota. This town was so small and adorable. I came outside to doves cooing and the smell of fresh air. The motel was situated across from a itty bitty high school and right next to a home cooking diner. About three trucks passed with labs in the back and a guy in a 10 gallon hat in the front. As we pulled out I could see stunning rippling hills with multiple orange tones.

Montana could be the most beautiful state we drove through. The air smelled so incredible with strong tones of sage. I can't express enough how amazing the air smelled. I stood for about 20 minutes just taking in the deepest breaths I could muster. It felt so spiritual there. The colors were soft greens, golds and browns. The plants looked alien with giant seed pods, spiraling grains and prickles. I could just picture cowboys crossing the rivers on their horses. I think the trees there were cottonwoods. They filled the river valley with gnarled dark trunks and vibrant green leaves. Roger and I left some tobacco at the look out. A thank you to the creator for the most beautiful of views. We had left it in the many other spots we had visited to show our gratitude for the safe journey and as a thank you for such stunning views. I have to thank Lench for teaching me about how tobacco is a sacred plant and how to thank the creator for all of the beautiful things on this earth.

After this amazing moment and feeling clarity in our hearts we started on our journey again. The cliffs were out of this world. They had eroded into fluid shapes with stone towers that defied gravity. Tattered rust colored wooden barns emerged from the golden grains and the soft sage clumps along the sides of the roads. Beautiful horses roamed wide open spaces. They munched on the soft grasses as they swished away bugs with their tails.

Montana is such a huge state. As the hours passed so did the landscape. We entered more and more dramatic hills with giant rock formations, ancient wind tattered trees and hundreds of different grasses. We were surprised as we started our climb up a massive mountain road to see a sign we were entering Idaho. Northern Idaho is about as rugged as it gets. The climb up the mountain was intense. The train tracks that snaked through the rocks were awe inspiring. It was so old west. There was a historic mining town tucked in the mountain valley. A crisp river rushed along beside us. I was wishing more then anything I was in a kayak. They were working on the road on the way down the mountain so we were able to go very slow and enjoy every second of it. The lady holding the construction sign saw my huge grin and returned it. When we reached the descent we could see the town below with a huge quarry carved into it. It looked as if they had removed a whole mountain there. There was a huge white statue of the Virgin Marry above the town with her arms stretched. Everything from the Montana border on made me feel like an insignificant ant in the whole scheme of things.

We hit Washington and were once again shocked by the landscape. Every landscape is so unique and everyone blew my mind. In Washington the grassy areas were interrupted by small drop offs of very dark rock. The rocks looked like rectangular columns stacked closely together. There were sections that looked like a shallow version of the grand canyon with the stark black rock agains the golden grasses.

We stopped at a little cafe and got a couple home made gourmet sandwiches and a slice of peach pie. This is where I found a amazing cowgirl hat. I look kick ass with my cowgirl hat and aviators. I love collecting hats and this hat is going to go perfectly with my buffalo nickel hat I got in Arizona. I also found another giant animal sculpture and forced Roger to take my picture posing with the giant metal chicken.

This story must end with the giant chicken for I am exhausted. Stay tuned for more of my amazing cross country story! We will be unpacking the U-Haul tomorrow and I will write more as soon as I get time. You all have a great night.