Sunday, October 25, 2009

Scenes from Oregon

Upper Klamath Lake, via Moore Park

View from outside my brother-in-law's place
Moore Park, Aerial View

Thursday, October 22, 2009

The DAMNED HAM Sandwich...
and other tales from the road....

So, back when we were heading into St George this summer, Ted's grandma was planning ahead. She doesn't like to cook often, and figured she would be efficient when it came to preparing food for the few days we were going to be bumming around, give or take. So, she decided to make a twenty pound ham. That should last four adults and three kids quite some time, especially when paired with potato salad, jello, and rolls. This was dinner the first night, lunch the second day, and dinner the third night.
Meanwhile, I was going crazy with a lust for Taco Time. Did I mention before how much I love Taco Time? I had no idea there were so many in Utah. One was practically flagging me down the moment we drove into town. We passed it and passed it, circling like hungry buzzards, until we finally swooped down the evening before we left, hiding crisp meat burritos in the console for later.
And the morning we left, bless her heart, that Bonny pulled out the ham one last time. We had to make ham sandwiches for the road, she insisted. I made us six sandwiches, sure that I would never again eat ham.
That afternoon, though, somewhere in the backcountry of Utah, miles from the nearest small town, the damned ham sandwiches were dealt with. They were exactly what we needed at a certain point. But darn if hours later, and us famished, we pulled into the first small town, and saw....Taco Time!
We'll have ten crisp meat burritos.....

Wednesday, October 21, 2009


Ever have that feeling you want to skip right to the end?
I've been trying to write the stories of our two weeks on the road back in August, and here it is October. I haven't had much time for blogging. I do want to share the very best part of the trip, though, before I give up. There were so many fun sights, but Northern California and the Eastern Sierras were my favorites. Here are some pics:
This was outside Independence, California. We took a little nature hike here.

Found this herd roadside and had to stop for pics.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009


That darn blanket. I meant to pack both of the boys' fleece blankets, but somehow ended up with only one in the suitcase. Which meant they fought over this one the whole trip. Which is somehow easier than just sharing it, for them.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Outside the BLM Wild Horse Corral
Burns, Oregon
So, this is the closest I have come to the wild horses in Oregon so far. And I didn't even see one, just this statue. We had pulled right up to the gate of the wild horse management area to look for a geocache. Funny thing was, for some odd reason I did not have the coordinates to this one loaded in either GPS. I had the hints printed out, though, and by using the hint, and searching for a good twenty minutes, I was finally able to find it. Yeah!
This reminded me, though, of my fervent wish to get closer to the mustangs that live in this area. Mustangs are near and dear to my heart - just listen to the tribute poem posted at the bottom of this blog - and I've been following their management by the BLM for over two decades. Lately, the management of the mustangs have been facing some dire issues. The recession has hit the horse market fairly hard on the bottom side. The high priced luxury horses are still moving, but the low end has suffered from the economic crisis coupled with the end of horse slaughter in two big markets - California and Texas. The market is saturated with broke down, outlaw, and cull horses no one can sell, and the people who would buy these horses, the cheap horses, are also the ones who would adopt the mustangs. There are 30,000 mustangs sitting in boarding stables across the country that cannot be adopted out, and there was talk of euthanizing ALL of them until our new horse hero emerged. This is an issue that strongly speaks to me, and I wish I was in the position to do something about it.
On my "Bucket List", there is only one thing - to ride with the wild horses. Someday I will do it. I will saddle up a trusty mount, ride out to one of their ranges, find a herd, and ride among them. The gloriflying moment of my life will come when I am galloping alongside them, hair flying, lifting up my arms to God, in unison heart and soul with these creatures that have spoken so much to the depths of my heart. I want there to still be some wildness left on this earth, some place where horses still run free, and I want this for America, for America to keep her wild horses.
On our trip, we passed by three wild horse management facilities. This one in Burns is an area they bring them to when they are rounded up to prepare them for adoption. Some, like the ones we passed in Nevada, are actually protected ranges for them to live on. Someday, I would like to adopt my own wild horse, but this will have to wait until I have a proper enclosure and time to spend working on gentling it. These are the dreams I have in my life, dreams of wild horses and thundering hooves, and a gentleness inside a fierce and free nature. I hope that someday these dreams do come true.

This is what the "back side" of Oregon looks like - coming in from the eastern edge. The secenery was like this for about two hours. We found a geocache or two along the way and also really came to understand why Oregon attracted a lot of Scottish immigrants. They felt the landscape reminded them of home, and was a good place to raise sheep. However, I do not recall seeing any homes or ranches along this stretch...a whole lot of nothing in the middle of scenic nowhere....

Wednesday, October 07, 2009

Indigo Girls - Love of Our Lives, Live @ Charleston Sound Studios

I love the newest Indigo Girls album, but this song in particular. It reminds me of my family right now, in particular a conversation I had some months ago with my father. It especially reminds me of my parents, but maybe all of us in some way....

Sunday, October 04, 2009


A strange thing happened in Idaho. It was not unplanned, but there were some surprising insights gained from these events.
When we had really started planning our route that covered a tremendous 3500 miles across the Pacific Northwest in a two week time span, destination Oregon via St George, Utah, I had noticed that one path we could take would put us within breathing distance of two people I had not seen in a very long time. So I made contact, and plans to meet up, with an old friend in Boise and an old boss in Nampa.
I really didn't think much of it at the time, just that I was excited to see these people I had not seen in a long, long time. L and I met through my best friend, J, back in the nineties, and I had always really liked her. She kind of knew me "before", though, before all this life changing shit happened to me and I became a person I don't know that I would have recognized. Physically, I am somewhat the same - several old friends remark when they see me that I look exactly the same as I did in high school - but there are so many changes inside my soul and, in my perception, to my youthful looks, that I rarely feel like that person L probably knew in the day.
L herself has changed a lot since I had made friends with her, as well, but even though her appearance seemed to have changed drastically, I recognized her readily when she arrived at the park we agreed to meet at in Boise. I don't even know that talking to her, I recognized either one of the people we used to be in the conversation, except in the parallel care and concerns we had for our shared mutual friends. My mind was sparked by talking to her, though, and I really enjoyed it and didn't want it to end. However, the boys were restless, and we spent probably less than an hour with her, though I probably could have spent the whole weekend getting to know her again.
Then, we went to Nampa, and spent an unexpected THREE hours with my old boss. None of us antipicated this visit would run so long (I had been promising T only half an hour before we could get back on the road, since he was anxious to get to his mom's this night). However, neither of us made a push to get going once we got there, and K slept through the entire visit. Part of this was because Shauna (the old boss) and her partner Mark are just some of the most darned interesting people you will ever met. Shauna is industrious and intelligent, and Mark is laid back and always curious about other people.
I worked for Shauna during the "after", during some really hard years in my life (I think it was exactly two years I was in her employ), and during some years that were difficult for her, too, in my opinion. At the time, she had been trying to keep her alternative health practice for animals afloat in a tiny agricultural town with a dozen other vets, and she had recently lost a business partner and lover, and a trusted friend and office manager who had screwed her over. During the time I worked for her, she had started dating Mark, and at the very end of our working relationship, had a child with him, who was a baby last time I saw him. Now their son was a vibrant, smart young child with many interests and talents, although he was very busy when we saw them.
Shauna and Mark have been very busy and apparently successful since moving their businesses to Nampa. She works out of her home, showing me her the clinic they built in stages that now includes two exam rooms for pets, and another for horses, with a large reception area. They have renovated their home with extraordinary results, and grow their own vegetables and hay. Mark took Ted for a walk, and then Shauna took me, and showed us solutions they had tried for various irrigation and weed control techniques, and it was all very fascinating. They were both in amazing health and condition, and we enjoyed fresh, natural flavors at their house, in the strawberry lemonade Shauna whipped up, a fresh bunch of grapes, nuts, fruit. It was very nice.
And then we had to get on the road, and I thought about this past year, and how I have confronted many ghosts of friendships past in the last twelve months or so. I tried to apply the filter of their experience and wonder what they saw in me. It's been these two, and two months ago, a coworker from the zoo I worked at when I met Ted, and an old professor, a boyfriend or two from way in the past, so many people with their own perceptions of me, most of which I would never know. It is a funny feeling to keep plugging yourself into that time and place, that you who you were at that distinct moment in time, when you were just slightly askew of who you are now. It is all very heady and filled with mystery, the mystery being really who you are as a person in this world, which we tend to think is who we think we are, but is really the combinations of all these perceptions. Who you are has less to do with who you are but more with who they think you are, which is not necessarily the same.
And I think I have the answers to this, but then they swirl around me , questions draped in purple silk and opaque veils, because even though I know myself more than my friends seem to, I will never know what it is I don't know, and therefore can never really know myself. Like I have said before, you hear observations other people make, and you have your own perceptions, but you will never know the things that are left unsaid. Maybe those are the heart of it, the vulnerability that exists within a friendship. But the outside of a friendship is wrapped up in the things a person does say, and in this case, it was hey, I am coming through, and I want to see you. I am so glad these two women accepted, because they were so amazing to meet and spend time with again.