Sunday, 26 December 2010

Trip to Washington and Oregon, October 2009, Day 8

Into each trip some rain must fall, and these were the days it fell. The news mentioned a major storm hitting the coast, with dangers of landslides in California. Driving Burnt Ridge would have been outright scary in that weather. I was so grateful we had done it the day before!
We, or rather Chris, just drove North this day. By the way, my husband loves driving and I don't. So on joint trips I get to sit back, stare at the scenery, read, play Sudoku, and generally zone out.

The original plan had been to leisurely make our way home through the Oregon Outback, the South-East desert region that looks like Nevada and is about as densely populated. We have been there before and love the wide open landscape. 
I was also keen to have another look at Upper Klamath Lake. The one time we were there, at the end of September 1999, the views of Mount Shasta were obscured by the smoke from forest fires. This time all we could see was rain.
I have a special intimate relationship with Klamath Lake. The wild edible blue green algae that grows there has been the mainstay of my health program for 14 years. Eating it has truly been life-changing. But that is a whole other topic.

This is harvest season for AFA. I had been hoping to see the harvest barges at work. Alas, it poured rain and we couldn't even find a spot to access the lake.

We decided to focus on getting home, driving North over Bend, a route we had never seen before. Route 97, the same road that took us through the fruit country. This stretch was BOOORRRRING. Jackpine forests on both sides that looked more like tree plantations than woods. Pouring rain, occasionally mixed with sleet. If there are views to the mountains we couldn't see them.

To add insult to injury the road was full of impatient truckers, including the occasional honker or finger-giver. Not fair, since Chris is the most considerate of drivers and will pull over to let faster traffic go by at any opportunity. Near Madras we took refuge in a roadside diner for a bowl of hearty home-made bean soup. It was a fun place with an interesting mix of locals and truckdriving regulars. We eavesdropped on conversations about a patch-quilt economy that sounded a lot like home.

Past Redmond and especially past Madras the landscape got pretty again, more hilly and open.
Alas, the light was not great for taking good pictures. This is somewhere between Madras and Antelope. Poor Antelope. There is a tragedy. A tiny town in a stunningly beautiful region that is dying. I didn't get the chance to take pictures there. But it looked like there had been a school and it was gone. A few houses are still inhabited, but if memory serves the lone cafe had closed. If anyone out there is one of those lucky people who can work anywhere, there's got to be cheap real estate available. One could dream of a community of artists and homesteaders bring the town to life again.....
After I wrote that a Multiply Reader told me that Antelope had been taken over by the now infamous Baghwan cult. I got this plaque from the Internet, sorry, forgot where.

Back in October 2009 it was time to make camp again.
Just past Antelope we found a large lot with a big pile of slag or whatever it was, belonging to the department of transport.
There was no sign of industrial activity. It didn't look like we'd be in anyone's way.
Enormous views all around.
                                     Home again, free!


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