Wednesday, August 15, 2012

AN INCOMPLETE DIARY OF A ROAD TRIP...
...and you thot talking on cellphones or texting while driving is a bad thing!
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I hadn't been away from the Southern Oregon Coast in six years. But it was bound to happen. I'm talking about The Class Reunion, different this time around because I had to Travel over 300 miles to get there. For years, I lived in Coeur d'Alene, Idaho and graduated high school there. Not this time around! I flew the coop and got out of there only to fly back into the coop six years later for my 40th class reunion. This post, then, documents photos I took on the Sly. For, you see, I shot photos while driving. I'm not proud of that, but I'd already postponed the trip by a day, and I had to make good use of my time. This was also an opportunity to get photos of Other Things Besides My Area Of The Coast. So I did what I did. But I kept the car "shiny side up and between the ditches".
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-First of all, let's hear it for I-5. It's a really great road in that it's mostly level and fairly straight. One hand on the wheel, the other holding the camera. Taken somewhere around 8am, the temperature inland wasn't that much warmer than on the coast. So things started out fairly well. That would later change...




Another shot from I-5, looking eastward. The Willamette Valley looks like one big flood plain, and it's easy to imagine the distant hills as islands in an earlier water-logged or glacial environment in which things were leveled out on a grand scale. We're about 150 miles south of Portland here...as you can tell, this is quite the agricultural area...


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To get to North Idaho from I-5, you Go to Portland and take a right turn, which sends ya up the Columbia River Gorge. It gets hotter the further east you go, and if it wasn't for the wind vanes on the hills, this part of the country would be uglier than it already is. This is Biggs Junction, which is about halfway between Coos Bay and Coeur d'Alene. "Desolate" doesn't begin to describe this place. This photo looks north toward the Washington side of the mighty Columbia...

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Crossing the Columbia River, and negotiating the traffic mess that is the Tri-Cities in Washington State, you can see the country doesn't change much in appearance, though the temperature had to be somewhere close to 100 degrees out here. Please, car, don't break down now! If you've ever envisioned yourself going absolutely nowhere, this is what it looks like when you get there...


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It was getting hot and late and I put the camera aside and concentrated on driving hard the last three hours of the trip, which grew volcanic-hot because I had no Freon in the air-conditioning. I just wanted to Get There. I met up with Interstate 90, blasted through Spokane and arrived in Coeur d'Alene after over 11 hours on the road. So how morbid was this road trip? Look at where I stayed! But the room had a great air conditioner! Not bad for a cheap motel. Best of all, I Survived The Bates Motel. I heard no loud screams as the shower water was running, and needed no bandages. All in all, things turned out much better than I thot they would.

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I arrived in Coeur d'Alene on Wednesday night, which gave me all day Thursday to putt around town, seeing things, driving around town, looking at all of the changes (see "A Tale Of Two Coeur d'Alenes", a couple posts below this one), but this lake photo was taken Wednesday night after I checked into the Bates...I headed for the one place in town I wanted to go...Coeur d'Alene City Park...and I knew the view that I wanted to see, and this was it...
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Sitting on a park bench, behind the sea wall, once again I was looking out over Lake Coeur d'Alene on a warm Summer evening...Mica Peak in the distance, looming in the west as the temps Finally Cooled Down. I spent a lot of time here in younger years. I always wondered how I'd feel, coming back after being away for so long. And you know, it felt good. I'm reminded of a quote which singer Loreena McKennitt included in her latest CD, "The Wheat That Shakes The Barley"...
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"Every Once In A While, there is a pull to return to one's roots or beginnings, with the perspective of time and experience, to feel the familiar things you once loved, and love still." And although the area has grown tremendously over the years, everything I sought was right where it was supposed to be.