November 30, 2006

And Back Again

As I mentioned, I took no pics of The Cutest Niece, or my sister, or their house. In the end, it’s probably a good thing for the sake of anonymity and family harmony, but sigh.

After our cross-country drive, Muttola is a seasoned road dog. As long as she has her bed and us she seems content. In fact, when we start packing suitcases and loading the car, she begins to hover near our feet with a pleading look that says, “Don’t leave me, don’t leave me!” Many times we’ve put her dog bed in the car early and let her watch the proceedings from there. She seems much more content knowing it’s guaranteed we can’t abandon her.

The morning we were leaving Medford, OR it was snowing on I-5. Apparently it’s state law that you can’t venture into the snowy regions without tire chains for your car. The irony is that despite 15 years in upstate New York with frequent 8-12 inch snowstorms we’ve never had to chain the tires. Jrex even went (with other buddies—I don’t like to be cold!) camping in the Adirondacks without needing chains. Out east they believe in salt and plows. Out here it’s a bit more wild west: ‘If you can’t survive alone in the wilderness—you shouldn’t be here!’ We decided to drive around the storm via Grants Pass and Highway 101 down the coast of California. That choice transformed a 6.5-hour drive into a 13-hour one! Much of that delay was due to us stopping to walk around and driving the scenic route, but it was still a long day. We bought tire chains and even learned how to install them, but it's not a waste since we hope to use them on treks to Lake Tahoe.

When we got to the coast in Northern California we stopped to walk the dog along the beach. These signs are posted all along the beach. It’s like a line from a horror movie, “Don’t turn your back on the waves”!

Given the horrifying fact that since 2004, four people including children have been swept from dry sand by sneaker waves, we were very careful to obey instructions.

The northern Redwoods (vs. the fatter Giant Sequoias) grow to incredible heights. The tree I’m leaning on is over 350 feet tall. When I was little I used to love to lean on trees and look up. I thought I could tell the age and ‘gender’ of the tree. Matriarch vs. adolescent. Grandfather vs. punk kid. This tree was the calmest matriarch tree I’ve ever been near. I love getting opportunities to feel small, to think about the fact that I’m really on earth for a very short time, and this tree in her towering silence was a gorgeous reminder of both things.

The view from my angle.

I love this stump. Lest you think I crawled on the ground to get the shot, it’s at least 15 feet tall.

This tree has survived and thrived despite a horrific fire in the core.

I’d feared a quick drive home. Jrex had so much he had to do this week that it seemed we were going to pick the utilitarian vs. the scenic route home. I’m thankful for the snowstorm that allowed us to go the scenic way. Cause, frankly, I hope NOT to do that drive again, as pretty as it was. I’d much rather do a 2 hour plane flight.

Now that I've crossed the country via the southern route (2-week trip after college), the northern route with Jrex, and gone up and down both coasts, I think I've seen every state but Nebraska and North Dakota. We both agreed on the drive home that we aren't taking any road trips for a while!


Anonymous said...

Of the redwoods, your Great-Grandfather Bert said, "You have to look twice to see the top."

bg's Little Sis said...

Beautiful pics, thanks for sharing them.

Mama Nabi said...

I love road trips... snow chains, ha ha - I think they're banned in Minnesota, due to road damage...? I wouldn't know how to put one on. Not being a much of a geography buff (unless I've actually been to the place and learned via osmosis) I remember the first time I ever heard about the redwoods was on a sample SAT test, back in my boarding school days in India - and I thought it was a fictional paragraph! :-D

Beloved said...

LOVE the pictures! Wow--thirteen hours! You're both very brave. SG and I drove to DC last summer (about 13 hours for us) and we stayed a night in NJ on the way. Like I said, you're both very brave!

Rachel said...

Beautiful pictures. I miss those trees.