Wednesday, June 30, 2004

Details II

So, let's see. Where were we?

After we packed up and left Humbug Mountain on the Oregon coast, we drove down into California and Redwood National and State Parks. On the way in, we managed to find a cell phone signal to call in Happy Father's day to our respective dads. Very crowded campground, and the site host who was "helping" the Park Service employee at the gates seemed to be missing her entire short term memory. But we found a spot and set up camp. I think that's the night we had fresh corn on the cob and veggie couscous for dinner. I know we had a big breakfast in the morning: whole grain pancakes and scrambled eggs. Good thing, because all we managed for lunch was Clif bars and fruit.

But I'm getting ahead of myself. After packing up the car, but before leaving the park, we drove out to the beach area and hiked back into Fern Canyon. Very cool place. Straight out of Jurassic Park or something. It's a fairly narrow canyon with a nice, pebbly creekbed to walk along, and the park service has laid boards across the creek in places, so you don't have to get your shoes wet unless you want to. Not that I mind getting wet feet, but it's nice that they've made it accessible to people who otherwise couldn't handle a rougher terrain. (We saw lots of wobbly older people making their way in.) The walls go up about 30-40 feet and are completely covered it bright green ferns. For variety, there's the occasional fallen redwood leaning against the walls, with exposed roots flashing the creek.

Fern Canyon was only a short 1 mile loop, so we decided to go up to the ridge so Jay could get a few more pictures of the redwoods. We found this one least I think it was all one tree...that had five or six giant trunks with a very sheltered gap in the middle, raised up maybe three or four feet from the ground and padded with fallen needles. Not a bad place to curl up for a nap, should one be so inclined. We continued up to the ridge, took a few more pictures, ate a quick snack, and ran back down to ogle the ferns.

Spent another half hour or so on the beach itself, sitting on an enormous piece of driftwood and watching a couple of harbor seals playing in the surf. We're going to be on the Jersey shore in August for a friend's wedding, and Jay was joking that it would just like this, only with Skeeball and fewer trees. Hah.

Made it down to the Santa Rosa area (north of San Francisco, for those not versed in California geography) in record time to make dinner for my friend AnnLoomis who I hadn't seen since February 2000 -- far, far too long. And it is now definitely HER turn to visit me, the wench. She had a softball game to go to that night, so Jay and I took advantage of her nice, hot shower and crashed early in her nice, firm guestroom bed.

The next day we spent at Point Reyes (National Recreation Area? or is it a National Wildlife Refuge?) on the coast. Very windy out there, but absolutely beautiful. Down on Drake's Beach, Jay entertained himself by throwing frisbee alone (into the wind - better than a boomerang) because I am not permitted to throw disk near the ocean due to my "trick" throw. In otherwords, half the time it goes where I intended, the other half it flies 90 degrees off to the right. It's a talent, what can I say?

We cruised through Petaluma and the Whole Foods store on the way back to Annie's. Jay was utterly mesmerized by the variety of fresh produce, and I have to admit, I was pretty damn impressed myself. I've never really wanted to live in California, but I think I could be persuaded just on the basis of access to fresh food.

Ann took us out to dinner that night at Dempsey's, a brew pub that features items grown in their own organic garden... something that you would not find in Utah. Food was supergood, conversation was equally entertaining, and we walked off our excesses around downtown Petaluma, which is a charming (and expensive) place with tons of well-cared-for Victorian homes.

And on that note, I'm going to drag my butt to the gym. I got used to the daily exercise on the trip, and I think I might as well keep up the habit.

More later.

Monday, June 28, 2004


Why not begin at the beginning, eh?

We left Salt Lake at 8:45am on Wednesday the 16th and drove all the way to Bend, Oregon. That's about 690 miles, thank you very much. We camped out at Cinder Hill campground at East Lake in the Newberry (or is it Newbury?) mountains south of Bend. I like to think of the first campground as Ducky Camp, or Site with a tree shaped like a butt. I think Jay had something more reverential in mind. But anyway. The lakes are smaller versions of Crater Lake -- formed by a volcano that collapsed in on itself. But in the Newburys they formed 2 lakes because of a giant obsidian flow. Pretty cool. Anyway, we did some hiking, and then cruised through the High Desert Museum to learn all about raptors, porcupines, and otters.

I wasn't feeling too great because of allergies (and because we left the coffee in the freezer at home...) so we drive back into Bend to hit the Wild Oats grocery store for coffee (hot and ready), coffee (ground for French press), fruit, wine, beer, and toothpicks (the teatree oil kind).

Second night we spent in the Cascades near South Sister at the Elk Lake campground. (Creative namers, eh? The Three Sisters mountains are North Sister, Middle Sister, and South Sister.) I seem to recall that dinner was pasta with red sauce and a nice Merlot. We camp out in style. Yeah, baby. Campsite: Camp Cleanest Pit Toilet in the World. Seriously.

In the morning we woke up earlier than we planned (Jay misread the clock as 6:15 instead of 5:15) and didn't realize the goof until we checked the time at the South Sister trailhead and saw that it was only 7:25. Not being a morning person, I figured that we must have eaten our oatmeal faster than I imagined possible. Only after he finished his hike did Jay clue me in... Anyway, since I am not a crazy person (at least not in this way), I spent the day reading near the lake, while Jay trudged through slushy snow to the summit of South Sister.

Because he'd spent roughly six or seven hours hiking, he actually let me drive for the rest of the day and we made the coast in time to find a campground and set up before dark. I dub this site "Camp Circus Monkeys" after the large youth group who occupied most of the other sites in the loop.

We didn't waste much time packing up in the morning, though both of us had been so tired the night before that we left the back of the Subaru wide open all night long... Anyway. We headed south down the Oregon coast, stopping at a few view points, and taking a nice detour out to Cape Arago to play on the beach and ogle the sea lions through my cheap binoculars. Highly entertaining. If Jay posts the pictures, I'll link to them later.

We picked up some fresh and tasty bay scallops and halibut from a local market and had a seafood marinara with Alaskan Amber ale. Yum-meee. That was at the campground at the base of Humbug Mountain, which is a cool name in and of itself. However, I think this would also have to be "Camp where we saw a couple doggies whose owners do not walk them enough". These two dogs were practically quivering every time Jay and I threw the frisbee around in the central field, and their owners were clearly not capable of more than a plodding walk. And I'm not saying that being slow is an issue... UNLESS you have energetic dogs. Then being slow and unable to run your doggy is just cruel. Cruel, I tell you.

Okay, enough for now. I'll come back with more later.

Sunday, June 27, 2004


Back from the road trip. Much tanner, a bit leaner, and ever so slightly car sick. My eyes were watering from allergies a lot of the time, so I only drove about 300 miles out of 2700. Being a passenger in a hot car always makes me nauseous.

But it was a lovely trip, and I'll post more details after I get settled.

Thursday, June 10, 2004


Tuesday night, Jay and I went for a nice ~6 mile hike up Millcreek Canyon. Took the Elbow Fork trail up and the Pipeline coming back down. It was awesome. Had a few difficulties on the breathing front - pollen is still my enemy - but other than that it was spifferiffic. I even ran part of it...the gradual downhill parts, of course.

Now, I have lost control of the muscles around my knees and ankles. Walking down stairs is a cross between fantastic comedy and pig-squeeling pain. (Ow, oh, eek, ohmigad, ow, oh, noooooo! Damn.) Mind you, I still feel pretty good. I just can't walk for crap. Speaking of which, sitting down and standing back up are almost as funny as walking down stairs. Oy.

Tuesday, June 08, 2004

Communication is not dead

I've been known to complain that the art of listening is dead and that no one actually communicates anymore. As I think one of my friends said (and since it was a much more clever remark than they were typically capable of, I suspect they were quoting someone else), "Most people don't really listen, they just wait for their turn to talk."

Well, I had an honest to God (pun intended) conversation with one of my coworkers yesterday. He is Mormon and I am...not. He also teaches junior high level sunday school, so I think he's used to fielding questions about his beliefs and putting them into comprehensible words. We have, on other occasions, discussed politics (he still thinks that voting for Bush is a good idea...sigh), family, and religion without coming to blows. So when he remarked on an article in the NYTimes about gay marriage, I thought I might finally get an answer to my ongoing question about "what the heck is the big deal?" that didn't rely on base prejudice.

So I asked. And he tried to explain as best he could why he believes that it isn't what people should be doing. What was utterly facinating to both of us was that we were in absolute agreement on so many points, but still managed to come to opposite conclusions. The discussion went on for about 2 hours, so it's hard for me to sum up, but the highlights were:

1. God (or whatever you want to call him/her/it) is benevolent, not vengeful or punishing. Thus, religion should focus on the "pros" and not the "antis".

2. Family is one of the primary "gates" to real happiness. (Though what constitutes family remains a point of contention and probably results in our differing opinions.)

3. Our other greatest contention was over the "nature" of homosexuality. He tried to compare it to alcholism or other addictions. (Something that is a constant struggle, but which can and should be controlled.) I think of it more like being left or right-handed. (You can force a left-handed child to write with their right, but it's not natural and sometimes really messes them up.)

We realized that we weren't going to agree fairly early on, but just listening and responding to the other person's views kept us going. It's just too bad that having someone clearly and logically explain his/her views without becoming angry or beligerent when the listener respectfully disagrees has become such a novelty.

Sunday, June 06, 2004

Stop and Go

I just finished my first lesson in driving a standard transmission. I'm happy to report that all of us survived: me, Jay, and the car. We didn't leave the parking lot yet--thank goodness for all involved, especially those innocent bystander types--but I definitely got the hang of stopping and starting and 1st and 2nd gears. Reverse proved to be a bit much, and there wasn't enough room in the parking lot to really try out the upper gears. I'm getting there, though.

I still have 10 days before we leave.

Thursday, June 03, 2004

Ho hum

Why can't I be like normal wackos and feel depressed in the winter? Summer just seems to kick my ass and it makes NO SENSE. I've been feeling so bleh that I considered maybe going back on the meds again... I'll wait until after we get back from our trip though, because maybe it's just me being in a rut. And being broke. And having not heard from any of the school districts yet.

I've been off the Wellbutrin since January and have been doing really well. I'm just noticing that I'm not getting my usual endorphin high at the gym the last few times I've gone. And I'm getting angry over the slightest little annoyance. And I'm spending more time in front of the computer, but actually writing less. To me, those are warning signs. I'll monitor it and if I don't see improvement by the end of this month, I think I will go back on the drugs.