Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Oregon Trail 2

I took a shift driving and passed semi-trucks carrying a variety of goods. All of them travel 5 to 10 below what I would like to move at. The windy roads turned into long straight aways, and finally into a large interstate. At each leg we seemed to encounter some form of road construction. The country is rebuilding, but for now it just slows me down. We passed along the base of the Mt. Shasta; it was covered in clouds that were caught against its large and monolithic face.

Then it was the passage into Portland. Freight truck activity increased markedly. We were now on the major corridor between Portland and California. As I crested the hill and descended into Ashland, Ciera awoke from her nap and I pointed out the Oregon Shakespeare Festival Sign as well as several other significant landmarks. Coming over the hill of Mt. Ashland is always a stunning experience. The driver is dropped into a model train set. Rolling green hills with perfectly spaced patches of forest and open fields, cute farm homes and tiny towns; it is opening to Walt Whitman's America. A beautiful green lake, a hawk flying overhead—it is the natural beauty that the pioneers were searching for. The thing they would cross a dangerous country just for a glimpse of. And our eyes were treated to it.

We stopped in a tiny diner and grabbed a little snack. It was not an ordinary diner. Bad art adorned the walls, but this bad art was unique in that one of the owners of the diner was the painter. The waitress was friendly and we were one of six people in the place at the time. One was an old timer in a pastel green sport coat and clean white new sneakers. He seemed slightly bewildered. But I believe we all are, he was honest about it.

Then we were back on the road, singing along to my iPod. The green of the area was something I was unaccustomed to. Normally we come through when the hills are a golden color, where the plant life has lost a bit of its sheen. Today it was out in full force. Fields of wildflowers in lavender, white, and bright yellow delighted me. Beautiful oak groves followed the contours of the hills. We had passed the half-way point but I would have been happy to drive forever.