Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Shasta Mountain, CA

After leaving Peter's cousins in the Portland area, we continue driving south on I-5 and spend the night at the Seven Feathers Casino RV Resort in Canyonville OR. Sometimes we can find really good deals at casino RV Parks, but this one was pricier than most. Still it's was a nice park in a quiet area not far off the interstate. We enjoy dinner at a casino beer & burger joint. We are amused at the typical casino design of routing all foot traffic through the gaming area to get to any of the restaurants or restrooms.  Every detail is purposely set to entice every possible dollar out of each visitor.

Campsite @ Seven Feathers

Back on the road again

A little south of Grants Pass we pull of for lunch at a large rest area along the Rogue River. During our river running years, the Rogue was always a favorite run. The rapids were fun and river supports a wide range of wildlife including deer, elk, ospreys, and even bobcats.
North of Grants Pass

Large rest area for a lunch stop

The Rogue River in a calm stretch

It's not long before we are up and over the Siskiyou Mountains and back into California. Almost immediately we start getting glimpses of Mount Shasta. At an elevation of a little over 14,000 feet, Mount Shasta dominates the surrounding landscape.
Good-bye Oregon

Mount Shasta in the distance

Shasta peeking around a bend

Mount Shasta from a rest area off I-5

Yes - I know, I get snap happy when it come to Mount Shasta. It's an eye magnet.  It's easy to see why the mountain is surrounded in myths and legends, both ancient and modern.  The prevailing current mystical belief is that buried deep inside the volcano is a vast underground city of the lost inhabitants of Lemuria, a hypothetical lost continent originally in the vicinity of the Pacific/Indian Oceans. Although scientists have long ago dismissed this land ever existed, the belief lives on especially with people living close to Mount Shasta.  They believe the volcano contains a jewel lined city inhabited by an advanced society of Lemurians. Occasionally, a Lemurian will descend the mountain to visit humans to impart their wisdom and then magically disappear.

Since there's a partial eclipse of a full moon that night, we arrange to meet Cork and Cathy, friends from Redding, at an open parking lot at the end of the road to camp overnight. Once settled, I am surprised to find we are just below an old ski bowl that was shut down years ago. Looking up at the bowl a throb in one knee reminds me of an old injury incurred skiing down here.
Almost to the top of Shasta

Great views up here

Former ski bowl

While we are waiting for Cork and Cathy to arrive, we watch as other eclipse viewers start filling in the best camping spaces. Before long the parking lot is almost full.  At the far end, park rangers have cordoned off a trail to only let members of a local American Native tribe pass. Apparently, they are also celebrating the special occasion in tonight's sky.
Pick-up packed with huskies arrive

Hippies from town settle in

It's getting pretty busy up here

We are delighted to see our friends arrive as we have been saving them a parking space next to us. Soon a camp table is set up with pu pus and drinks.  Cork has recently returned from Burning Man and entertains us with stories from this year's event as well as showing off his new BM tee shirt.
Cathy, Peter and Cork

Cork telling stories

and showing off his new BM tee-shirt

As the sun sets and the sky darkens, a heightened sense of anticipation grows in the assembled crowd of eclipse watchers. The sound of drums, bells, and chanting rises and fills the air as the eclipse nears.

While the anticipation grows, we meet some of our neighboring campers. I am drawn to the lady with the pickup filled with huskies.  She lives in the nearby town of Mount Shasta and is into dog sled racing that takes place during the winters on the mountain.  It's feeding time and I am impressed how well behaved the dogs act while patiently waiting for their bowls.  Peter makes friends with a professional musician who plays in the area.
Patient puppy

eyes on the prize

Peter with new friend

Despite all the anticipation, we miss the beginning part of the eclipse because of the moon hiding behind a mountain ridge.  We do see the second half of the eclipse after the moon rises. Yes - we take lots of photos, but we don't get any decent shots due to not having packed a tripod.  Still, the photo below gives a good idea of the eclipse from Mount Shasta.
From live stream NASA Slooh coverage online as the moon starts to turn red

The morning floods us in bright cheery sunshine.  We are shocked to notice what first appears to be a dead body in front of our campsite. Quickly, we discover it's only a sleeping hitchhiker with his guitar. Next door, a young lady is doing a yoga sun salute.
"Dead" body with guitar

Sun salute

Morning sunlight on our vans

Castle Crags lights up below us

After we bid adieu to the Lemurians and mystics of Mount Shasta we are back on the road headed south on I-5. We pass the turn-off to Castle Crags State Park and make a standard stop at Granzella's in Williams CA for lunch sandwiches and to stock up on martini olives. Not far away is a predominately displayed sign for the State of Jefferson, a political movement of some northern California and southern Oregon counties to join together to form a new state named Jefferson. From time to time, this movement gains momentum and then fizzles out. At the moment, the movement appears to be at low ebb as their website isn't even working. Who says all the crazies in California live in Berkeley?  There's plenty enough to go around.
Watch for bears sign before Castle Crags exit

State of Jefferson sign

Growing rice for export in a drought as forest fires rage

Ahhhh - it's nice to be back home

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Visiting Cousins, OR

After leaving Orcas Island, we stop for the night at a small RV campground, Windjammer Park in Oak Harbor on Whidbey Island. Windjammer Park is popular with locals as a playground and as just a place to hang out. We especially enjoy the trail edging the harbor.  Oak Harbor itself is home to a Naval Air Station and while it may not be a great tourist destination, it does have all the services we need (laundry, fuel stations, and places to eat).
Trail surrounding Oak Harbor

Beached driftwood log

Guitarist practicing on the shore

Girls' soccer practice

Back on the road, we navigate south and then along the Columbia River, crossing back over into Oregon.  Fall colors are just starting to emerge and there's rain in the air.
Logs waiting for transport

Fall colors making an initial appearance

Oregon berry farm under cloudy sky

By the time we reach Peter's cousin Cindy and her husband Jack's house, there's a light rain falling. The lushness of their beautiful garden almost makes me want to live back in Oregon, but then I remember the long grey winters and am willing to put up with California's droughts and general craziness. While Peter and Cindy catch up on family news, I wander out to the garden to take photos.
The Hazard family loves gnomes

Cindy & Peter

Wonderful lush garden

Jack teaches math and art classes at a local high school, but his real passion is ceramics.  While out in the garden he shows me his pottery wheel and kiln - all professional grade.  His dinner ware is truly beautiful, but my favorites are his hand built sculptures.
Peter and Cindy set the table for dinner

Sculpture by Jack

Love their cat who only slightly tolerates my camera

Becky, another cousin, comes over in the morning. She's into horses and has a good sized ranch on the other side of Portland.  We promise to visit soon.
Jack, cousins Cindy & Becky, me, Peter

That afternoon we are back on I-5 taking the fastest, but least interesting, route homeward.  As we near Eugene, we start seeing cars flying U of O flags.  In fact, some cars have over-the-top decorations.  Apparently they are Duck fans on their way to a football game that day.  Turns out the Ducks lose that one, but it certainly wasn't due to a lack of ardent fans.
Car w U of O flags

Now that's a true Duck fan!

More football flags flying

Leaving the Willamette Valley

Passing Wolf Creek

Classic neat Oregon farm

Southern Oregon's beginning to look like California

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Retired and enjoying life.