To No Cal, So WA and back again

Now that I’ve been on the road for a bit, here are a few pictures of my travels so far through some of Northern California and southern Washington State. I’m currently in Salem, Oregon. There’s been a family emergency which is why I’m back in Salem, but the dust is beginning to settle and I’ll be back on the road soon.
It’s been a few months since I took these first few pictures but I wanted to share them with you anyway.
This first is Mt. Hood, just outside of Portland, Oregon. Beautiful, isn’t it?

These next few were taken in Springfield, Oregon. Yes, that Springfield! The Simpson’s Springfield.

Now on to my current venture. But first, I want to say that my goals at the moment are to visit with friends and family. At some point I’ll be heading to the National Parks and such, but right now I want to see my peeps!
So, heading south from Salem I made a rest stop in Cottage Grove, Oregon. I love the old parts of any town so I headed straight there. There were some great murals and tributes to some of the movies that had been shot there, from The General, starring Buster Keaton to Animal House!

Next stop, Yreka, California.
This is what I call a ‘back of the motorbike’ shot… even though I wasn’t on a motorbike. I came up with that name when I was in Viet Nam and took a lot of pictures from the backs of many motorbikes but now I use it for any image taken on the road. They’re always wonky because I’m watching the road! But I like ’em anyway. This one was taken while driving south into California.

As I crossed over from Oregon into California I started crying like crazy. Crying for joy! I don’t think I realized how much I’ve been missing my home state.

I wish the distant image was clearer. It was so beautiful. There was layer upon layer of mountains fading off into the distance.

“Downtown” Yreka.
So, from Yreka I drove south to Redding to visit a friend….forgetting to take any pictures, then I drove further south to Sacramento to visit another friend……forgetting to take any pictures, then I drove to Oakland to visit another few friends……forgetting to take any pictures. Honestly, though, I’m fine with that. I don’t go to visit friends to take pictures of them. I go to enjoy my time with them (and I really did!). My friends are in my heart and on my mind and that’s good enough for me. I did, however take a couple pictures in Oakland. Just a couple.

Oakland Bay and the Port of Oakland.

Heading back north, I stopped in Petaluma. I don’t know anyone there, but I’ve always liked the old downtown area.

They’ve really made the riverfront an inviting, funky place to be.

Moving on to… a place I won’t name. It’s my favorite tiny beach town on the planet. I stayed a couple days. I feel so at home there. I love it.

A few shots along the way, close to the coast (you can click on each picture to get a better view).

California Dreamin’ I tell ya.
I stopped in Pt. Reyes to visit a friend…. whose picture I didn’t take. Here are a few pics from the area. I had a really great time.

After a brief stop in Salem, I continued on up to Vancouver, Washington to visit my son and his family. We had such a nice time together. We went to the “Crypto Zoo!” It was a free exhibit in Portland of, um, animals? Make-believe animals. It was fanciful and colorful and fun. An artist named Mike Bennett does these exhibits just to share with people and spread a little joy. Kinda cool, huh?

Oh, I did get one photo of someone – my son, Paul nearly being eaten by a cryptid.

Thankfully, he escaped.

Little story:
There’s this thing that’s been happening with Clementine (which is my van, in case you haven’t read my last post) that I thought needed looking into. When I drove at a relatively high speed – starting at around 40mph and over – and needed to make a sudden stop, the engine would continue revving at the high speed I was just driving at. It wouldn’t drop down into an idle.
So, since I’m in the town where my favorite mechanic is located, I brought the van in to the shop. He inspected it and told me he thought it was a faulty brakelight switch (I think that’s what he called it). This switch informs the engine that the van is braking. The brakes work fine, but the engine wasn’t getting the message that I was braking so it continued at the speed it had been going. I okayed the work to be done which he said would take one day. So I waited and then waited some more and increasingly nervously waited even more to hear back from him so I could come in and pick up the van. By the end of the work day I still hadn’t heard from him.
Now, I trust this guy thoroughly. He does very good work and is honest with me. But, since I hadn’t heard from him all day, I thought he’d found some huge problem with the van (as has happened repeatedly since I bought the thing) and, well, queue the Psycho music. My brain went into overdrive (somewhat like the van had been doing) and I started imagining that the transmission was nearly dead or some new, major, ridiculously expensive problem was found and I may be at the end of my travels. At least in this particular beast. “So now what do I do?” “I’m not going to put thousands more into this thing.” “But then what? Do I just fly to Chile and hope for the best?” (still not a bad option). My brain wouldn’t shut up. I did not sleep well that night.
I called him the next morning as soon as the shop opened and asked what’s up. ¿Que pasa, mi amigo? He said he didn’t have a chance the previous afternoon to test drive the van and he wanted to do so that morning to be sure the problem was fixed. My sigh of relief could be heard throughout the entire central valley of western Oregon (I never exaggerate, what are you talking about?). I can’t begin to tell you how relieved I was and am.
So, after all my self-inflicted mental tumult, Clem and I will be back on the road soon.
Oh, happy day.

Nighttime in Vancouver.

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