At least that was the plan. Now, this morning it’s decision time: Ramble on or stop somewhere to write..
My 2,500 word essay is as of yet incomplete. I am thinking that I may need to hole up and finish, leaving portions of this trip – Eureka and Hwy 101 through the redwoods and Hwy 1 along the Coast – for the next Ramble.
Yesterday was – well, I don’t have appropriate adjectives to describe it. I refuse to call it awesome, though it was. Trite word, that one.
I am drawn to landscapes, the larger, more expansive, the better. Although Oregon has way too many people, I love the stately trees sprinkled through and surrounding large grasslands, the fields of sheep, and beautiful rivers with their dense riparian foliage. The mountains are clad in evergreens and hardwoods, unlike our sagebrush covered Southern Idaho vistas.
The town of Jacksonville, where Marie’s parents lived in a large home that’s now a bed and breakfast (The McCully House) is charming. My friend Maggie (used to be Longhurst, now Cole) and her husband live in a beautiful home looking over the rich countryside.- grapes, apples, pears, and increasingly, hemp, are grown there.
Maggie’s father and mine worked at the Hopland Field Station. We lived across highway 101 from each other. She was a senior, I was a freshman, when she drove me to school and back every day in her little red Datsun. We used to stop at A&W Drive In for a Teen Burger now and then. I hadn’t seen her since she graduated. Great visit, Maggie and Jim! Thank you!
Driving down I-5, I passed mop up operations for a fairly large fire and I was reminded of the sobering reality that if you live out here you will sooner or later deal with fire. In recent years, fires have ravaged communities I love. There are probably few greater heroes than the women and men who battle them.
I stayed last night with a dear friend from my years of advocating for the best interests of rural communities, Sylvia Milligan. She’s an Energizer Bunny of a woman. For a number of years we both were. We’ve probably mellowed some – I, more than her. She’s still like a dog with a USFS-shaped bone on the Travel Management Plan and the way it’s being used here to limit public access to federal lands. There’s still plenty of fight in her, much to the frustration of many forest supervisors and the Regional Forester, Randy Moore. We talked a lot about that stuff.
This morning I plan to sit on the deck looking out over the Redding area with a great friend and a good cup of coffee. Last night we talked about the Carr Fire and how the fire-nadoes just leveled huge swathes of the city. It’s easy to imagine it happening again. Lord, I hope not.
Overall, after two days on the road, I am filled with love, admiration, and respect for the people, places, and accomplishments of the West. I count myself blessed to be doing this trip. Thanks for coming along.
Now, about that decision. I vacillate. I guess you’ll find out what I did tomorrow.