Sunday, August 20, 2006

The Trip: Where I Dipped my Hat, Plus More

A couple of summers ago, pre-Twinkie, we flew to Boston, rented a camper van, and spent over a week driving around New England and visiting various friends. I bought a blue baseball cap in Maine, and it became a ritual for me to dip the hat into every ocean or lake or river we encountered.

This year, we left for our camping trip during a heat wave, and I started a travel journal with the idea of recording every body of water we jumped into. As the weather got cooler, I lost my focus and it evolved into general notes: some of the best meals we have, and questions that we wanted to research later, events and impressions and even sketches. Here are a few excerpts (with a shout-out to Badgerbag for the example of her diary-format posts):

7/22: Lake Sylvia. Just outside Mantesanto, WA. Nice swimming area, blazing hot day.
Astoria Aquatic Center: Indoor pool. Nice water slide, SLOW lazy river.

7/23: Beach at Cape Disappointment

7/24: Coffenberry Lake at Fort Stevens. Rented paddleboat, jumped out to keep MG company swimming in lake, she climbed back in but I couldn't! RW had to paddle back to the dock with me hanging onto the boat.
Drove and drove.
Stopped at Tillamook Cheese Factory, the Disneyland of Cheese.

7/25: Dipped toes in ocean. Very windy.
Drove and drove to Bandon: Mediocre fish taco, good ice cream.
MG looks like Jack Sparrow with 5 braids flying.

7/26: Hot chcolate and pop-tarts for breakfast!
RW read Ramona while I re-braided MG's hair. 8 braids this time.
Explored beach--strong winds & fog.
Vertiginous feeling of CA state line: can we really be so far from home and from everywhere familiar? It's 350 miles to SF, even.
Crescent City, CA has great playground near waterfront. Lots of Asian kids I thought, but now I think they were Native American, from the res nearby. Some at least were bilingual in a language I couldn't identify.
Chatted with mom from Gold Beach, OR. She drives her kid 1+ hours to Crescent City for swim team. She was reading a book from the library but stopped to help us with dinner recommendations. I really wanted to hear about her life there, I wonder and wonder what it's like to live in the little towns we drive through and she'd recently moved from Portland suburbs. But just then MG fell from monkey bars & hurt herself & I had to run.
Great burgers & ice cream at unprepossessing joint off 101, near Pizza Hut. Owner chatty and friendly, gave MG free postcard, recommended campsites, gave us a great map & told us about the lighthouse, all the while slagging environmentalists & Latinos ("It's Del NORT county, not Del Nor-tay. Or they'll think you're [hushed voice] Hispanic."). The sometimes-dirty bargain of tourism on both sides: we'll take friendliness/tips where we can get them; he'll take customers, ditto.
Camping by Jed Smith river. Stars, stars, stars.

7/27-7/30: The Secret Campground. Ocean.
While there: braided MG's hair with 16 braids while RW read aloud. Over an hour. I think I can do any number of braids as long as they're an exponential multiple of 2.

7/31: Back in Oregon. Stopped at Cave Junction, at the Info Center. The helpful ranger told RW *everything* and let her take over her computer to look up campsites!
Grants Pass: hot, strip malls, trafficky. RW says: "seething mass of nowhere."
Picknicking at little park outside Gold Hill, huge branch fell off tree overhanging picnic table and just missed RW. Freaky.
Shakes @ Phil's Frosties in Shady Cove. RW had a great blackberry shake; I got a fudge malted. MG thrilled to have own root beer float & refused us sips.
Wanted to visit caves but MG was asleep & so we kept driving instead.

Camping at Joseph Stuart Lake Park, near Prospect. Site right near playground! MG ran on own to play while I made dinner & RW set up van.
Campground is open & grassy, like a huge neighborhood park soccer field. huge RVs on either side of us. Peeked inside one & saw microwave--it looked just like a kitchen in a house.
Boys in tree couldn't get over the fact that I was cooking hot dogs over firepit: "What are you doing? Why??"
On other side: they brought a little plastic wading pool! A whole bunch of people on that side, from WA, OR, & Texas-- big family reunion. One woman called out to me: "You got my steak ready yet?"

8/1 Early Start. Had to drag MG away from playground. She made us promise to come back sometime.
Crater Lake! All day I was thinking we'd be able to go for a swim. But it turns out that it's not a swimming lake at all: over a mile from the crater edges down to the water, and the info woman said the water's sometimes 34 degrees. We stopped at lookout points. MG tried to be patient w/my fear of heights.
MG played in snow by the road.
Swam at beach near Diamond Lake resort. Cold breezy air; I had the shivers. Resort strangely empty; eerie feeling around it.


Blogger Jennifer (ponderosa) said...

Did you read anything about the tui chubs at Diamond Lake? They came as bait from Klamath Lake and took over the whole lake, so in early summer this year they paid people to fish -- catching tons and tons of fish by nets -- and then they poisoned the lake to get rid of the chub. It's like some kind of nightmare. But that would be why no one was there. Too much bad press locally : )

It's so interesting to read your reactions to your travels. My little family drove from Bend to Napa for a wedding, and I too was weirded out that from n. cali to la pine there's hardly any people.

9:33 PM  
Blogger elswhere said...

Wow, Jennifer, I didn't know that! That makes a lot of sense. We couldn't figure out how the resort was surviving if it was always that empty.

7:16 AM  
Blogger Elizabeth said...

Awesome. I want to go.

4:02 PM  
Anonymous SJ said...

Your travels are making me jellus! I know I could go, even with a toddler, but I am waiting until next summer. No diapers then, I hope!

8:06 AM  
Blogger WordsRock said...

I've been to the Tillamook Cheese Factory! I've not looked at cheese the same since.

Great adventures you've had. Makes me want to rent a camper and hit the road. :)

6:51 AM  
Anonymous badgermama said...

I notice the fish taco in there, heh!!!

5:08 PM  

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