Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Travels With Zoë

I love to drive.  I love the freedom of the open road.  I love the people I can chat with as I stop to take a short break.  I love the changing scenery, the changing colors, the hum of the tires.  Every time I get into the car, I know there are adventures out there, just waiting for me to find.

I am so tired of driving.  Sounds crazy but I have been driving up and down the I-5 corridor every three weeks since August.  I live in northwest Oregon; my mother lives 30 miles east of Los Angeles.  And I have been trying to visit her often since she had a stroke June 1. I spent the first couple months down with her, but needed to come home to revisit my husband.  Family is like that, right?

Just another rest stop
So I have been driving down south, staying a week, and driving north again.  My pup, Zoë, goes with me.  Understand, Zoë really hates the car.  She hates riding, hates my music, and hates the idea of travel.  She gets carsick, poor thang.  So I have to give her Dramanine.  It stops the carsickness, but she does sit in her car pouch, glaring at me for the next 1000 miles.  We do have it down, though.  Rest stop: I get out and remind her I will be back.  I open the moonroof and lock up the car as I hurry to the restroom.  I usually have to hurry because I have put off stopping for a bit too long.  Then I return and Zoë is already ready to gt out, her little paws on the sides of the carpouch.  I buckle her into the leash and we take off.  She sniffs and wanders and visit with others and then pees, returns to the car and we are off!

This last trip south, I realized I was just tired of the whole thing.  I was tired that my mom had a stroke and is bedridden, her level of dementia increasing daily.  I am tired of being away from my fella for week or so at a time, sleeping on my sister's guest bed, trying to live a normal life for the duration.  I am tired of the same nothing landscape on the drive.  I am tired of California politics, voting commercials and, oh hell.  Just tired.  So I decided to pay new attention to the drive and revitalize the trip.

First thing I noticed was this crazy fog just north of Eugene, Oregon.  It was ground cover, but high ground cover.  I had noticed it on my last drive home, but thought it was smoke.  And here it was again.

As usual, Mt. Shasta was stunning.  It can sit right on the freeway, in your face.  My favorite rest stop if at Weed.  Don't know why it is my favorite, but it is.  Perhaps it is the green grass, the nice sidewalks, and a backdrop of Mt. Shasta. 

I love mountains almost as much as I love the ocean and lakes, but not quite.  Actually I love everything bits of nature that helps me see that my little problems are no match for the majesty of nature.

Near Colinga turn-off, there is a large area of hills that have this huge huge really huge fence.  It makes no sense to be there.  Was it a prison?  The fence didn't look like a stronghold.  Was it someone's property that they wanted others to stay out?  It really was out in the middle of nowhere, so that didn't make sense.  Zoë and I talked about this fenced area many times over a bottle of water and came up with nothing. 

The last time I drove, I had cell reception and called Doug to ask him.   He looked it up.  Nothing as sinister or heavy as I thought.  It is a paper recycle center and the fence is to keep the papers from flying out onto the freeway.

Driving home, I always stop by Aunt Ruth's in Bakersfield for a little visit.  Here she is with Zoë.  Aunt Ruth is my dad's twin sister; she is 94.  Zoë likes to stop there because she can get out of the car, wander in the backyard, and maybe Aunt Ruth will have a treat to sneak her.

Leaving Bakersfield heading up to I-5, I always pass orange groves.  They reminded me of the time my sister and I had been lost in the orange grove behind Uncle Lloyd's house in Redlands, California.  Now, we were told to not to wander into the grove, but did we listen?  I must have been maybe four or five years old.  Uncle Lloyd's house was so cool.  Classic Redland's bungalow with stone walls and a big porch.  They had a grand piano in their living room.  So cool.  I would slip under the piano and pretend to be asleep so I could hear the grownup chatter.  we were found, but it was scary to be lost so close to home. 

The final piece to this specific drive was the changing colors along the freeway in Oregon.  Such glorious reds and yellows among the evergreens.  Hard to take great shots with my cell phone at 75 MPH...

That's it until April.  I no longer drive south in the winter through the mountains nor through Sacramento and Tule Fog.  So I will be flying.  Without my travel companion, Zoë.  She misses me when I am gone; I miss her.  But she really really does hate the car (and we both hate those little bows that the she gets at the cleaners!).



Wilma NC said...

LOL. Or could it just be the name "Weed"? Long trips for sure. Love that view of Mt. Shasta,

Lynn W. said...

I enjoyed the ride. Thanks for letting us go along. It's so boring in so many places that mountains and beautiful vistas are more than welcome.

Abner Weed founded the town many years ago but my guess it's a pretty accurate one these days. It took quite a hit not long ago when it suffered through a big wildfire.122