“Home” is not the right direction for me. This start to go wrong in a hurry. I was homesick, once, the first time I went to Summer Camp as a young girl; it hasn’t happened since. However it was time. Heat is also not the right direction for me. It feels so good at first, like the old sun soaking days, sprawled on a beach towel at the Santa Monica or Venice beach, or out by the pool covered in baby oil with a dab of zinc oxide on the nose trying to see how brown (i.e. tan) we could go. Okay, sure we did a lot of things ‘wrong’ back in the ‘60s but it was fun. If I’d had a large bath full of cool water with a few floating toys in the back of the van maybe it’d help? Nevertheless I headed inland (again) spending the night at the Corvallis fairground. It was my 4th visit, the first time, some 10 years ago I’d been determined to move to Corvallis, I’d loved it. Yet each succeeding visit was like steel wood, removing its luster in my eyes. This visit was the worse. Public parks posted, “No DOGS” Jeesh! What is a park for? Tons of traffic. Heat. Run down neighborhoods. Specified Dog Parks that cannot be located. I finally did find a place to walk, on-leash. But then there was my accommodations; the shower was free but pathetic, spewing a bit of luke-warm water aimlessly for about 30 sec with each press of the button. Not one hook or platform to put your towel or clothes on to spare them a spraying. No trash container provided, laundry machines locked up—I had a spill and really really needed them! Blazing lights at night, of course; the stench of burned meat and caustic charcoal ( a no-no for a vegetarian,) the screaming of children, the thunder of the long-stay resident’s trucks  early and late, and then at 8 a.m. the City Tree Trimmers… And I had to PAY for that! So much for Corvallis, I decided it would be a long time, maybe never before I tried a 5th visit.

I headed to Eugene to buy a new pair of jeans; mine had been ruined by the “caustic spill.” It was rainy that morning so I’d flipped on the defroster. The LT began making a sound. It was whooshing, clicking off and on and off and on. Was the engine going to blow? A explosion would put an end to my homegoing. Stuck on I-5 in sweltering heat with two little dogs that depending upon me for everything. Oh Great. Could you see me carrying a dog under each elbow, a bag of dog food slung around my neck, my hair and clothes wetted down (and not rung out)…I’d be okay til they dried.

Eugene was bizarre. I did find a new pair of jeans at Marshals and slipped them on in the van. There was a pile of green fluid on the pavement. I checked the GPS and sure enough there was an RV repair shop very close. Spent the next 45 min being led in a wild goose chase in ever increasing circles down convoluted roads with college kids begging at every corner. “Can I have some money for a toaster,” one would cry, another wanted a piece of pizza for dinner, a camp-stove. What sort of bizarre world was this? Why weren’t these kids in class? Was this a collegiate hazing, a new course on begging in the streets? They were dressed better than me and were young and healthy. Why were they doing this? Since the LT hadn’t blown up yet I headed for the highway.

I turned the defroster off; heat was beginning to rise. I kept driving until I reached Ashland. Certainly normalcy would reign among the theatrical and their patrons. The city had grown. I found a nice RV park about 10 min from the city. Crowded but next to a river. Drove back to Ashland to find my dogs were not welcome in any of the great city parks. No mater, we walked along the shops and restaurants. I was so hungry my stomach hurt until I was nauseous. There was a smattering of outdoor seating but the prices stopped me. And there was more begging. This time the beggars looked like actors—young good looking ones and rather crazed made-up ones. Had a cold dinner of corn chips, a handful of nuts and a cookie back in the RV Park. Well, I’d try for a nice breakfast, I thought. Wrong. Never got that far, spent an hour searching for the dog park. No city parks would allow dogs, not even the “nature park.” We walked on the sidewalks around the greenery sadly looking in.

No, it’s not you Southern Oregon, it was me. Another time..another day. Grant’s Pass, Josephine, Smith River, Rouge River….  later when the thermometer is back to normal.

Thank you for visiting Oregon... I'll missya

I forged to California, with antsy dogs and a growling belly. Oh goodbye Oregon, Hello California. Ergo the nice welcoming sign at the first rest stop: No Dogs Allowed On The Grass. And did I say it was HOT! The woman in the air conditioned information center took a bit of pity on me. I wanted to come inside and see what they offered. “You can’t bring your dogs in here!!!” You’d think they carried bombs, dog bombs. I asked why, “we had a dog come in here and do its business right there on the carpet! WE had to clean it up!” You can come in if you carry them. I’m not fooling or making this up. It’s like 100 + outside and I’m not about to leave my pals in the LT to roast. No shade of course. No one else was inside the info building, they all had dogs and could read the not welcome sign. The nice lady finally hobbled over with her cane, when I asked her to hand me a map. “Here I’ll hold your dogs and you go in and sign our visitors book. That was the price for the map. I snuck a few other free brochures while my dogs were nervously looking in the window and the nice lady was getting worried about being out in the heat.

I failed to see my cousin in Ashland, I failed to see my friend Faith in Redding. I simply wanted out. I wanted cool. I wanted sane. I was very tired, dirty, overheated, worried about the dogs, the LT and anxious to start repairing the growing pile of little broken things. I decided to take a look at Weaverville. I’d fingered it many times on the map. My dad once told me to move there after he recovered from the shock of hearing that I wanted a small town to be my home; he lived in Oakland or was it Benicia at the time. I couldn’t imagine how he’d ever heard of Weaverville but since I’d written off Ashland, and that’d been another piece of my past with Alan and an old longing to live there which was now gone, I had to check out Weaverville. It was a longer curvier drive than I’d expected. And it was hot, I was absolutely certain that my dad suggesting such a place meant he hated me. Why send me to such an isolated woebegone brume? Fine, there was no fog, but seemed like a good word. It was actually sorta cute in a patriotic sorta way. Tons of flags, was this a holiday that I had missed? Maybe it was Flag Day? Of course there was no RV Park and I didn’t  want to stay anyway. But it was cute. Maybe Dad didn’t hate me? Okay, next was Hayfork, I’d seen it on Google and had looked at homes for sale in Realtor.com. It wasn’t too far from Faith who is probably wondering why I didn’t come see her and get some advice and nice drink and a meal… so sorry Faith! I’ll make it up to you–if I kept going from there I’d reach the coast and cool air!!!!

I did a check on my GPS. It didn’t like that direction for going home, but it wasn’t far. Here’s my advice—even if it’s early in the morning and you are up for an adventure, don’t take Hwy 3!  Maybe on a motorcycle with a cooler full of sandwiches and cold drinks. Not ever, not even for one moment try this in an RV. Don’t ever do this after a full day of driving, being exhausted, hungry, thirsty, tried, hot, with nervous dogs and an RV of uncertain conditions. You have to be crazy as a loon! Well wait a minute now, take a look at some of these You-Tubes! Wow, I want a motorcycle!!! I want to do this on a bike!  The day I was there, I saw maybe 8 or 9 beat up cars, a few big-tire trucks and a handful of bikes. They don’t show you the washed out sections of road, the continual hairpin turns, the steep grades up and steeper grades down. The one lane rutted sections. The nearness of the edge, the wind, the desolation.

So there I am worrying the LT will overheat, the dogs are clinging to their perch and looking somewhat green. Both Olympia and Mason were wedged together between the door handle and the window crouching and Mommy is hightailing it like a wootsy cow loving cowgirl trying to beat the dusk before complete darkness falls. Talk about a bumpy ride!!!

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