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Out West (part 2)

01 Sep

“Unexpected travel suggestions are dancing lessons from God” (Kurt Vonnegut), and so they seemed as my travel buddy and I looked at the atlas and plotted our route from one point of interest to another. We didn’t want to take the same way home as when we came. Besides, all the places we wanted to visit weren’t on the same highways. Although we knew our route going out, we didn’t know the way going back.

That was part of the adventure.

an old Rambler on the road in Wyoming (c2013, KB)

an old Rambler on the road in Wyoming (c2013, KB)

For a different slant on the journey, read Out West (part 1), written three days after I returned home, and two days after we learned something bad—something unexpected—happened while we were gone. That precipitated another journey, shorter than the first, yet another week gone from the comforts of my own bed, my own space. My thoughts were grim, and I knew it. So I added “part 1” to the post title, knowing I would come back around to a brighter perspective, and write more then.

“A keen sense of humor helps us to overlook the unbecoming, understand the unconventional, tolerate the unpleasant, overcome the unexpected, and outlast the unbearable” (Billy Graham).

As a kid, I tended to laugh when others didn’t. There were plenty of times when everyone else laughed but I didn’t get the joke, true. Still, what’s not funny about a German Shepherd casually peeing on the neighbor’s Christmas tree?

Well, yeah, there are packages and a mess to clean up, but the absurdity of the whole thing—the unexpectedness—is funny.

So is this:

This is for all the SF nerds (Don't tell me you can't see it!)  (c2013, KB)

Tooling along in northern Nevada, on our way to doom—DOOM, I tell you! (c2013, KB)

That’s for all my fellow SF nerds—don’t tell me you can’t see it!

And this cool/weird/funky site was photographed on our way west:

the Devil's Slide along I-84 in Utah (c2013, KB)

the Devil’s Slide along I-84 in Utah (c2013, KB)

There’s more than one Devil’s Slide, but these limestone outcroppings are in Utah, and you can see much cooler shots than mine on the Wiki page.

Speaking of Utah, below are shots of the salt flats at sunset, still two days away from home. I remember crossing the flats when I was a kid, and thinking they would never end. Perhaps adulthood has given a different perspective, or perhaps a camera, awesome light, and impending night removed that sense of forever.

speeding along, passing the speedway (c2013, KB)

speeding along, passing the speedway (c2013, KB)

Light and objects reflecting off not only standing water but a plain of salt, ruffled by the wind into imitations of ripples or small waves (c2013, KB)

light and objects reflecting off not only standing water but a plain of salt, ruffled by the wind into imitations of ripples or small waves (c2013, KB)

at a rest stop that obligingly provided a place to wash one's feet after wandering on the flats (c2013, KB)

at a rest stop that obligingly provided a place to wash one’s feet after wandering on the flats (c2013, KB)

A few days before the flats, however, we were in the mountains, visiting Crater Lake and environs.

rugged beauty (c2013, KB)

rugged beauty (c2013, KB)

Wizard Island (c2013, KB)

Wizard Island (c2013, KB)

On the way down the mountain, we passed Annie Falls.

And by “passed”, I mean we drove by it twice. It was a Griswald family vacation moment (“Look kids! Big Ben!”).

We could hear the falls, we just couldn’t see them.

But find them we did.

above Annie Falls (c2013, KB)

another photographer above Annie Falls (c2013, KB)

I cropped this photo to focus on the falls and not the surroundings (wishing for a different lens) (c2013, KB)

I cropped this photo to focus on the falls and not the surroundings, but the canyon is deep (c2013, KB)

Since the falls were so far down and surrounded by trees, I found camera fodder closer to hand:

manzanita—I didn't know how much I'd missed it until I saw it again (c2013, KB)

manzanita—I didn’t know how much I’d missed it until I saw it again (c2013, KB)

c2013, KB

c2013, KB

the moss is so green it almost looks unreal (c2013, KB)

seen by the naked eye, the moss is so green it almost looks unreal (c2013, KB)

c2013, KB

c2013, KB

In the first post about the trip, I said I’d likely never go back, but I could. I miss the mountains and the pines and the wide-open places. Maybe that’s why I feel restless going east, but curiously calm going west. An excited calm, y’know?

Doesn’t mean there’s nothing east that interests me, but maybe there’s a tug in my soul toward places I used to live growing up, toward places I read about with wonder when I was a kid.

I like my comforts, but I like—out there.

Were I alive when the West was still being explored, would I have traveled the Oregon Trail or the California Trail, or would I have only read about the exploits of others from my chair in a cozy sitting room east of the Mississippi?

I would hate to think I would miss all this:

Nebraska (c2013, KB)

Nebraska (c2013, KB)

northern Nevada (c2013, KB)

northern Nevada (c2013, KB)

northern Nevada (c2013, KB)

northern Nevada (c2013, KB)

eastern Oregon (c2013, KB)

eastern Oregon (c2013, KB)

Newport Beach, Oregon, and the Pacific Ocean (c2013, KB)

Newport Beach, Oregon, and the Pacific Ocean (c2013, KB)

Despite my grim prediction that I wouldn’t go back except to travel the Pacific Coast Highway, I just may have to open the atlas again and let God give me dancing lessons.

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