K.L is a neuroscientist, educator, geocacher, Unitarian-Universalist, amateur violinist, and parent. She has always been fascinated by how people’s brains learn, and especially why this process is easier and more fun for some brains than others. This led her to get a PhD in Neuroscience, work in biotech, and then become a science educator and writer. She is from the San Francisco Bay Area.
Most people seem to know these houses because they were in a show that I never watched. I found out about them through geocaching. My family and I went into San Francisco for New Year’s Day and one of our first stops was this virtual geocache.
Virtual caches are a special kind of geocache that doesn’t involve finding an actual container. Instead, you go to the coordinates posted on the site and answer some questions about what you find there, and maybe post a picture of yourself at the location.
Virtual caches are often located next to famous landmarks, and can be useful in helping you get to know a new place, or when planning a sightseeing route while traveling.
In this case, the cache site was in Alamo Square Park, across from the houses but affording a good view (Alamo Square Park is also, I learned, the place where the family in the show I never watched had a picnic in the opening credits).
At that location, the doors were not particularly visible, so I had to get closer for this challenge. This meant I had to explain to my family about Thursday Doors. Fortunately, they’re used to weird mom things like that.
It was a beautiful September day outside in San Jose, though a little warm. I had a few hours to kill before Leanne Cole’s plane came in from Australia. We planned to meet up at Starbucks. I was so excited to finally meet her in person.
I stayed at the Hilton next to the McEnery Convention Center in downtown San Jose. It was less than a half mile so I walked to the Tech Museum of Innovation. but it was closed for remodeling.
Dang! It was closed for remodeling. Sounds like my house.
Almost across the street near the San Jose State University campus on 110 S. Market Street sat the San Jose Museum of Art. It cost $8.00 admission for a senior, which I thought was pretty expensive, but I love museums, so I paid and walked in.
I walked over to Radio Man’s glass case and stared at him trying to convince myself that this was really an art museum. I had just passed the blue room, which was just a room with a room-sized box lit with a blue light. hmmm.
“First of all, art does not HAVE to make sense,” Radio Man instructed me.
“You just don’t want to analyze how beautiful and artistic I am. You’re a lazy aficionado,” he continued.
I looked down and shuffled my feet. I wanted to turn away, but Mom always taught me to compliment people – no matter what. I stood there staring at his shoes and duck beak hands.
“OK, ok! You are shiny. I’ll give you that!”
“I had braces as a child.”
“You need to try Invisalign. Your bite is off.”
“What do you know? Most people like my smile.”
“Looks more like a grit to me.”
“A grit? It’s a smile. Don’t I have pretty eyelashes?”
I am not usually mean to robots. What’s the use? I moved on, nodding that I liked its eyelashes.
The narrow road through the stout trees should have alerted us that the final challenge would narrow down ever further.
Sure enough. It did. Such a narrow passage, we had to fold in our mirrors.
If you are planning a trip to the Redwoods, the Northern California or Southern Oregon coast, you might be interested in more pictures of our road trip three years ago. To read about our Accidental Vacation click any of the links below. What started as a disaster ended up to be one of our favorite trips.
California mountain road contain numerous “hogbacks” as my friend, Darlene, calls the switchbacks on the way to Sequoia National Park. It turns out that those same kinds of roads exist on the Coastal Redwood Highway as well. This park called Mystery Trees was about where our truck’s worn out transmission tired of lugging our new trailer. We rented a car and enjoyed the “break.” Not only did the roads and the paths twist and turn, so did the trees, providing beauty and shade. When we did get going again, the fog wanted us to slow down more than the zigzags. These zigzags are closer to home – to anyone’s home. I never tire of the zigzag shapes of tree branches. These trees are in an educational property called Circle J Ranch owned by Tulare County Office of Education where I worked. It is close to a tiny town called Springville, east of Porterville, CA.
I apologize for the quality of this picture. I heard that someone zig zagged on their responsibilities to posterity, and put the archives in the trash instead of the scanning machine, so this is the best picture I have. In this newspaper picture it was the Kaweah (Kuh wee’ uh) River that zagged.
The headwaters for the Kaweah River begin their zig zag course out of the Great Western Divide where mountain summits rise to over 12, 000 feet. The North Fork, which is just east of us begins at 9,000 feet. If the river could go down the mountain in a straight line, the Kaweah River would drop in excess of 2 vertical miles in a distance of 30 linear miles. The Kaweah River loses the same altitude as the Colorado River, but is 97% shorter. It is the steepest river in the United States. Even with a dam to control flooding, in 1969 the water zig zagged its own way into the Woodlake Valley. (Tilchen, Mark. Floods of the Kaweah)
To see more entries for this Zig Zag challenge, click the icon above. 🙂
The rich element of wood surrounded us as we drove north on Interstate Five towards Oregon. The abundance of evergreens that grows in Oregon starts here in the northern part of California near Mt. Lassen.
Besides the Sequoia Redwoods that grow a few miles east of Woodlake, the Redwoods offered tree displays that exist nowhere else in the world.
Once logged, only imagination limits what wood will become.
Wood protects our heads from Oregon moisture while at the same time moves us to tears.
Families build memories at tables made of wood. Myrtle wood grows only in Southern Oregon and Israel. We stopped at the North Bend Myrtlewood Factory to see the array of Myrtlewood products.
I hope you enjoyed this post, and it didn’t seem too wooden to you. 🙂 Thanks Cee for the inspiration. To see more entries, click the icon above.
This was my first full year of retirement. All my life I dreamed of traveling when I retired, and certainly God granted my every wish. When I didn’t get travel, Manny did, so I have many wonderful pictures and memories for 2013.
On January 5th Manny and I headed south in my little green Prius that has 192,000 miles on it to San Diego where we met the History Girls. We met Russel Ray, the San Salvador, and the bronze lady. We faced peril in the Railroad Museum, and had to keep Manny under control in the Botanical Gardens.
Later in January I attended a committee meeting in Berkeley and had time to walk around the neighborhood and take pictures.
I went to Los Angeles to visit my friend Elane in February and so some shopping and serious eating. I probably visited my dentist, Dr. Moy, as well.
In March California Council for the Social Studies (CCSS) held its annual conference, Social Studies on the March in Burlingame in celebration of the 50th Anniversary of the Marches in Birmingham.
The next week the History Girls and I celebrated our friendship in Costa Mesa attending the play “Wicked,” which I had wanted to see forever.
April is the month for the Executive Conference for CCSS. As the President, I got to pick the place, and Vince prepared our house to host it here. However, that didn’t work out for too many people, so we it moved to Los Angeles to the location where our conference will be held in 2014 at the Sheraton.
By May our neighbors wondered if I still lived here. I visited my friend Elane again in Los Angeles.
My friend Jean and I went to San Francisco to celebrate her birthday for a couple of days and did walking tours.
Towards the end of the month Vince and I took Cindy and Manny to Kauai, HI for her birthday. The dogs watched our homes, and Kay and Mike East watched them.
We arrive home from Hawaii on June 3, and believe it or not, we stayed home until September 11, and rested up for the remainder of the year which made us dizzy.
Since we stayed home, we sent Manny to visit Ralph in July.
In August he left Ralph’s home in Spain, and traveled to London with Ute.
From September through November he went with Carol and Glenn to Cologne, Bruges, Brussels, Frankfurt, Tasmania, Toowoomba, Waterloo, and Wuerzburg. I’ll be doing lots of posts about these trips during the year. I just need to learn a little bit more about them, and Manny is being rather tight-lipped about the events of the trip! Carol tells me they have some secrets they’re not telling me. 🙂
Then he flew home with their daughter Melissa, who was going to Florida. She sent him home from there. His bags arrived in December from Australia. He had fun showing us all his stuff.
By September Vince and I contracted the travel bug, and went to Oregon to pick up the best Ebay bargain trailer on the market in Southern Oregon. We turned it into our accidental vacation when our truck broke down in Klamath, CA.
Manny was still on the road, so he missed my next trip. A week after Vince and I got back from our first trailer trip, I took a train from Sacramento to Portland, Oregon to attend the Oregon Council for the Social Studies annual conference, and to meet my brother.
After the conference my brother took the train ride of our lives going first to Chicago, then to South Bend and Indianapolis, IN for a week.
After a short jaunt to Louisville, KY, I headed home on a plane to CA, and my brother took the long way home by train back to Portland.
Almost immediately I had to go to a dental appointment, and stayed in Santa Monica, an took the opportunity to visit our President-Elect, Amanda.
No sooner than I got home than my house-bound husband wanted to take a trailer trip to the coast for two weeks. We stayed a week, then he went home for some appointments. I stayed in Avila by myself to write my contribution to 2013 NaNoWriMo, Girls on Fire. A few days later he drove back and picked the trailer and me up and carried us back home.
Less than two weeks after that, I flew St. Louis, MO to the 2013 National Council for the Social Studies Conference.
Manny and I arrived home about the same day, him from Australia via Florida and me from MO. It was my husband’s birthday, and one week later the three of us got back on a plane heading for Honolulu, HI, where we spent a week in Waikiki.
We have been home eighteen days, and today we took a day trip to the coast to celebrate our friend, Margaret’s birthday, but I think we are going to stay home for a while now.
At least until morning. 🙂
I’d love to hear about your highlights from the year?
Layers conjures all kinds of images for me. As a gal from the Midwest, I learned to dress in layers, but layers envelops us at even more basic levels than that. These pictures all came from our Accidental Vacation to the Oregon Coast then down the northern California Coast.
For example, here is an example of the air we breathe. When we can see it, we can tell it comes in layers. The more layers you see, the less you see what’s behind the layers. In this case, a hillside obscured by layers.
Trees grow layer after layer, year after year. When we harvest the tree, we shave layers off it to shape it into a form that pleases us. Then we add layers of protective coating to it so that it stays beautiful forever. If we add too many layers of even clear varnish, we lose the beauty, and it can chip as it becomes brittle.
This next picture has so many layers that it distorts the picture. Layers do distort. This next picture has so many layers that I can’t even count them all. Maybe you can.
How many layers did you count, and what were they?
The debate continued for over 100 miles assisted by cell phone research.
HowmuchfarthertoClearlake?What’s the ETA? What about Willits? I’d almost like to drive all the way home, but I’m uncomfortable towing the trailer in the rain.”
As usual Vince asked Marsha several questions, so she managed to answer all of them, just not at the same time. “The ETA to Willits is 5:40. OK, let me figure Clearlake.” A few clicks using the navigation app brought up the mileage and the estimated time of arrival quickly. Marsha liked Vince’s new iPhone 5. “And the ETA to Clearlake is 7:05. I think you could make it to Clearlake, then it would be an easy drive home tomorrow.”
Marsha was not pulling the trailer up the mountain, through the trees, and around all the curves. The most she was doing was keeping the dog company, and snapping a few pictures. “You know, I’m ready to stop. I think we’ll go to Willits.”
In the past, the general rule was to drive till you get there, don’t stop to look at the historic markers, just plow on through. Vince could almost feel himself changing as he pulled the trailer every mile. He pulled over frequently to let long strings of traffic pass by. They stopped at vistas. This was a different way of travel than driving by car to go see someone.
“That’s fine. There’s a KOA there, and we should be there in an hour.” Marsha was not opposed to stopping either. They had been on the road five hours already, and would travel a little over 200 miles altogether that day. Considering the late start they had, that was not a bad goal.
There was a full-fledged petting zoo, trailer spaces with spas, wifi, two ponds, one of which was for sport fishing. You had to throw the fish back once you caught them.
The large heated pool was busy as they drove into the office at 6:15.
After they registered and set up, Marsha explored taking a hike up a large hill to the path into the redwood forest on the property, but when it started to drizzle, she and Puppy Girl returned to the campsite full of news.
After a brief visit with the neighbor, and a few minutes to watch the weather on TV, Vince said, “I think I want to spend another night here. I just want to relax tomorrow.”
Marsha could see that they would have plenty to do. There was miniature golf, a little western town, each building set up with it’s own entertainment.
“Sure, that sounds like fun,” she agreed. It was settled. Vince went over and registered another night.
The next day they woke up to light rain.
After a leisurely breakfast at the Lumberjack Restaurant, they headed out for a drive. “I want to see what the road to Clearlake is like,” Vince told his wife. It rained off and on the entire way, winding through the trees to the last town in the Redwoods before the mountains turned into foothills, and quickly into the flat, Central Valley that went on for 450 miles.
“I’m glad we didn’t try to do this today,” Vince told Marsha. It’s supposed to be sunny tomorrow, and I know we can get home.” They turned around and drove back to Willits, and spent the rest of the day enjoying all that the RV park had to offer.
They might go home tomorrow. Would Vince be able to resist the call of his house for one more day? Was Puppy Girl anxious to get home? Would they EVEN leave the next day?
Why wait to find out? The adventurers had a great time at the Willits Campground, but aren’t you anxious to get home at the end of your trip? They drove the whole way the next day, got home to find a huge tree limb blown over in the driveway. Nothing was damaged, so not even a downed tree limb could dampen their spirits. They had a great Accidental Vacation. Thanks for reading. 🙂
The next few days Vince and Marsha spend sight-seeing around Klamath.
Of course they drove to Crescent City to check on the truck. Locals in the service department directed them to drive through a neighborhood into a state park called Stout Grove.
“There’s a lot of traffic here for such an out-of-the-way place,” Vince commented.
Marsha wanted to jump out and take pictures in spite of the traffic. Everyone was doing the same thing, so they just traded places in line.
“This goes on for a long time. I hope they have restrooms somewhere,” Marsha wasn’t ready to dive into the big trees, but it was a concern.
They finally got to the end of the road. No parking places, but there was a restroom at the top of a little knoll. Someone pulled out of a spot, and Vince slid in, and headed for the restroom. Marsha took the dog for a little hike near the signs that said, no dogs on the trails.
“You’re not going to take your dog down there on the trail are you?” a stranger asked her.
“No, I read the signs.”
“I think you are the only one.”
Marsha imagined all kinds of reason that she wouldn’t want to take her dog on the trail that said, ”No dogs on the trails.” There might be bears. There might be mountain lions. There might be ticks. The other dogs on the trails looked big. Marsha and Puppy Girl got back in the car. Vince joined them, and said, “Let’s go. You don’t want to go up there.”
It was amazing how quickly they got out of the Stout Trees.
They even found the lost Concrete Bear Bridge to nowhere. It had flooded out many years before. Looking at how low the water was, Marsha couldn’t imagine how it would ever have reached the height of the bridge, but there really was nothing left of the bridge but a barrier and a sign telling the history of the flood.
Later, they drove through the construction zone over the Hwy 101 Golden Bear Bridge going south then turned right and went on the opposite side of mouth of the Klamath River.
Looking at it from another direction, they realized that the river forked around a little island just before it reached the ocean, or at least that’s what it looked like.
Another day they drove through a single tree – a must do if you have six days to spend in Klamath.
By Friday, they had all their laundry done, and by 12:00 they had their truck, they loaded up their trailer and took off for home.
“I wonder if I could drive all the way home,” Vince mused
It started raining little spatters in Orick, where they had seen the elk lunging beside the road. By Eureka, it was a downpour. Lunch at Applebees while the rain had time to stop sounded like a good idea. Besides everyone else was stopping there, too.
“If I can drive through that, I can drive through anything, right? Windy, narrow roads, rain, big trees, fast trucks, I am the champion, right?” Vince hesitated as he bragged.
“I had no problem writing in my journal when I used a mechanical pencil,” she grumbled to Vince. “So I couldn’t find my pencil, and I quit writing. I didn’t write anything yesterday, or maybe it was day three. What have we been doing since we got here? I remember the Trees of Mystery. I’ve lost track.”
Since he had nothing better to do for the moment, no lawn to mow, no sprinklers to fix, no chores of any kind, Vince sat down with Marsha and they started sorting through the hundreds of pictures in all of their cameras. “OK, that’s enough for now,” he said, jumping off the kitchen bench seat across from Marsha. “You’d better hurry if you are going with me. Doyouwanttogo?Iwanttoleave here by 6:15 this morning so I can get to the car dealer by 6:45.” Vince took a breath.
“Yes, I want to go.” Marsha rushed to answer the last question she heard.
Vince continued. “The dealer opens at 7:30, and maybe somebody will come to work early. I want to be the first one there. Then I’ll take you to Starbucks and you can use the internet there. You haven’t written anything in your journal for five days! What happened? You can stay here if you want to work on your journal.”
“No,” she answered quickly. “It’s ok, I wrote some of it online. But now I’m mixed up. Is it Monday? I’m not used to being on vacation and being so out of touch!”
“You know it’s getting late. Are you going to take a shower? You’re burning daylight,” Vince prodded his wife gently away from her computer.
Marsha now understood what her dad had said to her 30 years before when he told her that she made him tired with all her bustling around, and couldn’t she just sit still for a minute and talk to him. It was all making sense. She was almost over her cold, but felt she was still moving at half speed, and Vince was still moving full speed ahead. She just wanted him to slow down for a second. It was 5:30 in the morning and he had already had HIS coffee and cereal.
By 6:15, as planned, they were on the road in their red rental car, winding their way back to Crescent City to see what might be wrong with the truck. While they waited in the parking lot of the GMC dealer, Vince alternated between pacing the lot, and checking his emails on his cell phone. It was nice to have cellular service. He barked a few orders of who to call and email to Marsha. He wanted to make sure that things ran smoothly back home.
“Vincie, it’s only 6:45 a.m. Hang loose a bit. I’ll call them when the sun comes up. Why don’t you go walk around a bit?” Marsha knew he was antsy. In all of her many years in education, she still hadn’t learned how to gracefully take orders and be Vince’s unpaid secretary. She didn’t mind working for free doing community work, but somehow it annoyed her when he thought he was her community. She had tried to train him for years until now he just mimicked her, “Isn’t there a better way to say that?”
Well anyone listening or looking at him would know he was a little pressure cooker. At five feet four inches tall, his 139 pound muscular build and tense shoulders told the tale that he never stopped moving. If there was nothing to do, he adjusted. It was time for him to make an adjustment somewhere besides inside the car. People had started to arrive, so he bounced out of the car and introduced himself. Men loved him. He carried himself like a mover and a shaker. His demeanor stated, “I am here to get this done. How do you think we can get this moving?”
Time passed quickly for Marsha too since she had internet and cell service. Vince kindly let her answer all her business emails, and by the time they had breakfast and got back to the trailer to leave for the day’s adventures it was 9:00.
Daylight was well on it’s way, and it was beautiful. The bright blue sky and 75 degree temperatures couldn’t have been lovelier. The couple drove south to Eureka to check out the road and cancel the other nights at the KOA they had booked. The attendant was kind enough to only charge a small cancellation fee, and they were on their way, but to where, they weren’t sure. There was so much to see in Eureka.
First on the agenda was lunch. Vince had not eaten much since 5:00 a.m., and he wanted man food. That meant burgers. Marsha had YELPED restaurants all the way from Arcata, and the one that sounded best was Surfside Burgers on Highway 101, the main street, which was also named 5th Street as it ran through downtown Eureka. The weather was so beautiful that for that one day during the year they enjoyed sitting outside at a little table eating their burgers with 1/2 inch chunks of bacon smothered with two kinds of cheeses, tomato and lettuce.
As they ate, Vince poured through the tourist map he had picked up at the Eureka KOA. “There is so much here, but I think my brother said we should definitely see the Ferndale Cemetery. Want to check it out?” His brother, Jimmy, had gone to Humboldt State, and was an expert in all things Northern California.
“A cemetery? hmmm. Sure, let’s go. Why not? Cemeteries can be interesting.” It really didn’t take too much to keep Marsha entertained if there was blue sky and she had her camera along.
“This one is supposed to be famous, according to Jimmy,” Vince added.
“Wow, this cemetery has plots. Unlike my journal, which has no plot,” Marsha joked. Look how big the markers are! This is the size of Ralph!”
“You could put two Ralphs in here side by side, Marsha. Look at the inscription on this one. Did you hear that woman over there that said she found someone here born in 1799? Almost all the markers around here are from the 1800s”
Marsha was already in another world taking pictures of cracks in the walls, and lopsided head stones, dates, and moss on rocks. Vince took the dog and walked up the steep incline to the top of the cemetery. There was no point in calling down to Marsha. He knew she would never hear him. Vince wished she were up there so he could show her where to stand to get the best pictures, but he knew she would get irritated at him for telling her what to do.
“Sometimes,” he thought to himself, “I just can’t win with that woman. She wants my help, then she gets mad when I tell her what to do. Why can’t she just do it, and smile at me? That would be a lot easier. It’s a good thing I think she’s cute!” Vince knew his 61 year old wife was no traditional beauty, but there was something about her smile, WHEN she used it, that he couldn’t resist.
Knowing and doing were two different things. Marsha did eventually make it to the top. “Come right here, sweetie,” Vince held his hand behind him for her to grab as he led the way over to his chosen spot. “The view is great. Just point your camera out this way. See how you can get the ocean in the view?”
Judging from the look she gave him, he had been right. He should have kept his mouth shut. But obediently she turned to align herself to his body, and pointed the camera exactly as he told her, and snapped the picture. “Was that so hard?” he thought to himself.
Marsha grinned at him. She read his mind, and decided it was not worth it to make a big deal over his bossing her. The day was too perfect. She kissed him lightly on the cheek. “That was a perfect shot, honey. Thanks.”
As they left the cemetery, Marsha struck up a conversation with a gentleman placing flowers. It didn’t take long until they were engaged in a heated conversation about whether or not Southern Oregon and Northern California should become the 52nd state of the Union.
“This area was all set to become the state of Jefferson before World War II,” he informed her, assuming she knew nothing about history. These trees need to be managed, and the government just won’t let us do it. Ferndale is dying. There’s no industry here,” his ranting continued.
“Marsha, sweetie, we need to be going.” Vince saved her.
“It was nice to talk to you,” Marsha smiled sweetly even though she wanted to punch him in the teeth. Vince and Marsha headed toward the rental car.
“Ferndale is amazing. I love this place! It looks like it is still 1852 around here. Let’s take our time and take some pictures of the buildings,” Marsha wheedled.
She hadn’t needed to try hard. Vince enjoyed watching her have a great time, and he loved the architecture as well. If he had been thinking with his brain when he was in college, he would have become an architect.
Architecture was his first love, and he knew he would have been good at it, but other priorities called louder than college, and he had been a good salesman, too. As a bright young man, his hard work rapidly drove him to the top of the electronics company where he worked many years. His thoughts of college dissipated in the fast running money stream. He still enjoyed designing and redoing their home. He was glad that Marsha enjoyed the beauty of the buildings as much as he did.
Quickly the day slipped by, and the couple headed back to their temporary home base in Klamath at the Golden Bear RV Park.
As they drove, Vince spotted a herd of elk bathing in the river, and pulled over. Marsha jumped out of the car with about 20 other onlookers and captured the amazing views on her digital camera. Vince snapped a few shots with his cell phone.
“There is another herd about 10 miles up the road,” warned a driver coming from the south.
When they reached that spot, the elk crossed the highway as if it were a meadow in their private forest. Cars on both sides of the road stopped in the road, and everyone got out to take close up pictures of the racked celebrities. The elk seemed used to it, stopping to pose as they crossed the street, or lay in the grass having a leafy picnic. The effect was magical. Drivers became instant friends as they marveled at the large herd animals. Vince sat in the car worried that Marsha would be trampled.
Eventually a few cars inched forward around the herd, and soon the spell was broken, and Vince and Marsha headed down the road. Both accidental travelers were ready for a nap, and they still had to figure out how Marsha was going to conduct her meeting the next night with no internet or cellular service.
Like the fog lifting the in the morning sun, The Twilight Zone of optimism surrounding Vince began to burn off. With each telltale defeatist comment coming from Vince’s mouth Marsha’s opposing positive comments became more frequent. Vince relaxed and began to enjoy a real vacation. “They’re not going to start on the truck until Thursday. They have to get the part from Las Vegas. I bet they don’t even have the part. We won’t get out of here until Saturday.”
“That means we can settle back and enjoy this beautiful place,” Marsha answered naturally. She would miss the cheerful Vince, but normal Vince meant that HE was relaxing. “What do you want to do today?”
“I’m happy just hanging around here for a while. Look at these pictures I took this morning.” Vince took out his cell phone and shared some gorgeous sunrise pictures with fog clinging to the redwoods on the hill and sun sparkling on the Klamath River as it charged its way to the Pacific Ocean a half mile away. The fishing boats had either gone back to their winter homes or lay still in the docks. Water lapped rhythmically against their sides, a metronome for the chirping birds catching their breakfast.
Marsha couldn’t argue with the natural beauty that surrounded them. She and Puppy Girl made several rounds around the RV Park. The manager tanned from many years in the sun, and missing many teeth from years of neglect and poverty rode up on his bicycle to chat as the couple walked down to the dock, this time with Marsha carrying the camera.
“Have you been here before? People stay here for months at a time. You just missed the salmon run. It slammed! This couple here,” he pointed to a man maneuvering his boat toward the dock, “they’ve been fishing here for years. They are both retired police officers. Gil caught his first fish in 1957.”
Even a distance Marsha didn’t think Gil looked old enough to be catching fish in 1957, but she had her first and only fishing experience at age 9, so she supposed he might have started fishing at an early age. Soon his wife joined him. Marsha, sitting on the dock snapped pictures of her appropriate fishing boots as she approached.
“Take a picture of where I ran into a wire. It took forever to heal, but it’s almost gone now.” The attractive blond with a ranger hat modeled for Marsha’s camera.
“We’ve heard you are good at catching salmon. You just made two new best friends,” Marsha called down to her, flashing a beaming smile teasing, as the couple revved off in their utility boat. They waved back, and were gone.
“You two should go up to the lookout point, right over there on the north side of the Klamath,” the friendly manager offered his tour guide advice to the neophytes. “You can see the mouth of the river, and the jetty where all the fishermen just catch salmon from the dock. Then if you go across the Golden Bear Bridge, you can go up the other side. Those are nice drive. Have you been to the drive through tree? That makes a great picture.” He chatted for several minutes before his wife came and put him to work again.
Vince, tired of standing on the dock watching Marsha take pictures of the seaweed decorating the dock’s underbelly, headed back to the chairs that lined the shore. “I say we go to the Trees of Mystery that’s just down the road today,” he called as he left her sprawled face down camera pointed into the water. “Don’t drop your camera!”
Vince couldn’t believe his wife could be so klutzy. She had already dropped her camera, with its brand new lens on the ground when she took it off the tripod. She broke another lens trying to climb up on a wall and misjudged the step, smashing it on the rock wall. She didn’t even wear the watch he gave her since the last one had fallen in the toilet, and another smashed on a grocery cart. “I might lose it,’ she had told him batting her innocent looking blue eyes. He bet she didn’t even know where it was. It amazed him that she could wear clothes without some catastrophe. Her wedding ring sat on the table by her bed, having rubbed a finger sized bulge onto her finger. Earrings turned her ears green then red and oozing – if she didn’t lose them first. Necklaces with delicate chain links or clasps broke, and if there was any inexpensive jewel, it dropped off unnoticed by his unobservant wife.
“Come on, let’s go. You’ll find some more mossy stuff on the trees you can photograph.”
With child-like obedience Marsha rolled over and stood up to follow Vince as he strode away, confident that she would do just that. They left Puppy Girl at the trailer, and ventured out in the rental car to see the Trees of Mystery, a famous spot they would have missed if the truck hadn’t broken down. Paul Bunyan and Babe welcomed them, and directed them to pay at the gate and make themselves at home. “Take your time,” the ticket person said.
Just as Vince remembered from forty years before when he brought his three-year old son to see the trees, the Trees of Mystery didn’t disappoint.
In addition to the carved redwood statues, and ancient living giants, the Yurok Tribe had added a sky cab that escorted them to the top of the mountain, where even the tallest trees became tiny as they ascended. From there they could see over the mystery forest to the ocean.
Like gazing at the Grand Canyon, after seeing pictures of it for years, Vince and Marsha stared at the magnificent forest framed ocean view, posed for pictures, and then stepped back onto the moving sky cab to go down. “The trees are beautiful from up here. So is the ocean,” they both agreed as the cab descended, then stopped, then descended again. “It looks just like the pictures.”
“You have to be patient to take good pictures,” Vince told her like the father lecturing his 10 year-old daughter. Marsha let him walk on ahead and enjoy the walk back down at his own pace.
“Yeah, yeah, yeah. Like anyone can be patient with Mr. “We’re Burning Daylight Here” pushing all the time,” Marsha muttered as Vince raced down the path in front of her. Sometimes wanted to punch him, but that wouldn’t change his natural mothering tendency, nor was that her way. He still treated his grown son the same way. In 43 years Vince, Jr. had learned to tease his dad out of it. In twenty, Marsha still steamed quietly and went her own way.
Clear down out of sight, Vince called up to her, “Take my picture down here in the Cathedral Trees.” He spread his arms as if preaching to the multitudes, and beamed a happy face up to her. She snapped several pictures. “Was it the camera setting, or did Vince just move THAT fast? Maybe my camera broke,” Marsha thought as she checked each picture after she took it.
“You moved, Marsha. You ALWAYS move just as you snap the picture like you see something else you should take,” Vince instructed helpfully when she explained that she DIDN’T get the one picture or which he voluntarily posed. Maybe she would kill him in another life. It didn’t help that he was usually right.
After about two hours the tourists had taken every record shot, every sign. After a quick spin through the gift shop, Vince and Marsha headed back down the familiar section of Highway 101 to their new digs at The Golden Bear RV Park. No internet meant they would have to just sit outside and enjoy the healing sunshine. Marsha’s cold was melting away like ice on the hot pavement, but she could sure use an afternoon nap.
Is it a sin to take a nap when the weather outside is perfect, and be awake all night reading or writing?