Wednesday, October 17, 2012

The Soundtrack of Our Lives---Part Three

The house we rented near Bend, Oregon was really large, sleeping 10 easily, with an upstairs that we hardly used and two bedrooms downstairs.  It had a really nice kitchen in which we prepared many meals and a large living room with a wood stove for heat in case it was needed, which it wasn't, although the morning temperatures were in the 30s on all the days we were there.  Our two dogs, Bo and Bushy, had another playmate as our daughter brought her dog, Kiwi, which is our grand dog.  Kiwi is a Lhasa Apse, white with long flowing hair.  When she is laying very still, she looks like a little girl when you look down upon her.  Laura and Michael and Kiwi were with us there for four nights.  We explored the area together, going out to Paulina Falls and hiking the path to the overlook and then down to the floor of the forest where the falls lands.  We went into Bend and had drinks and snacks at the Deschutes Brewery which is the oldest microbrewery in Bend.  We drove down to Crater Lake and looked at it from every possible angle before returning and having a special dinner for Michael to celebrate his birthday (which is actually yesterday as I write this but we were not going to be with him so we wanted to celebrate early.)  Michael was very good at getting a fire to start in the outdoor fire pit and we cooked hot dogs and s'mores one night and sat outside and admired the stars above us.  After four days, we had to tell them goodbye as they left to return to their home in Washington state.

Doris and I and Bo and Bushy then set out for San Francisco.  It was quite a drive from Bend to the Bay Area so we broke it up with an overnight stay in Redding, CA.  We drove from Bend to the quaint town of Sisters and then over MacKensie Pass, which has a large volcanic field as you approach the summit from the east and a massive forest as you drive down the western side.  There were huge black boulders of volcanic rock everywhere and no trees on the eastern side.  There were trees everywhere on the western side, forming a canopy of trees over the highway.  The MacKensie River flows through the area between MacKensie Pass and the city of Eugene.  It is wide in most places and flows adjacent to the highway.  We drove through the scenic farmlands with produce stands here and there.  Doris took naps off and on as we drove along and I listened to NPR to stay focused on the highway.  I could have taken a nap too but someone had to drive and it seemed like I was nominated.

When we reached Eugene, we got on I-5 going south toward Redding.  We still had a lot of Oregon to go through and quite a bit of California before our destination.  We had not had lunch but kept putting off finding a picnic spot, thinking none were to our liking when we looked at them while driving down the interstate.  We finally got off at a gas station to fill up again, our last time in Oregon.  That is another thing about Oregon which is very odd.  They do not allow you to put in your own gas.  They and New Jersey (I was told by a gas attendant) are the only states in the union that forbid drivers from putting gas in their own cars.  Each time we bought gas in Oregon a gas attendant would come out and take my credit card and stick it in the gas pump (as I do many times each month) and then put the gas in the car and then give me my receipt that the pump printed out.  One time they actually washed the windshield as they did back in the 60s but most of the time that is all they did for us.  I never knew why they have that law in Oregon.  Is it because they do not trust their citizens to put gas in their cars?  Is it because people need jobs and that creates jobs in places where they are none in other states?  Is it because someone sued the state of Oregon over an accident at a gas station so they decided no one could pump their own gas?  I do not know but it feels very strange to allow another person to fool around with my car when I can do what they do just as well as they can.

We reached Redding just after dark and were ready for rest.  There is not anything very special about Redding although you can go to Lassen Volcanic National Park from there, according to signs we saw.  We did not, but we did pass Mt. Shasta again and I took some really great pictures of it just before sunset, giving it a rather pinkish glow.  We started out again for San Francisco the next morning and passed large groves of trees on which olives and pistachio nuts grew.  They must grow more nuts in California than anywhere in the world.  We saw massive groves of nut trees of many kinds.  We saw huge groves of olive trees too.  How great it is that California has such a great climate and fertile fields.  They really do supply the nation with much of its produce.

We passed Sacramento and took the highway that led to San Jose (Do you know the way to San Jose?  We do...the GPS led us right there.)  We did not go all the way to San Jose though because we were going instead to a little town called Sunol where a place called "Happiness Country Kennels"exists.  We had called ahead and made reservations for Bo and Bushy to spend two nights there while we toured San Francisco.  The webpage for the place looked great and I talked to a person on the phone from home before we left and they sounded nice but how do you know if a place is reputable just by talking on the phone?  Giving up our dogs to these strangers was a matter of trust.  So, we found Sunol and the kennel and took our little ones in there.  Bushy is never fond of going to the kennel and she begins to shake uncontrollably when she enters the door.  Bo just looks around here and there as if to size up the joint.  The woman behind the desk was all business, which bothered Doris.  She shushed us when we were telling her about our dogs and that made Doris a bit peeved.  I told Doris later that it was a cultural difference.  Texans tend to talk on and on and Californians are not as loquacious as we are.  Anyway, we soon left our canine cargo in the care of the kennel staff after taking them back and inspecting their quarters.  It was all clean and neat and the people receiving them seemed very caring.  So, Bushy and Bo were locked away in their little home away from home for two days and we were off to explore the City by the Bay.

Okay, I cannot finish it now, so look for more to come.    

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