Thursday, March 31, 2011

Early April Fool's prank!

And nobody in particular was even responsible. Maybe the gremlins.

Driving down a curving road -- one that looked like spring again -- we heard a crash from the back of The Rattler.

In the spirit of springtime, a jar of spaghetti sauce had broken free of its restraints in the cupboard and made a break for freedom. Unfortunately, the floor was as far as it got.

A roadside stop for cleanup (where a convenient stream provided water, as if to pitch in and help us with our plight) and soon all was well. Back to the drive (or in my case, ride) and enjoying the fresh green scenery.

It's also been a day for making note of literary tradition, with many markers along the route observing Mark Twain and other American writers. Passing through Calaveras County, one town even has brass plaques in the sidewalk, commemorating the winner of each year's Jumping Frog Competition. Talk about making books come to life!

And look at what I plan to do with books during all of April!

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

And then winter again

After all that lovely warm weather we experienced, we now find ourselves immersed in 'winter camping'.

Many of the roads through the mountains are closed. The photo above shows us at our campsite, a place that had been shovelled nearly clear.

So much for spring at Lake Tahoe, but almost time for April.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Springtime in the mountains

We've been visiting a friend who lives in the mountains, not too far from Redding, California.

While we were there, she took us to a lovely nearby Buddhist temple (if I'm understanding correctly, it's one based in Tibetan tradition). Some of the statues and buildings were under construction for restoration, but the part that fascinated me the most was the 'powered' prayer wheels.

Being from a background of Roman Catholicism, I'd always understood prayer wheels as something like rosaries (those beads that are used to 'count' your prayers), but different in that you twirled them.

The Buddhists here in California have taken their prayer wheels to a new, high-tech level. The prayer scrolls inside are usually on paper -- as in the smaller, hand-spun ones, toward the bottom in the video below. But the large decorated wheels contain prayers on microfiche, so they hold (and offer) many more prayers than the smaller ones. And these large ones are powered by electricity, so except in case of a power failure, they're always turning out prayers on our behalf.

As with so many places I've visited, I've learned a lot at this spot. Still, just when you think it's springtime, look what happens.

video

Monday, March 28, 2011

Big trees


We've spent much of the last two-and-some days wandering around in the company of giant redwoods. About the only word that comes to mind is magnificent.

And really, when it comes to 'big', I'm not joking. Even The Rattler looks small in comparison. Still, I'm confident it will take us to our next destination.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Experiencing a 'C' change

The term 'sea change' refers to a shift of some kind, usually major. Today's been a day for several such changes, only I'm calling them 'C' changes.

For a start, we crossed the border from Oregon and entered California, so that was one 'C'.

Later, by some lucky fluke, our little tv managed to pick up C-SPAN, so I got to see Parliament in action, creating yet another 'C' change -- change from the current Conservative minority with the non-confidence vote which will lead to an election.

I stayed up late, watching as members of Parliament voted down 'the Harper government'. That's the phrase our pig-headed prime minister wanted to use instead of the more traditional 'the Canadian government' -- just one of the many signs of arrogance he displayed. Coupled with all the secrets regarding budget proposals, no wonder the government fell -- and on the charge of contempt. For those wanting further items regarding Steve and his party's misbehaviours, click here.

But if you'd rather simply find out where we're going next, try here.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Same ocean...

...here as there -- meaning in Japan.

The same waves that we admire here, near Cannon Beach in Oregon (I think actually at the lookout near Gearheart), belong to the same Pacific Ocean that recently wreaked such havoc on Japan. How ironic that the name Pacific should mean peaceful.

Folks around here at least understand the potential power of the sea. Tsunami procedures and evacuation routes are posted on signs all over the place, like this one, right next to the local skate bowl.

As we made our way down the highway, I found myself tensing up a bit each time I saw that we were entering another 'tsunami' zone. At first, I'd thought the image of the little person near the big wave meant it was a great place for surfing. Looking more closely, I saw it was actually a tiny person trying to get away from that giant wave.

A good reminder about the power of the sea.

And a good time to move on.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

On the road for Spring!

It's officially been spring for about half an hour, but the wind blowing in off the bay doesn't feel terribly springlike. Still, I'm not complaining. I'm toasty warm and happy.

We set out on our road trip last Tuesday, but spent much of Wednesday with our travelling home, 'The Rattler', up in the air. Because it was a matter of warranty, at least it didn't cost anything but time.

Two days at Harrison Hot Springs made our shoulders go down, especially the lolling about in the mineral pools there.

Crossing the border was a bit of a nightmare, but once we were across, things were smooth sailing. The photo at the top of this page was taken at one of our stops, Deception Pass in Washington state. The bridge is apparently 270 feet above the water -- in other words, a very l o n g way down.

Highway 20 led us to the ferry that brought us to Port Townsend, where we're camped about 30 feet from the shore. The big moon last night (apparently the closest the moon has been to earth in 18 years) was a sight to behold, coming up over the bay, a ball of orange.

The sounds here are wonderful, especially for sleeping: waves lapping the beach, a bell-buoy out on the bay, and today, of course, those blustery gusts announcing the arrival of spring. A great place for recharging our personal 'batteries' as it's time to set this journey into motion.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

On the road, sort of...


Well, this is the day we embarked on our North American road tour.

What with delays of one sort and another (thank you, VISA, for the boring tunes while I was on hold for what felt like all morning), we didn't make it very far today.

Still, with the weather misbehaving, we're just happy we aren't sleeping in a tent. Instead, we're cozy (and crazy as ever) in our travelling home on wheels (see two posts ago, scroll to bottom for a view of it).

Not a very exciting start, but nonetheless, a start. But if you want to follow along, click here. Onward!

Tuesday, March 08, 2011

100 years


Apparently, that's the anniversary we're celebrating this International Women's Day.

I'm prompted to write because I just saw a story element on tv that made me think of myself. A woman is remarking at the tragedy of a young woman (unmarried) having a baby, having that mean she'll not get a degree.

But that was my story: having a baby, then another (!) and then deciding, as a single parent, to go back to school. Couldn't have done it without the example (going back to school at 50) of an important woman in my life, my mother, Carole.

Saturday, March 05, 2011

A week for arts and crafts

The arts are finally starting to get some attention out here in the 'burbs where I live. This week saw the City of Surrey hosting a forum on the arts and heritage. As always, there were aspects of the invited participants that made it feel incomplete: almost nobody under 50, nearly everyone pale winter white (not at all representative of the multicultural mix that is Surrey), and the usual, self-congratulatory lip-service over 'exciting new plans'. Yeah.

Still, I'm glad the conversation's occurring. More of same in White Rock on Monday for anyone with an opinion who'd care to be heard.

On Thursday night, Semiahmoo Arts once again lived up to its name by offering a free event featuring more one kind of 'art'. There was a free-to-the public viewing of a new exhibition of photographic art and music from the Soul of the World Multicultural Choir, led by local singer Heidi McCurdy. The gallery was packed for this month's three-man show and, happily, a number of items sold.

As for the crafts part of the week, not what you might expect. Aside from a big report being released in the U.K. on crafts that have always fascinated me, UFOs, there's a landcraft currently sitting in our driveway, waiting for us to embark on our crazy North American Tour. Look out, Kansas -- we're comin' soon!