August 01, 2010

Summer Road Trip - Driving to Bend

START: 0 miles, 7:11am.
I woke up several times during the night and checked my alarm clock.  I had moved it away from its normal position on the nightstand because my body knows the motion, all to well, to turn off the alarm. So well, in fact, I could do it in my sleep (hahahaha!) and today I can not afford to hit snooze. At 5:58am I groan. At 6:00am I turn off my alarm. Then I lay in bed for a few moments and observe the dream I had been having melts away, back into its camouflaged background of my mind, leaving all the worries and fears I was working out in my dream in there usual places.
After my usual morning routine and packing the car with the final things, Paul got up and we said goodbye. Damn, I miss him. Today I am driving from San Francisco to Bend, Oregon. This is my fourth time doing this drive in four months.
It was cold and the fog was especially thick. It continued this way for a long time, probably 50 miles. I crossed the Bay Bridge and continued on I-80.
Full force sunny day!

The sun did finally start to appear from the underbelly of the fog and eventually came out in full force. Morning sun is like no other. It is a fresh beginning that makes you feel like you get to try it all over, for the first time, again.

Past Davis, I got on highway 505. I like this road, it is flat and easy to drive and every time I have been on it, it has been pretty empty. But today, in the early morning sun, it was especially nice with fields of crops, including sunflowers, and rolling golden hills. Perhaps the greatest treat was the hot air balloons being launched next to the highway.

Eventually, 505 dumped me out onto I-5 and I continued north. I stopped for gas in Red Bluff. After some time I reached the Shasta Lake area. It is so beautiful here. The interstate stretches through mountains and along the lake. I can't imagine why more people don't live here, where it is so amazing.  Why do we spend so much time of the fringes, the fringes of land masses and cities? Why are we afraid to move in deeper? Is it jobs? Comforts?
Shasta Lake
I-5 continues through the mountains and I climb up in my little, dark purple Honda, then we go back down. Up and down again and again through these mountains around twists and turns and lakes and rocks.
Mount Shasta

Dry mountain
Continuing on, Mount Shasta appears out of nowhere. As I drive closer and closer it gets more and more majestic, looming over everything for miles and miles.
Dry mountains start to appear, such as this one. The landscape continues to get drier and drier the further north I go. I am also entering volcano-land. In the town of Weed (yes, I am sure there is someone giggling as they read this), under the shadow of Mount Shasta, I trade I-5 for Highway 97, which will take me into Oregon.

Although I love the lakes and mountains, I think the dry flatland and grasslands near the California/Oregon border are my favorite part of this drive.
Today it was especially nice because it was sunny with big blue skies and puffy white clouds, something we don't see too often in the summers in the Bay Area. Even my point-and-shoot camera captured the amazing skies.

The road heads into Oregon around a bend and though the Butte Valley Grasslands.
Shortly after entering Oregon on highway 97, you will encounter the town of Klamath Falls, the largest city since Redding (probably). I am always shocked to come upon Klamath Falls. The road goes past field after field for miles and then, a body of water appears with logs floating, shortly thereafter you stumble upon the city.
The city of Klamath Falls
After leaving Klamath Falls the road curves gently along Klamath Lake. They have been doing quite a bit of road construction along the lake and I am pleased to see that much of it is now completed. There is something about driving right along side this lake, as the Cascade Mountains are beginning to pop into view that really strikes something with me.
Klamath Lake
After Klamath Falls there are pine trees, LOTS of them, for miles and miles. At first they are nice.
Never-ending Pines
But then, I get tired of them. They go on forever. Nothing but pine trees and an occasional road sign. There aren't even any towns. I am getting sleepy. I change my iPod to play music I can sing to, which I do at the top of my lungs to keep me awake. I get to a small town, if you can call it that, but no coffee. I get to the town of Chemult, no coffee. I am getting desperate. I sing louder, I sit straighter, I even slap myself lightly. When I get to La Pine, I go to the first drive-through coffee place on the edge of town. I have stopped at this place before and they always have a trivia question. Last time the answer was pirouette, this time it is Chicago O'Hare. I get my coffee and drive to a side road where I get out and stretch my legs. Then I continue to Bend.

I am ahead of schedule getting to Bend, so I stop at the Old Mill District to use the bathroom and get a sandwich.  It is a Summer Saturday in Bend, which means that people will be floating down the Deschutes River, into another park near downtown. The Old Mill District seems to be where they start off.
Floating down the Deschutes River
This is one of the most amazing things about Bend. The Deschutes is already an amazing river, elegant and subtle. The fact that the people of Bend are celebrating their weekend summer day by floating down this river makes me glad that they are not taking it for granted. It looks like so much fun. Someday I will do it too.

I leave the Old Mill District and head northwest out of town for my bodywork session. There, I meet my bodyworker at her studio. I have been afraid of this, afraid that it will be intense. I know I have upper back pain that has been wearing me down for years and years. I can not take it anymore, no more, please no more. But also, breathing into my belly has been bringing about tears of emotion with no story. Strange and mysterious. Real muscle knots, when pressed deeply, will immediately make tears start rolling down my cheeks for no apparent reason and this has been going on for years. I am also afraid that I will visit this bodyworker and nothing will happen, I will be left just as puzzled and in pain as before.
As it turns out, this was not the case. She started her amazing work. She said, from how my body was responding, that maybe I should swim (funny, since I was just thinking about swimming a couple of days ago and how swimming really allows you complete freedom of movement). After a while she leaned her arm and elbow into my upper back and it felt like the weight of everything was bearing down on me. Not just a physical weight of a heavy burden, but a familiar feeling of when I have been asked to carry one more thing, one more responsibility, one more task, it feels like this in my back. It is so familiar and so pressing, it is the burden of a heavy load. Who gave me this load, I don't know, probably myself. Expecting too much, doing too much, being too harsh with myself. It is being pressed out of me, and I cry. When she is done, she advises that I should allow myself more fun and time to be silly and child-like. I agree, good thing I am starting out on my two week vacation.
I am exhausted, my head is screaming in sinus pain from going up and down the mountains. I drive to Rose and Stephen's house. We eat dinner. We hang out and Rose packs for the trip. They are good company and I liked getting to know them better, in person. Then the day is over.
Writing for me is like packing, you always think you need the extra stuff, so you pack it, only to find you have too much. So then, you have to unpack and decide more carefully exactly what is essential to take. I did not do this here, too tired, giving myself a break, a little bit.

San Francisco, CA to Bend, OR:

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  1. Okay, now start chanting:
    "I allow myself more fun and time to be silly and child-like".
    Rose DEFINITELY knows how to do both!

    To get her started, ask her what "FIGJAM" means!
    Enjoy, enjoy, enjoy,