Wednesday, August 3, 2016

I'm Still Alive.

I know it's been a couple weeks since my last article. Life has been very, very busy during this time. I spent about a day or so in Yucca Valley, visited Joshua Tree National Park, stopped in Cathedral City and spent about four and a half days in Los Angeles. In Cathedral City I visited my former wife, Cynthia, and still one of my good friends. In Los Angeles, I hung out with my son, Pete, and did some LA things with him.

Then it was on to Clovis, California for a family reunion and birthday celebrations for my former mother-in-law and two of my former brother-in-laws. We must have had over 50 people in town from all over the U.S. for the festivities. All of those events covered a week. I stayed and relaxed for two more weeks enjoying the California sun and the company of my former mother-in-law, BJ Gardner and one of my former brother-in-law's and his family. Then I was off and running again.

I trekked back over the El Tejon Pass (where I blew my engine last year) again into the Los Angeles and Orange County area. Once back in that area I've been through Irvine, Thousand Oaks, Santa Barbara, Ventura, Oxnard, Ojai, Mountain View, San Francisco and Eureka in California. In some of those places I was visiting friends from various facets of my life. I also camped for three days in a national forest in a box canyon where I had no Internet, cellular or text connection for three days without driving several miles into Ojai, California.

On my way north from San Francisco I stopped in Hopland, California where I stayed overnight at the Sho-Ka-Wah tribal casino. Then I went through the Redwood National Forest on my way up the California coast to Eureka where I obtained a new set of frames for my glasses at the Costco since my old set broke the night before. I also spent the night in the Costco parking lot with the manager's permission.

Upon leaving Eureka, I headed toward Crater Lake National Park in Oregon. I again stayed in a national forest for a night and then revisited Crater Lake. This year, the road was open all the way around the rim and there were many times more visitors than last year. I did meet some interesting people from New Jersey and another couple from Germany while trekking on the rim and taking more photos.

From Crater Lake I shot across Oregon to the coast and Coos Bay, where I passed through last year. I stayed overnight in the Walmart . . . with about 20 other RVers, vandwellers and cardwellers. From Coos Bay I made my way up to the coastal resort town of Newport, Oregon where I met up with a woman who worked for me in one of my businesses about 38 years ago. Since that time she has lived most of that time in Alaska. She returned to the Lower 48 just 13 months ago. She moved to Newport about a month after I had passed through Newport last year. I stayed in the Newport Walmart parking lot where I encountered the most overnight “parkers” of any Walmart or other similar retail establishments I've parked overnight at. There were probably more than 30 vehicles of a variety of descriptions. This included an interesting guy from Detroit with a similar professional background to mine and a German couple traveling around the world in their Fiat van.

Upon leaving Newport, I made a beeline over to a place called Keizer, a suburb of the Oregon state capital, Salem. There I met up with another nomadic woman traveler friend I originally met camping in the desert outside Quartzsite, Arizona last winter. (We are a network.) We had lunch at my “office on the road,” Panera Bread Cafe, and chatted about the things that had transpired in each of our lives since we camped in the desert last year.

From there, I took the route across the Willamette River to Newberg via the 9 vehicle Wheatland Ferry. It was a short ride, but different and only a couple bucks. My friend, Lois, who I had just had lunch with suggested that route. Once in Newberg, I followed my GPS directly to my old Air Force friend, Matt's, house (and firehouse) on the mountain overlooking the small city of Newberg, Oregon. This has been my location since a week ago, today, Wednesday.

Matt was in preparation for the upcoming 2016 Newberg “Old Fashioned Festival” of which he is on the planning and staff committee for and coordinates the Sunday antique fire engine show (next to the classic and antique car “cruise in”). Matt had much to do, so I pitched in and have had a very busy, enlightening, interesting and fun week. I participated in the Old Fashioned Festivities, enjoyed some fun food and events, assisted Matt when I could with preparing his own 1924 American La France antique fire engine for the show. This was the first time since he acquired the beauty and it was delivered on a trailer to his home and personal firehouse that he has been able to drive it off his property to the show about five miles to the show site.

There were a lot of other events and people to meet and things to learn during this week including last night going with Matt to a restaurant in nearby Milwaukee, Oregon to enjoy a bite to eat and listen to a bunch of older musicians jamming and singing Dixieland jazz and songs from the 20's, 30's and 40's. What fun and enjoyable people. Matt, who loves to sing, got up and did a number with the group that I video recorded for him.

On the way to the music venue, we stopped at a hospital in Portland where a friend of Matt's is recovering from some heart surgery and then suffered a stroke. He is doing well. Then another stop in downtown Portland to meet up with another of Matt's friends and business colleagues (Matt is a documentary film producer). His friend and I hit it off because we are both “sound men.” Glenn has done sound on several very popular TV shows over the years like “Northern Exposure” and the current popular show, “Grimm.”

So, I'm getting ready to depart Newberg, Oregon. I have a planned route heading east, however, due to some very disturbing news I received as I have been composing this article, I may be curtailing my plans and heading directly back to the east coast.

I have some other articles in the works, just not ready for publishing on the site, yet. But stay tuned, more hopefully, useful content is in the mill.

Remember to live free and be happy. EH

1 comment:

Lois said...

Great recap of your past few weeks, Ed. Sounds like quite the adventure! Glad you got to pack so much into such a short amount of time :D

I really enjoyed playing catch-up with you! Sorry to hear about your news, though and hoping all goes well on your trip to the east coast. Safe travels. my friend. Look forward to seeing you again one of these days.