Archive for October, 2015

Greetings, all.

I’m still here.

Or rather, I’m back again.

Two weeks or so ago we took an ambitious road trip in our little vintage sports car down into Washington state, where we joined an eclectic group of like-minded old-car people for a three-day road rally into parts unknown. (We received the navigation instructions and route book on the morning of the start – it was all a mystery as to where we were heading before we started.)

Well, my goodness. What an amazing three days that was. We went up into the mountains, and down into the badlands, and skirted four volcanoes, getting up close and personal with Mount St Helens, navigating the stunningly beautiful, intricately winding road up to the Spirit Lake viewpoint, well within the 198o “blast zone”. Back down the mountain, then along the incredible Columbia Gorge, and into the sagebrush-and-fossil-beds northern interior of Oregon.

We were moving much too fast to do much of what we saw credit. But it was wonderful. We hope to go back, this time at a more leisurely pace.

I don’t have very many pictures, as both cameras we brought along developed strange glitches, so I’m including only the tiniest sampling of our journey down below.

Back home now, and immediately into the Next Big Project (after the Great Roof Replacement of 2015) – building a new propagation greenhouse for our small plant nursery business. We’re racing the weather on this one, with just a few weeks left before the chance of snow. My daughter and I are almost finished pouring the concrete foundation (and we’re pretty proud of ourselves regarding this ambitious job, though both very sore in the muscle department right now) and we start on the framing this coming week, if all goes well. Hoping to be under glass (or, more accurately, glass-like polycarbonate panels) by snowfall.

Books. What have I been reading? Let’s see.

The Egg and I by Betty MacDonald, because we drove down the Olympic Peninsula on our way to the rally start in Tacoma, and I thought it would be fun to read something set in the region as my hotel room book. Terribly racist in pieces here and there, but I avert my eyes at those bits and embrace the rest with pure enjoyment. Still funny after the tenth (maybe more?) time around.

The Unlit Lamp, by Radclyffe Hall. Thank you to the person who recommended this – it definitely trumps The Well of Loneliness, though it’s equally as heart-rending. Maybe more so, because I actually liked the protagonist of this one. Mostly. Features a truly horrible father and a sweetly grasping vampire mother, whose parental misdemeanours put us firmly on the side of their hapless daughter.

Sarah Morris Remembers by D.E. Stevenson – went on something of a DES reading binge a little while ago, and determined to add a few more of her hard-to-find titles to my slowly growing collection. This one arrived all the way from Australia, and I’ve enjoyed it greatly, which is lovely, as it is one of the author’s last few books, some of which are decidedly sub-par. I was tempering my expectations, but it did not disappoint.

All the Day Long by Howard Spring – one of the few books I purchased in my travels – found in Hope, B.C.’s always rewarding Baker Books. It will be placed well up on my “best books of 2015” list – more later. Right up there with the other Spring book I discovered a year or so ago, The Houses in Between. Loved it just as much as the other.

What else…rather a hodgepodge of female-featuring fiction, these seem to be.

Peacock Feathers by Temple Bailey. Can we just call it a period piece and move quickly on? Not great. I may say more. I probably should, as Temple Bailey was something of a phenomenon in her time. We’ll see.

The Old Gray Homestead by Frances Parkinson Keyes. Her first book, published way back in 1919, and also a strongly dated period piece. I’m constantly wavering on Keyes. Her books always start out so well, and then she drops the ball. Or goes on for far too long. This one was quite tight, but full of goofy implausibilities. (I feel a scathing review a-brewing away.)

Bethel Merriday by Sinclair Lewis. Definitely off of this writer’s B-list, but even his B-list is pretty good reading. A cautious nod of mild approval. (Main Street it isn’t, though.)

Onward.

For those interested, here are a few glimpses of our journey.

Into the blue - leaving the mainland for Vancouver Island, end of the first day of our journey.

Into the blue – leaving the mainland for Vancouver Island, end of the first day of our journey. This was where camera number one started going weird – note the shadow running  through the image. It got much worse.

And on another ferry, leaving Victoria, B.C. for Port Angeles, Washington, on the car ferry Coho.

And on another ferry, leaving Victoria, B.C. for Port Angeles, Washington, on the car ferry Coho. (And yes, those clouds weren’t joking. Once landed, this was a top-up, peering through a misty windshield sort of day. But it got better!)

Random image from our 15 hours or so in Tacoma, Washington. We skipped out on the group dinner and walked down to the Tacoma Museum of Glass, stopping to admire the immense Chihuly glass sculptures along the bridge over the highway on our way to the harbour side.

Random image from our 15 hours or so in Tacoma, Washington. We skipped out on the group dinner and walked down to the Tacoma Museum of Glass, stopping to admire the immense Chihuly glass sculptures along the bridge over the highway on our way to the harbour side. Locals apparently call this one “the shishkabob”. It was massive, rather like a stack of pieces broken off an iceberg.

"Start your engines..." Here we are getting ready to set off on our rally. That's us, the little blue Spitfire hiding between the Beamer and the Bug.

“Start your engines…” Here we are getting ready to set off on our rally. That’s us, the little blue Spitfire hiding between the Beamer and the Bug.

Above Spirit Lake, Windy Ridge Lookout, Mt St Helens. It's hard to capture the impact of the scene in context with the surroundings. This looks like nothing more than a pretty alpine lake, but we're surrounded by ash and rock deposits, and the silver stumps of thousands upon thousand of trees destroyed in the 1980 volcanic eruption.

Above Spirit Lake, Windy Ridge Lookout, Mt St Helens. It’s hard to capture the impact of the scene without the context of the wider surroundings. This looks like nothing more than a pretty alpine lake, but we’re surrounded by ash and pumice deposits, and the silver stumps of thousands upon thousand of trees destroyed in the 1980 volcanic eruption. This used to be a flourishing green forest, and Spirit Lake was once 200 feet lower than it is now. The silver along the edge of the lake is not rocks, but the skeletons of massive trees, piled up like driftwood.

Chasing the sunset, coming through a section of the Columbia Gorge. We stopped to take a quick break just a few miles from our evening stop at The Dalles, Oregon.

Chasing the sunset, coming through a section of the Columbia Gorge. We stopped to take a quick break just a few miles from our evening stop at The Dalles, Oregon.

Into Oregon. Wind farms, wheat fields, and Mount Hood.

Into Oregon. Wind farms, wheat fields, and Mount Hood.

Fast forward another 500 miles and several days of travel - here we are more or less back in home country, at Spences Bridge, B.C. Only 5 more hours till home! Day number 8 in the tiny car, and we're pretty well ready to stop moving.

Fast forward another 600 + miles and several days of travel – here we are more or less back in home country, at Spences Bridge, B.C. Only 5 more hours till home! Day number 8 in the tiny, rough-riding car, and we’re pretty well ready to stop moving. Time to get back to all of the things we temporarily set aside. But it was grand.

 

 

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