Our family drives a lot.  There are many reasons for this.  The most obvious reason is that we live far from family.  For many that means lots of flying, for some it simply means never seeing family, for us it means lots of driving.  It means lots of driving because flying is very expensive for 6 people.  Oh, and flying is also evil.  It’s scary and unnatural and very high up off of the comfortably solid ground.  I like being on solid ground whenever humanly possibly.  Whenever I’m in an airplane several thousand feet above the ground I tend to contemplate how very solid the ground is as opposed to flying cans of Aquanet airplanes.  And also flying is really expensive.  And ever since an Amtrak employee told everyone who wondered why the train had been stopped for several hours for no clear reason that they should just stop complaining and write to their congressmen because it was their fault, I’ve  been less fond of train travel in general also.

My whole point there is that we actually quite enjoy travelling.  We don’t enjoy the many hours spent on our bums.  And we don’t enjoy some of the gas station bathrooms we’ve had the umm… distinct… privelege of making use of.  But we enjoy seeing the country.  We enjoy staying with family and friends along the way and we really enjoy audiobooks.  For real.

This last trip we spent almost one whole day of driving listening to The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy.  We laughed so hard we had to rewind it a couple of times.  My eight year old has memorized his favorite line from the book.  After the earth is destroyed and Arthur Dent is saved he is searching his emotions for how he feels deep down about the loss of his home planet.

“England no longer existed. He’d got that — somehow he’d got it. He tried again. America, he thought, has gone. He couldn’t grasp it. He decided to start smaller again. New York has gone. No reaction. He’d never seriously believed it existed anyway. The dollar, he thought, had sunk for ever. Slight tremor there. Every Bogart movie has been wiped, he said to himself, and that gave him a nasty knock. McDonalds, he thought. There is no longer any such thing as a McDonald’s hamburger.

He passed out. When he came round a second later he found he was sobbing for his mother.”

But I digress.  This trip will undoubtedly go down in the family annals as one of the reasons our children became Sci. Fi. afficionados.

Every time we go on a road trip I try to take pictures along the way.  Because my family is in California we have taken this particular route several times.  Here are some of the many sites (along with my batty commentaries) that we pass by as we whiz across the highways heading home in both directions.

This we saw in California, where incidentally I, for the first time ever, discovered that some people put up election lights on their house, spelling out their candidate’s name.  Oh, yes, they do.  It’s true. And they also carve timeless truths into hillsides with their riding mowers.

cross hill

Ever since I was a child I have always loved driving over the Altamont Pass because of all of the windmills.  I love windmills.  I love that they are great for the environment and I love it that they look like art.

windmills lens flare

windmill hills



Everytime we make this drive I love going past these groves of trees.  Please tell me I’m not the only one who hasn’t always loved staring  down the geometrically perfect rows.  I like looking forward and seeing perfectly straight lines, sideways — more straight lines, backwards — more straight lines of trees.  I have no idea why but I love farmers for thinking so geometrically.  Farmers!  Do you hear that?  I love you people.  Thank you for your beautiful rows of produce, not only for its rich bounty but because it’s wonderfully trance-inducing.  I try to keep my hubby, the main driver, from focusing on anything very trance-inducing while he’s driving.

more pretty tree rows

tree rows water color

spooky trees 3

They have a spooky beauty don’t they.  This grove of trees is near Pasco, Washington I think… I think it’s actually still on the Oregon side but I honestly can’t remember.  I’m usually in a tree trance so I don’t know where I am at the time.

spooky trees tunnel

Doesn’t this one make you want to faint?

spooky tree tunnel 2

Moooo-mmy…  (that’s the eerily calm voice of a little boy who is being slowly sucked into the vortex at the end of that row of trees.)  No, I’m not disturbed at all.

They are kind of fun on a slow shudder speed too because the light at the ends of every row of trees that rushes by while the shutter is opened combines to make one single light.

tree tunnel 2

This might just be my favorite picture of the batch.  Even it is Photoshopped to death in the color department to get this effect.  I likes it very much.

flaming trees

And then there is the Columbia Gorge.  It’s Gorgeous.  For real people.  Well, it’s gorgeous except for this type of thing.

smashed semi

Yikes.  Very humbling

Sadly, every time we have managed to drive through the Gorge I have been unable to get a picture of the beautiful Multnomah Falls.  Some day we will actually stop there but usually we just don’t have that kind of time to kill.

columbia gorge9

columbia gorge8

columbia gorge7

columbia gorge6

columbia gorge5

columbia gorge3

Oregon is such a place of exquisitely rugged beauty.  I try to imagine the thoughts of Lewis and Clark as they rounded each bend of that enormous river.

columbia gorge2

columbia gorge1

And lastly there is this little patch of heaven somewhere near Idaho (or maybe just into it.)  There are lots of little patches of heaven in Idaho if you want to know the truth.  Beautiful country down there.

nearing idaho2

And that’s all I got for ya tonight.  I just stayed up later than I planned doing this.  I was supposed to be going to bed to snuggle into bed with Crime & Punishment.  Man, there’s a book completely unlike Hithhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy if there ever was one.

6 thoughts on “Travels

  1. Wow..those are beautiful! Thanks so much for sharing! What a great idea as well to bring books on tape! Too bad we never travel. But I have gotten some for the girls to listen to at bedtime from the library! 🙂

    Greta’s last blog post..Annie Continued

  2. We just came from that area in Oregon. We had a lot of fun. Are the rock wall pictures from the Washington side of the Columbia? Where in Idaho did you take that picture? It sure isn’t around here? Must be in the north. Great pictures! I will have to get Peter to stop next time. All of my pictures were in a fast moving car.

    Ruth’s last blog post..Inspiration, or lack thereof

  3. There’s some delicious irony in having a photo of a ruined car in a post telling people how evil flying is.

    Statistically car crashes kill about 400x as many people each year as flying does. Addiction to the automobile is one of the primary reasons that there’s a higher death rate in the suburbs than either in cities with a crime problem, or places like Israel during times of terrorism.

    Dave’s last blog post..To add to your Christmas list

  4. LOL Leave it to Dave to be the voice of reason! ;^P Don’t worry, I’m completely aware that it’s an irrational fear!

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