Around the middle of June I had some time in the schedule, and cast about for something to do. I was reluctant to take two days off because this is the fat part of the year, and money made now will help during the Winter. I agonized over whether to take the time until I checked the last time I had two consecutive days off. March. I blocked off the days.
Now what to do. I’ve pretty much done everything I want to do for a while in the Portland metro area, and the coast, and the Gorge. I’ve always wanted to see the John Day Fossil Beds in eastern Oregon, but they’re 350 miles from home. It’s a bit of a drive, especially when I only had a couple of days off. I figured I’d make Bend in central Oregon my base and drive there after work. That would eat up 150 miles of the 350 and make the trip manageable.
It usually takes about 3 1/2 hours to drive to Bend. I left in the afternoon at 5; a bit later than I would have liked but nearly the entire drive would be through rural Oregon. But some parts of Oregon aren’t as rural as they used to be, and a four-way stop in the country with seemingly every car in the county trying to get through took some time. Then an accident on a two-lane road. I wasn’t too stressed. There was a baseball game on the radio, and I was on my way to a mini-vacation: I was looking forward to a couple of days of doing things I wanted to do for no reason but to see, do, and learn new things. I could get through the little tribulations.
South and east through Willamette valley farmland, then a short stretch of I-5 through Salem to pick up state highway 22. A good stretch of agriculture, then into the Cascades. Highway 22 doesn’t follow as direct a route through the mountains as US 20 further south, but I think it’s more fun to drive. There’s Lake Detroit, an impounded reservoir that’s a popular recreational area. Highway 22 joins US 22 before Santiam Pass at 4800 feet. I like this drive, and stress bled away with every mile. Just after the summit is Mt. Washington on the right, and then the long descent through the forest to the high desert.
By the time I made Sisters it was pushing 9 and getting dark. By happy coincidence there was a full moon on the Solstice. I tried for a picture:
A crappy picture, but I like the smeared paint effect. Hmmm. From the same spot, Broken Top and Three Sisters at twilight:
Bend around 9:30, and a welcome hotel room. The day had been long and I was tired. Recovery had to be quick: the meat of the trip was tomorrow.
Nag, Nag, Nag
On local radio stations a series of PSA’s have been running called ‘Just One Thing’. The thrust is that people (you) should do ‘just one thing’ to improve your life quality. Most of the spots are relatively inoffensive. Get out of the house, move around, and the like. But this Summer they crossed the line.
There is a spot talking about ice cream. An announcer acknowledges that ice cream is ‘a yummy way to cool down’, but that ice cream ‘comes with a carbon footprint’.
Back the truck up!
Stop. Just stop.
Ice cream is a treat. A luxury. Everyone knows this. Ice cream is fun. Sticking strictly to plan, the killjoys want to make people feel guilty about doing something fun.
No. I reject the premise and the attitude. Get stuffed.
The Best Kung-Fu Movie Ever
I lived in San Francisco a while ago. There were two Chinese TV channels on UHF (look it up, kids). On Saturday mornings one channel would show kung -fu movies. No subtitles, but you didn’t need any. You could generally follow the story (such as it was) from the acting and other cues, but you weren’t watching for subtlety of plot: you wanted to see kung-fu fighting, and lots of it.
Watch enough of those movies, and you’d notice motifs and conceits, as well as some passing acquaintance with Chinese culture (and it helped that I lived a few blocks from Chinatown). But above all they are fun to watch.
Last week Willamette Week ran a blurb under the ‘Things To Do’ section mentioning that the movie “The Eight Diagram Pole Fighter” would be playing at the Hollywood Theater on a day I had off. The blurb said that the movie was considered “The best kung-fu movie ever made.” Could not pass that up.