“But the love of wilderness is more than a hunger for what is always beyond reach; it is also an expression of loyalty to the Earth, the Earth which bores us and sustains us, the only Home we shall ever know, the only Paradise we ever need – if only we had the eyes to see. Original sin, the true original sin, is the blind destruction for the sake of greed of this natural Paradise which lies all around us – if only we were worthy of it.” ~ Edward Abbey ~ [Desert Solitaire]
We have finally left the heat behind, the urban noise and smells and smoke. Delirium almost it was, but we got it done. Meaning Old Faithful has again shocks which a ride like new."GP Suspension", as a couple years ago, is the best there is, and they have not asked me to say so! They have the incredible inventory, specially of Ohlins Shocks parts, they also make their own part, they even took me out to lunch. David and Ben, Ben and… almost sounds as a duo that should be making Ice Cream. Glad they do not and work on shocks! The service day coincided with the Century’s heat record breaking. I took the shocks off and the workout is felt today within this beat up body, but now sitting in the woods not too far from Mt Hood, off 26, free camping amongst the trees. The past sound of the waves is now gone, the cool wind has taken center stage.
I knew I was stalling a couple days ago while approaching Oregon City. Slowly, ever so slowly, increased traffic, homes, cities after cities, it all creped up on me. I could not ignore the facts any longer and all changed, inside out, it all changed as only now the calm of the present moments have resurfaced. And even here, when riding a one lane road sometimes paved, sometimes not, when it suddenly fell into highway 26 to Mt Hood, I started wondering if I had made a wrong turn and was back in Portland.
As I was lingering on the road to no end, this again was a couple days ago, I saw a sign, a home made sign in a yard, yes, one of those, of a mechanic working on VW’s, all in a German tone. My front brakes needed bleeding, I turned around, poor man, middle aged Josh, had his teeth pulled out that day. I was apologetic, as he was holding his chin, we compared notes with my own previous dental experiences and set up an early time for next morning.
It is the true amazing water color of “Little Crater”.
It was late, I remembered having seen one of those brown " county park" signs, never found it and stopped at a local Tavern for directions, south of Corvallis. Their menu was also appealing. For $8 I had the thought of not having to cook. When a menu has only one item per night, it has to be good. It was incredibly good. It was a Thursday, pork chops just right with a mountain of caramelized onions, crunchy and soft potato au gratin and the broccoli al dente amazed me. A local and his wife I was speaking with as both curious with our vehicle and Spirit, end up inviting us to camp on their property, the softest grass I have ever slept on, no cot needed.
Near Mt Hood, not myself friendly with organized campgrounds, since even more they are filled to the brim anyhow as the whole city of Portland has moved here for the weekend, another local again comes to the rescue directing us to this free space tucked in the woods. Forget the maps, forget it all, it is moving on with the instant connections as they remind me of the old times, times of maybe of past centuries I was not even around yet. When the travel depended on each other, on the villagers, on the offerings of a meal and conversations and not governed as today by some electronic GPS and fast and faster speeds. That is still around with some, one only needs to not just lower their windows while their engine are at idle, but shut it off and take the few steps forward toward a stranger, both physical and mental steps, as they might end up being your Friend of the moment.
As beautiful all is here, around within a few hundreds of miles, it is to me crowded. Populated. Hard to find that totally quiet space. A local did tell me however, and this is true everywhere as it is in Texas and a few others States for us, one needs to learn where to go and set up camp. To put it bluntly I do not enjoy the always, one in the crowd, noisy camper in a campground. "That one" will outdo them all, drunk, loud profanities, often in front of children, ear blasting and ear deafening music. I have experienced it unfortunately without a choice.
At the same time the safety of camping has changed. Camping in the lost wilderness which is becoming a rare commodity. It is not only my opinion. It is literally of everyone I have spoken with. Unsupervised, there is a "now" apprehension on BLM or National Forest Lands, for more reasons than one. We deal with it either by staying in camp or trying to find that quiet campground, hosted and now half price for us.
So maybe I have to stop reading “Desert Solitaire” which is taking me too often back to my favorite Deserts… The Cascades, the roads, the scenery, all is just too justifiable to be here. Mt Hood, ski and snow boarding slopes in the middle of summer, Timberline Lodge, Little Crater Lake, Mc Kenzie Pass, the town of Sisters and more, all worthy of us being here. The Desert is just another flavor, it happens to be my favorite one, it opens up my soul like no other does. This flavor maintains it.
Be well, it is your choice.
Ara & Spirit
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