The grand tour

by Jon Sullivan - 2023-11-04 - Travels

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The move to Oregon was supposed to include many regular road trips. It hasn't. But there was this one.

The eclipse last month was something I made a pretty big commitment to. It was going to be visible perfectly right over Eugene, and I'd been lazy for previous such events. This one I was going to do right. Unfortunately the weather reports predicted clouds would prevent anyone in the area from seeing it. And in fact clouds were predicted for every place in the eclipse path for hundreds of miles. But I'd committed. So the plan evolved to : camp somewhere in Eastern Oregon, pointed towards Elko NV, get up at 5am and reevaluate the weather situation, then drive like hell to try and find a guaranteed sunny spot by 8am. And since I'm out there camping I might as well make it a longer trip and swing through Northern CA for some tourist stuff.

This is the sort of epic road trip I assumed I'd be doing every weekend after moving here. Oregon is incredibly beautiful and photogenic. And road trips have always been one of my favorite ways to have a good life outside of video games. But..... I was tricked into developing a social life, and friends, and going to shows. The constant feeling I was insane was a huge distraction. And of course the lingering torpidity of living 20 years as a hermit. So the long trips turned out to be a rare treat rather than a lifestyle I'd planned. Which was fine.

Not that I've been lazy. There have been many adventures. Incredible times in credible times. But the point of the new car, and it's accompanying camping gear, was to fuel lots of 3-4 day trips far from my hobbit hole. Camping by mountain lakes, cooking on the coast. Long leisurely tours of my new home along with Washington and Northern CA. So while it was annoying I'd need to drive 1400 miles to see an eclipse that was also passing over my balcony, I was looking forward to the long trip. Push the car camping plan. Push myself. See what sort of on the road adventure this old fat idiot could still manage.

It turned out to be exactly what I needed. The Honda continues to exceed all expectations. Cooking out of the back of my car was a delight. Exploring Eastern Oregon was very good, in that I now know what a Trump-loving Confederate hell hole it is, and I never need to go back. Google's Maps AI failed, narrowly, in it's fledgling attempts to kill humans. And I got the rather boring photo of the eclipse I'd wanted. Mission accomplished. 1400 miles, passing Crater Lake, through Klamath Falls, racing the sunrise into Nevada down to Denio Junction and back, cooking shrimp scampi in a pasture, swinging by Mt Shasta, over to Redwoods NP, then up the coast for many baskets of fried seafood, and back home. Back to the hobbit hole.

I have stories. But I'll make another post for them. Today is mainly to stop being lazy about blog posts, and to celebrate not being too old and broken to still do this stuff. Yay for adventure! Yay for the grand tour! Yay for the courage to refuse growing old in comfort.

"I was surprised, as always, by how easy the act of leaving was, and how good it felt. The world was suddenly rich with possibility." - Jack Kerouac, On the Road

Today's photo - I must have been to Redwoods NP before, but I have no memory of going there. So I was really looking forward to wandering in the forest and getting some photos. But the day was very rainy and muddy. And I'd packed for standing by a tripod in the desert, not hiking in the rainy rain forest. So a day in the park turned into just driving through. But I couldn't leave with nothing. This is my one "keeper" from the park. The dynamic range was more than the human eye has evolved for. So this had to be an exposure stack. 3-4 separate shots to adjusted get the proper exposed lights and darks, to be combined in the computer. A common technique, but it requires setting up a tripod where mom told you never to stand and hoping you don't get run over. These sorts of "center line" road photos are a favorite theme of mine. And a perfect metaphor for the trip. The open road, stretching to infinity.

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