Road Plans

Two more days and my sister and I am taking my camper, Rosie, on a long road trip of exploration into the Idaho Rockies. This will be my second venture into that northern state. The first trip was without Rosie, just sleeping and camping out of the back end of my truck and shell. My itinerary is roughly to drive from the Monterey Bay north on the Interstate 5 to within a couple of hundred miles of Portland, Oregon, and then cross the Oregon Cascades through the Three Sisters mountains, and camp near those mountains for a couple of days.

From Bend, Oregon, the plan is to drive north to Spokane, Washington, and then cross the border into Idaho and head further north to the edge of the Canadian border. A look around at some of the big lakes, such as Priest and Pend Oreille, then west into the Okanagan Valley, before a return slowly homeward through the Wallowas, the Yakima Indian nation, and the western art center of Toppenish. I plan to spend an afternoon in Prosser, a tiny farm town in which I lived when young, and an evening or two out on the banks of the Columbia River before a return home.

Google maps is telling me I have about a 3,000 mile journey ahead. I’m thinking about 15 to 18 days to get a good look at it all. I have been traveling to places in Oregon nearly every year for the last 20 or more, often to go windsurfing in the open sea or in the incomparable winds of the Columbia River Gorge. My body can no longer handle the severe punishment of windsurfing in high wind, but I miss the summer scenery of the Pacific northwest, so am hoping to capture some of it to digital memory, and and perhaps load up my website with some of the imagery.

Last summer’s road trip to Missouri was much fun, but a few of the long hard days of driving through flat and empty landscapes was vexing. Maybe I won’t be doing as many of these long distance road trips in the future as I had originally planned when I retired and purchased the camper. My bucket list doesn’t have that many items in it, but this business about driving around and viewing the raw beauty of nature is in it, and seems to never become satiated. The desire will always be with me, even when my energy runs too low or gas prices prohibit any further wanderlust.

Looking at some of the paintings of Edgar Payne, an early 20th century landscape painter, inspires me to bring along my big fat digital SLR camera that sits in a bag in the closet most of the year, so that I might capture some of the ruggedness of the mountains that he saw when exploring the American landscape over a hundred years ago.

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