Saturday, March 23, 2013

Redwoods/Oregon Coast Storm.My last trek

   After the debacle in San Fran. I was plodding along through Pt. Reyes State Park; while unsuccessfully looking for Ocean viewpoints, I lost my GPS signal and track of time, and was soon enveloped in utter black of night. The darkness and tree cover was ominous. I was glad to have fuel and making headway through. I slept that night outside a flower nursery. The next morning I found the main road, hugging the coastline. About 30 miles south of the Redwoods my car sputtered, my fuel gauge was broke and always read empty, this was bound to happen sometime. I had been winging it, fueling up whenever  it felt necessary. Luckily I had an extra gallon in my trunk for this very purpose.

   Upon entering the Redwoods there were no signs directing me to points of interest and I would have drove through and missed the whole 'she-bang' if not for a advertisement 'Trees of mystery, skylift' next right, I turned right and parked next to a museum with an 80 foot John Bunyan and massive blue ox infrastructure. It was pouring rain as I got out and as I was trudging through the pathways I saw various signs pointing out the significance of the trees: like 'the upside down tree that grew sideways, or 'nursery trees that contained limbs  new tree's were growing right out of; the 'Cathedral tree (a semicircle of redwoods growing next to ea. other) had a pulpit nearby and every year people got married. The skylift I went on was amazing. It was remarkable to me how high we were on the lift and how the redwoods were right next to you some odd 220 feet in the air. Unfortunately it was foggy that day and the viewing at the top was obscured.

     Upon leaving the Redwoods I hit US 1 up the Northern Cal coastline, rocky outcroppings cut away from the surf promenaded the scenic coastline. It was nightfall by the time I reached the Oregon border. I parked the car along side an overlook to catch a few hours of sleep. After grabbing coffee the next morning (the minit mart kind) but I took what I could. Any caffeine was better than none. The road ran basically right along high coastal cliffs. I drove the car right up to the cliff line got out and stumbled on a spectacular display. the sunrise was rising over the pacific ocean and I was soaking in its splendor; this moment is still embedded in my memory; coffee in hand, morning dew, crisp cold ocean air and the splendor of being bathed in the morning light. It another of those 'thin' moments where you feel a shrinking sense of the divine. I remember thinking how unclear my future was, yet being at perfect peace with it that morning. Upon leaving I heard the weather report from a newspaper: Winter Storms warning reported along the Oregon Coast, accumulations 2-5 inches, 10-15 higher elevations. Well I thought- Looks liek Crater Lake is off the trip. The ORT site said, only travel in emergencys, with food and water in your vehicle. Water, check, food, running low. Let's roll :)

     Well good thing I had all this experiance driving in snow. Upon dropping down from a potentially hazardous road, many cars were stranded on the roadside. Above 1000 feet, it was snowing pretty intensely, the storm was producing gusty winds combined with hail along the coast. I dropped down again and crawled along, hugging the coastline to avoid the serious snowfall. The hail and wind  beat against my car as well as the crash of the surf a few feet away. It was vaguely unsettling. Nearing Coos bay, the snow really started to fall. It was falling so thickly I couldn't see anything my wipers were in full roar and visibility completely obscured. I popped the window down and stuck my head out just to catch a glimpse of where I was on the road and that my destination wasn't  some dark abyss to the ocean. I welcomed the sight of cars up ahead cause I could make out where the road was. After a painful hour or so of slow going I reached  Coos Bay. and just as I hit the first stop, through the first intersection my car croaked and died. I wasn't sure why this time. I was flummoxed. I got out amid honks and F-bombs hurled in my direction and attempted to push. One of the most humiliating experiences of my life to this day. Luckily I knew nobody around. It was at this moment of desperation and despair a firetuck came along and opted to help push it off the road. It was definitely a God thing, nobody else was offering to help. I got out and then ran to the nearby Safeway asking random people in the checkout line for a jump. Soebody eventually agreed. On the way over to the motel 6 my windshield wipers were losing power and not working. I re-inserted my head out the window as I would not see again, and pulled into the motel 6. The first thing I did was find the hot tub after that long  exciting day. I figured I'd worry about the car in the morn.

    My perils were seemingly  innumerable: Car broke down 3 times in last 2 days. Overheated twice, ran outta gas, coasted into town tonight. I was on a losing streak that was quite remarkable I reasoned as I sat in the hot tub. The next morn I called the tripe A mechanic and he diagnosed a dead alternantor. Just another few hundred bucks to fix though. No problem. My funds were running low and that was about all I had. While waiting for it to be fixed I popped into an eatery for French Toast, scrambled eggs, and a slab of fried chicken slathered in sausage gravy. I devoured this like a ravenous Wolf. However while eating I saw a Washington license plate for the first time in over 5 weeks, made me smile. I left later that morning and made slow going up the coast with frequent interruptions for viewpoints and parks. The coast was incredible due to the light snow cover over parts of the rocks, even writing about it now, I am recalling the scenery and find a strong desire to return. I was evidently to slow because dusk had already fallen and I was still about 30 miles south of Lincoln city. Upon seeing the first motel I swerved into what I thought was the entrance, yet badly miscalculated and found myself flying over a small cliff; with a sickening ca-shink-a-link that was the rear of my trunk getting smashed by the hillside I rolled down over a grassy lawn. I found myself swerving around oncoming flower beds while heading for the parking lot. Upon finding the lot I was looking for a sloping ramp so i wouldn't go over another curb. I eventually floored it right over and landed squarely on the ground as soon as I parked and got out I saw a family of people looking at me with jaws slightly ajar in amazement at my maneuvering, with a deft nod of my head I calmly uttered a "hows it going folks" and casually strolled in.

   The hotel rates were astronomical and I decided to find a cheaper venue, apparently there was a festival that weekend and it was a horrible time. I was a sojourner looking for shelter and the motels were booked full of people on recreational visit. It was unfortunate, however about an hour up the road I found a place and enjoyed a good hot shower. THe next morning I loaded up my luggage, and went to Molalla to Visit my Uncle Scott, aunt Annette and cousins, It was good to be back in familar parts again after my wide loop, from Pennsylvania to South Carolina to L.A. and now at last home. I came back home and my loving and always supporting family welcomed me back with open arms slaying the metaphorical "fatted calf" and listening to my many tails. Yet the months following this trip proved arduous and hard, I worked temporary factory work, stacking pots just ot scrape some extra cash, then in the summer landscaping and manual labor jobs. I have never since, been able to be financially set and the journey has come with many blows both to my ego and sense of self worth, but I know God was behind it all and as the apostle Paul once said "When I am weak God is strong" I have learned allot from my many travels and I feel God has blessed me beyond that which I deserve. 






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