Bloggers Log

Drive (4 Denise)

Having found myself approaching early retirement felt that despite having been a wife, mother & nurse I was rapidly being dismissed from society. This sense of growing invisibility was shocking & prompted the need to take stock. A chance meeting let to the opportunity of having a song written for me by Danny Wright (an up & coming pop/punk artist from the UK).

Collaborating with Danny Wright was fun as despite the age difference we share a similar taste in music. Ostensibly Drive (4 Denise) is about a road trip but the metaphor relates to approaching the ‘sunset years’ but not in a passive way. The song is a regular playlist favourite on my various travels bringing me joy and encouragement to face what happens next. In sharing it here I hope it may make those who listen feel as inspired as I do to take up & accomplish what ever challenges they may face.

Bloggers Log

Down Devils Road looking for a bed!

Top travelling tip always check out any national holidays that might take place when you are visiting a country to assess the impact on your journey! Labor Day is an important date on the calendar that sadly we did not factor in when heading towards Californian coast. Blissfully unaware of how busy the towns along the 101 would be & it was a shock to find that all the Rv parks we had assumed would have spaces for us were full to capacity. Googling like crazy we revised the route as we went to try and identify a potential place to stay overnight. 

The miles rolled by & it became a bit tricky to concentrate on the amazing scenery for fear we would not find a suitable spot. Darkness slowly drawing in as we tentatively headed down towards Devils Lake the hopes of an overnight stop was dwindling as fast as the light. 

As our tired, strained eyes searched the road ahead an incredibly bright yellow board announcing the presence of a KOA site was wondrous sight. Gleefully shouting in the van the phrase ‘you’re never far away from a  KOA’ we pulled in. 

The kind people running the site listened to our pleas & found us a spot for the night. Waking at first light found that clearly we were not the last to seek refuge. For as I opened the door I was greeted by a lady peering up at me from under the duvet that she was snuggled under  in the passenger seat of the truck now beside us. 

An interesting conversation about the duplicitous nature of politicians on both sides of ‘the pond’ was had before we wished one another a  good day & set about having breakfast. 

Trundling up the coast we were treated to a number of wild & beautiful sights but we were on a mission to get to Astoria before dark so we could cross the amazing bridge that spans the mighty mouth of the Columbia River. It was on completion in 1966 the longest continuous truss bridge in the world & provided the ‘missing link’ in the USA highway system between Mexico & Canada. It was my turn to drive so I got the honour of taking Bertha across which was quite a thrill. Followers may have spotted my buddies liking for silo photos so not wanting to be left I have included pictures of the assorted bridges we traversed. You have been spared the video of the crossing as I was driving & my mates camera battery died so only the stills survived.

Back once more in Washington State we headed for a state Park campsite which was a beautiful location beside the sea.

Bloggers Log

Parked near a Pyramid & Creeping Around a Crater

Any one who knows me or has been following this will undoubtedly know that both road trips came about because of a desire to see the bands at the iconic Pyramid Stage at Glastonbury, tickets to which, like the Burning Man event are as elusive as quicksilver. So when it was clear our route would take us near a certain lake the other side of the mountains from Black Rock I was overtaken by my sense of irony & routed us past Pyramid Lake.

Running out of daylight & heading to Nixon we were totally unprepared for the splendour of the Lake. A tad concerned we didn’t have a campsite for the night we scoured the place for a suitable spot but ended up driving on through up the side of the Lake realising if we reached Sutcliffe our options were really limited as it wasn’t clear the road was suitable for rental vehicles beyond there & it would be miles to retrace our steps to the next potential town.

However we spied some people in campers near the shore line & they kindly told us where we could obtain the necessary pass at the Ranger Office come shop. Despite the randomness of it the advice was good and later we left with our overnight ticket & some beer. Driving back we spotted a suitable place and pulled in. By now it really was starting to get dark as we sipped beer & watched the sun sink behind the mountains. It was very peaceful but nothing prepared us for the moment when the sky went completely jet black the only light coming from the millions of twinkling stars. My thanks to the Native American upon whose Reservation the Lake is located for making it possible for us to stay there. It truly was one of the most fantastic places on earth that I have ever camped in. The Pyramid is a unusual rock formation in the Lake & as ‘consolation prizes’ go I felt we had really hit the jackpot. Later we set the alarm clock so that we could get up & watch the sun rise.

Sipping tea while sat in deck chairs was amazing & the advantage of rising so early was that we were on our way to Crater Lake before the crowds. Reaching the entrance there were no queues or parking problems & we were once more treated to some spectacular scenery that really the cameras just didn’t really do justice too. The water was so still & the reflections so clear. It put me in mind of the Taekwondo pattern Chon Ji which takes its name from the Heavenly Lake also famed for the clear reflection that is supposed to be representative of both heaven & earth. Walking around we took in the sweet fresh air & headed to the coast where we would pick up the 101 or Scenic Pacific Highway.

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