Califoregon Day #4

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Jedediah Smith Redwoods State Park

 

Mr. Kohlah (after losing an eye) said that was all right. “One eye is sufficient for the hings I am looking forward to seeing,” he smiled, touching his wife’s swollen belly. Whereas, he added, the ugliness of the world would  now trouble him only half as much – from  A Fine Balance by Rohinton Mistry

I am thankful for the two eyes I had to take in the beauty of the redwoods. Pictures just can’t do justice to the sheer hugeness of these gentle giants.

We drove back north a ways to begin the day at Jedediah Smith Redwoods State Park. Here we got upclose and personal with the big guys.

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I always love when I stumble upon something someone else has made or left behind, such as a cairn.

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Jedediah Smith Redwoods State Park

After enjoying the redwoods, we headed for Crescent City. Although we were able to find some pockets of beauty, this little town was a disappointment as far as my expectations went. Perhaps it would be better to visit this area in the summer.

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Crescent City, CA

 

The lighthouse I was hoping to explore was unreachable. I should have read this:

“Visits to the Battery Point Lighthouse and Island are only possible at low tides. Extreme care and caution should be used when crossing the two hundred feet between the mainland and island anytime wave action may cover the crossing area. Sneaker waves at any time can threaten visitors standing on or near the rocks and the shore of Battery Point Island. ”

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Battery Point Lighthouse

 

I did read more about it after the trip and there is a fascinating story HERE about the time Crescent City was hit by a tsunami in 1964.

 

We still had fun exploring a bit …

and I spotted Sasquatch near the lighthouse!

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Crescent City, California

 

We also went to The Trees of Mystery, but I’ll save that for another post.

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Califoregon – Day Three

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Harry & David’s

On day three we started with another wonderful morning in Medford. Breakfast included poached pears, French toast made with a thick cinnamon bread from a local bakery, and some good coffee roasted in nearby Jacksonville, Oregon, where we were headed.

On our way out of town we had to stop at the Harry & David Store. Hubby had never heard of Harry & David – can you imagine that? If we lived closer I’d be going there often. We got some yummy snacks for the road and headed to Jacksonville.

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Jacksonville, Oregon

Jacksonville is a really cute old town with lots of little shops. We found a used bookstore and made some good finds. Across the street was a thrift store where we happened upon a perfectly good $8 carry-on bag with wheels – perfect for taking back our purchases. I usually just carry-on, but since Southwest allows two free checked bags, we figured, why not? Then we headed to Good Bean Coffee for a cuppa, plus three bags of beans, since now we were going to have room to transport them.

Before leaving Oregon we made one last stop at Foris Vineyards. This is a place that you do not find by accident! Our GPS led us to the right place, partially down a dirt road,  but it turned out to be some good wine.

I was excited as we got on the road towards California, but still not prepared for that first view of the Redwoods! Just amazing! And then the first view of the west coast – so different from the east coast where I grew up.

 

We spent the next three nights in Klamath at a Holiday Inn Express. With a Casino attached. Hubby earned our “Lunch Money” one night. Well, that’s what he called it, but $7 doesn’t buy much lunch. It did, however, almost pay for that piece of luggage we’d purchased.

 

 

 

 

 

Monday Music #21

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“… for music alone can abolish differences of language or culture between two people and evoke something indestructible within them.” –  from Suite Francaise by Irene Nemirovsky

 

 

I was introduced to the music of JJ Grey and Mofro, many years back by my daughter. I’ve only seen him in concert twice; once in concurrence with the Jacksonville Symphony (with my daughter)  and then again in Birmingham (with my husband). On my many trips from Jacksonville to Tampa I’ve driven through Lochloosa and I always think of Grey’s love for Florida.

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View from the Buckman Bridge – 2013

 

My father-in-law had a little trailer in Astor on the St. Johns River for many years.  The pictures below are from a trip I took up the river with my brother-in-law and niece back in 2012. We went out to Lake George and stopped at Silver Glen Springs. It was one of the most relaxing days I’ve ever spent.

 

 

This song, The River, grips me every time I hear it. Growing up minutes from the St. Johns in Jacksonville, I never appreciated it like I do now. As a kid, it was just the river we crossed to get to downtown. Now I understand a little more about the vastness and beauty it contains. I long to get back to this river someday.

 

 

 

 

 

Crossroads

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Friendship Fountain

 

“It isn’t as though we were simply standing at the crossroads wondering what path we should take. It is more like we’ve been grabbed by the ear and dragged down a road we had never meant to travel.” – from On Reading and Writing Books for Children by Katherine Paterson

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Mandarin Park

 

I can’t say I’m exactly standing at the crossroads. It’s more like I’m looking down the road and wondering what’s over that next hill and thinking, will this road lead me back home? And I (we)  weren’t exactly dragged down this road in the first place, but more like told this is where you are going and tried to go with great expectations. Perhaps those expectations were too great, or perhaps we have failed ourselves. I think it’s a bit of both. And so many deaths, some expected, some swift and unforeseen, have taken their toll on my heart. Now, I just want to go somewhere that feels like home.

 

They say that home is where the heart is

I guess I haven’t found my home

And we keep driving round in circles

Afraid to call this place our own

And are we there yet?

Are We There Yet? – Ingrid Michaelson

 

 

 

Window or Mirror?

 

“I feel it’s healthier to look out at the world through a window than through a mirror. With a mirror, all you see is yourself and whatever is behind you.” 

Bill Withers, from Garden & Gun interview

My husband thinks it’s funny to tease me about taking selfies, but honestly I don’t do it very often. I joined a group in B’ham a few years ago  and got some great tips from on self-portraits, but I can’t remember most of them. And, like I said, I don’t take many. I much prefer to be behind the camera. So, it’s with much trepidation that I present this picture taken with my cell phone. It  isn’t the best quality, but I like it.

 

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Monday Music #6

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I have a playlist on Amazon that I call Sweet Homes. Not all the songs are about Alabama, though, because I’ve had other homes. And I’m attached to some places that are or have been homes for my loved ones. This one’s for everybody…

 

Feels Like Home

Something in your eyes
Makes me want to lose myself
Makes me want to lose myself
In your heart

Something in your voice
Makes my heart beat fast
Hope this feeling will last
The rest of my life

If you knew
How lonely my life has been
And how low I’ve felt for so long
If you knew
I wanted someone to come along
And change my world
The way you’ve done
It feels like home

Feels like home to me
Feels like I’m on my way back
Where I come from
Feels like home
Feels like home to me
Feels like I’m on my way back
Where I’m from

With your embrace
Down a long dark street
And a sigh of wind in the night
It’s alright
Cause I have you here with me
And I can almost see
The dark feels light

If you knew
How much this moment means to me
And how long I’ve waited for your touch
If you knew
I wanted someone to come along
I never thought I’d love anyone
So much

Feels like home
Feels like home to me
Feels like I’m on my way to where I come from
Feels like home to me
Feels like home to me
Feels like I’m on my way back to where I belong
Feels like I’m on my way back to where I belong

Written by Randy Newman • Copyright © Warner/Chappell Music, Inc, Universal Music Publishing Group

The Vine That Ate the South

I first became aware of kudzu traveling the highways and byways of Georgia. It was a mystery to me; I just knew it grew like crazy and looked lovely. I even included it in a poem I wrote back in September of 2012; a play on Robert Frost’s The Road Not Taken.

The Roads Taken

Two roads converged in a Georgia town

And seeing that both I could travel

At the light I looked around

Nothing there could make me frown

But my plan would soon unravel

Mapquest said there would be a turn

Trusting still I ventured on

Many were lessons I had to learn

Though blessed by views of kudzu and fern

I felt my path was lost and gone

Backtracked that morning more than twice

Turned around on roads of clay

The air still crisp and oh so nice

With music as my only vice

I saw how way leads on to way

I am now telling with a sigh

At last I made my destination

O’er valleys low and hills so high

Beneath a cloudless southern sky

I found a bit of relaxation

 

Two months ago, as I explored a new trail at Red Mountain in Birmingham, I came upon an area covered in kudzu. This was my first real close up and I discovered the blooms that are lovely.

 

 

Right after this I realized that it was overtaking the fence that runs across the back of our yard. Sitting outside this week I kept smelling a wonderful scent. I went to investigate and it was the kudzu blooms. They have the most wonderful aroma – correctly described by others as smelling like grape soda.

 

I did a little research and found out that many parts of the plant are edible. The leaves can be eaten like spinach and the blooms are used for jams. Bees frequent the blooms more during a drought and it is believed they are the reason for a rare purple honey. I may try a recipe one day; a few years ago after reading about dandelions I did eat them. Once.

Known as “the vine that ate the south”, kudzu can grow up to a foot a day. Originally meant to feed livestock and fight soil erosion, it has outgrown its initial usefulness. I’m sure there are many metaphors that can be made of kudzu. Here’s one: facebook is kind of like kudzu – it looks good and smells good, but it can choke out the the things it wraps it tendrils around. So take care – whack away at it when you have to!