So last week, the gang and I decided that it would be a good idea if I could see some actual landscapes other than boring Nevada, since I am illustrating a landscape book.
One of those random, Jules and I are sitting at the park kind of moments when we decide we need a change of scenery, so we go home and toss everything into a pile in the back of the family wagon (or in this case, Dodge Journey–named appropriately) and just go. With no thought to what we actually should have brought or if this was a good idea. Welcome. To. Us.
We decided on Northern California and Southern Oregon as our destination. Love Highway 101 especially during the time of year when it floods, blows a million miles an hour, snows and the fog is thicker than Trump’s skull. So off we went.
I quite enjoyed the drive up. By the time I reached 299 and then cut over to HWY 101, there was no traffic to contend with. 2 in the morning is a pretty good time time to drive the coastal highway if you want to avoid stopping because of all the dips who pull out in front of you.
Really, the only thing I had to contend with were the multitude of skunks who made my eyes water and kept me rolling up the window for safety.
So the trip up was mostly uneventful. Most of the rest areas were open for once, so no one had any accidents. (I’m talking to you, Englishman.) The kids and Jules had all fallen asleep, so I was humming “Highway to Hell” to myself and quite pleased with my driving skills at such a late hour. I was taking up both sides of the road since nothing was coming.
Then out of nowhere, right beyond the sign that says “Elk Crossing” (apparently they don’t know how to use a cross walk…
This appears in front of the car.
If you think the picture is big, you should have seen the real thing. I slammed on the breaks and woke up everyone in the car, slid a bit on the wet road nearly into an embankment and ended up stopping, looking at the business end of a stop sign. Everyone is fine, thank you for asking.
What pissed me off, wasn’t the elk in the middle of the road. Elk were there before roads were, so okay he has right of way. What pissed me off, was the nonchalant way he continued to chew his grass..cud…whatever they chew. His elk tobacco. Whatever. Num. Num. Num. Seriously. He just stays in the middle of the road, not overly bothered by the idea of becoming a hood ornament, as I am white knuckling the steering wheel, panting in terror and re-swallowing my heart.
Num-fucking-num. At least his mates had the good sense to look afraid for him.
So what does he do? He moves over about a foot, directly into the middle of the road and continues to chew. He remained unimpressed.
Eventually we made it to our destination and for the next day, other than a flooding rainstorm that made us take refuge in the car instead of going on the nature hike we had intended, things settled down. The weather was beautiful the next morning, we went to a couple of beaches, had some good food and then went to the pool at the hotel. The kids had a great time splashing around and my oldest boy broke his fear of the deep end…thanks daddy for helping with that.
So all was well, as I decided I’d had enough pool water in my ears and left the kids and the hubby behind so I could take the poodle for a walk. Brookings, Oregon is a cute little town. The kind of place where a woman feels safe with her tiny dog, even after dark. The worst you are likely to encounter is possibly a stray dog, or maybe a racoon digging in a bin looking for something interesting to eat. Off we went in search of an adventure, or maybe a bush to pee on–for the dog, not me, I don’t have the balance for that.
Nearly ten o’clock at night and we are walking along in front of an auto parts shop, when Salem decided the bushes out front look like a good place to hike a leg. The bushes start rustling and I’m thinking it’s a bird. Then the bushes explode and I’m thinking it is a dog. A big dog. Maybe a rabid racoon out for blood on unsuspecting tourists. Oh hell…Maybe it’s this guy…
You know, they say he lives in the area and I almost could have understood that. Instead, the dog freaks out, pees on my shoe and tries to climb my leg before deciding if he can live with four boys he can take on anything and goes after the…
Wait? Monkey? The hell is a monkey doing attacking me and the poodle in a car park? Yep. Of all things in the world, a pissed off monkey in a small town in Oregon. Not what I would have expected. Didn’t think they grew those here.
I did what any fearless, strong woman would do. I cursed at the dog for pissing on my Sketchers and turned tails (mine and the poodle’s) and ran like the devil was chasing me. Because he was. Fucking Monkey.
Later, we learned that the monkey was an escaped convict. The thing was someone’s pet that had escaped and they had already had a warrant to seize the animal. Well guys, I found it. Want it? Go get it. This girl is done.
That was nearly the end of the drama, until we decided to stop and go to a lookout point, where we encountered this sign:
Everyone agrees that this guy appears to be having fun. And apparently my poodle can understand the meanings of these things, because he decided to slip right outside the guard fence and make a break for it, off the cliff edge. Thank goodness for dog leashes. We got him back, after what was nearly our second heart attack of the trip.
Still, overall, we had a good trip. I got some good images, we had some laughs and we made some new friends.
Oh, and I met someone famous.
That Seals it.
We must do this again.