Bridge Party 1977

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For a number of years, the primary focus in this family was to construct a bridge across Little French Creek to provide reliable access to the ranch. We’d gone through a couple of log bridges, numerous repairs, change of road grades and much clearing of rocks on this road that “wanted to be a trail”.

This April month we had a family celebration to commemorate the completion of that amazing structure. Bob had designed and engineered and spent hours on getting it all put together. We had a couple of huge I-beams that had to be hauled in and placed, building of forms for abutments, several pours of cement, and much tying of wires on rebar. My eldest brother had noticed a large Douglas Fir on a cliff above the bridge and Bob redesigned the bridge to be reinforced enough to withstand the force of a tree that size falling on it. Sometimes, I’m sure, being an engineer can be exhausting. Late night sessions to work on details by generated light, skipped and late dinners, family issues, persistence, lots of studying.

It involved finding the best people to do various parts of the project, including dozers and hauling. We even hauled in a very large water tank, purchased from someone, Mr. McConnell maybe? We filled it with water to sit on top of the west abutment through one winter, full, to make sure the ground settled as it should. I remember that one because we had stored it up in the woods on a rack on a flat place and I helped bring it down to the creek guiding him when he backed up at various times. I think my right big toe got frost bitten when we were working down by the creek getting it onto a platform of some sort—at least that’s my memory.

I think the Bridge will be there when, hundreds of years from now, archaeological digs are being done. It was a wonderful accomplishment although with numerous sacrifices, and I doubt if anyone else has ever done one equal to it.

There were many who were hired to help at various stages and some who donated some time and at this date I cannot remember all their names although some have been included in my previous narrations. But Dennis Corp, Michael and Lori Alan, Bob Raines, Jim Fields, are a few who come to mind. I’m sure my children can recall others. And of course, always Florence and Leonard on numerous occasions. The construction and the concrete pours went on over several years.

So I’ll give a brief description of the celebration and hope a number of pictures have survived since then. There are many slides of the whole process enclosed in at least 4 slide cartridges and, according to my journal, one Christmas I gave Bob a photo album of around 30. But my children will have to decide at some point whether or not anyone wants to make prints of those.

Looking at the photos is enough to make me weep from all the memories and all the loved ones.

“On the 17th of April we had a “bridge party”—about 20 family members. We went out Saturday and stayed over night . I got the house cleaned up and then went down to the bridge site to help Bob. Had bought a big piece of blue and white checked oil cloth to put over the plywood board table and had a vase with flowers. Bob put up posts along the edge of the bridge and we tied yellow surveyors tape to them. Put a big red ribbon across at the end of the bridge.

People started arriving at 3:00—Florence, Leonard, Uncle Stanford and Calvene (and her sister and her husband). Cheryl and Bear, Scott, Kathleen, Bear’s younger sister, Dick and Sandy. Leonard gave a little speech; Uncle Stanford cut the ribbon. Then Uncle Stanford pulled the wagon across with Jeff and Clarke in it and Rebecca pushing. Part way across he said” I can feel it shaking! I can feel it shaking!”

Bob drove the stake-side truck across with everyone in it. We all then got in cars and drove across, honking horns (after having champagne and cake, fruit punch for the kids). The corks were plastic and shot 15 feet up in the air. Everyone went up and inspected the house and then some began driving away. The children played with a Frisbee and the rest of us sat on the porch and talked.

Later, Florence, Leonard, Dick and Sandy and we all ate dinner at the Fish Tail Inn.

February-March 1977

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February 20th
Haven’t written in a long time. I’ve been going through a lot of emotional hassles. After reading Passages I’ve decided I’m going through a “mid-life crisis”. I talked to Doris and she said she went through something similar at about the same age. (I wrote a description of some of the range of feelings but it’s not necessary to repeat it here—not menopause, that was years later). Was reading E.B. White’s letters and enjoying them.

Bob and the children and I went to the ranch last weekend. We had to walk from the gate (2 miles one way). He and I went out yesterday, leaving the children with Amy Crane, and hiked up the ditch grade above the ranch. It was brushy and full of logs but he cut some logs and brush out. Lots of poison oak and I have a good case of it today. Very pretty up at the end of trail although dark and damp as the canyon is quite narrow. Ferns and moss grow thickly on the rocks and there are a number of small waterfalls. Good water ouzel country. We didn’t get back until 7:30 and I’d expected to be back by 5:00.

Another thing about this “stage” I’m in is a need to have rather probing conversations with people. I feel as if I must devour books, the news, people’s thoughts. My photography has become even more important to me than before. I’m exhausted from my walks, not from the physical activity but from absorbing shapes, colors, designs, scents. As a result, by evening I’m often unkind to the family.

Bob took the children to the Cub Scout dinner last Thursday while I went to the Parent Effectiveness Training class. I’d fixed tamale pie and salad and had taken it over there for them.

Woke up to find it raining this morning! There was actually water running in the gutters downtown. Any rain at all is a help.

Bob worked on the boys’ closet this afternoon and evening. I think he is planning to finish it tomorrow.

I took the children over to Dorothy and Moon Lee’s Friday night to celebrate the Chinese New Year. I gave the Lees a photo I had taken of a fogged-in Weaverville from their driveway. We stayed for an hour and then came home. The children always enjoy the goodies and Moon Lee always gives each one a quarter in a little red envelope. Firecrackers were set off while we were there, which the boys enjoyed.

Next Wednesday Bob and I have to catch the same plane to S.F. He has to go to Dallas and I have to go to Santa Rosa.The crocuses are blooming, saw some spring beauties, manzanitas are in bud, gooseberries about to bloom and lots of pussy willows. Today I wrote letters to several people, made cookies, shoveled ashes out of the fireplace and washed the fireplace windows.
Here is an E.B. White poem
Natural History
The spider, dropping down from twig,
unwinds a thread of his devising:
a thin premeditated rig
to use in rising.
And all the journey down through space,
in cool descent, and loyal-hearted,
he builds a ladder to the place
from which he started.
Thus I, gone forth, as spiders do,
in spider’s web a truth discerning
attach one silken strand to you
for my returning.
(I still love this one.)

Saturday, March 5th
Clear, beautiful day. Clarke has chicken pox. I’m not feeling very great myself; Jeff is in Quincy with Florence and Leonard; Bob is out at the ranch; and Rebecca went to Redding with a Baptist Church group. Clarke got sick Wednesday afternoon and may have been ill Tuesday. He is covered with big, itchy welts. We had to cancel nursery school Thursday because Sue Rose and kids weren’t well either.I haven’t had a walk in two weeks. I didn’t feel well when I got back from Santa Rosa a week ago and have developed a bad cough.

The trip to Santa Rosa was wearing, although the meeting was quite interesting. Bob and I both had to leave the morning of the 23rd. It was snowing and I left around 5:30. It was dark, and going up Buckhorn I actually got dizzy a few times because of the movement of the white snow coming at me. Sticking on the road near the top but no problem. I got to the airport, bought my tickets and ate breakfast. Bob arrived as I was finishing. He had eaten at home. We sat on the plane together and he walked me down to where I catch Stohl, and then left. His plane to Dallas was to leave an hour later.

Going down we flew above the clouds-big tossed piles of softness like waves of foam with peaks and valleys and shadows. Going to Santa Rosa on Stohl we went in and out of fog, which makes it a beautiful flight—, getting glimpses of the bay and hills.

I arrived in S.R. at 10:30 and then sat there till 12:30 waiting for my luggage. Jen came from the office at 1:00, took me to my motel and back to the office. We had a meeting at Rohnert Park at 4:00. It lasted until 6:45. Andrea Tuttle and I (I think I’ve not mentioned her—another woman on the board whom I liked a lot—very smart, very much up on environmental problems, and we became friends. She and her husband lived in the Eureka area but she was also going to school in Sacramento.) It was nice to not be the only woman on the board.)went back to the motel, then ate at a Hofbrau (sandwich and beer) nearby. The next day our meeting lasted until after 3:00.

I got a ride back to the motel, ate an early dinner. Got a cab at 7 a.m. Friday , ate breakfast at the airport, arrived in Redding around 11:00. Went to the Mall and got Jeff ‘s Scout book, mouse food for Rebecca’s mouse, had pie and coffee and came home. Bob got home around 8:30.

Sunday Bob took the kids and went out to the ranch to look for an old trail. They didn’t go to the ranch, just up the road on the Prairie Creek side. I did some chores and got a little rest. They found the trail and he thinks also a quarter-corner.

Showed the film “Why Man Creates” at the night class Monday. Kids had gymnastics Tuesday night. Nursery school was difficult this week. Had a good time at the Parent Effectiveness class Thursday. Mother Earth News has an article on photography this month.

Florence and Leonard went to Quincy Thursday afternoon, taking Jeffrey with them. They’ll be back tomorrow night. He was very excited about the whole thing.

Bob is putting a battery into the tractor today and will try to clear the road from the house to the gate.

Poem written at 1:00 a.m. when up with a cough.

Winter Song
A water ouzel’s winter song
fills the fern-flecked canyon walls
where silently it fed its young
when summer warmed the waterfalls.
The young, full-fledged, dip up and down
and hunt for food beneath the stream.
Their nest of moss, which caught light spray,
though empty now, remains unseen.

By the 18th both Rebecca and Jeff had come down with chicken pox. Rebecca had a really high fever, Jeff not so much but both very itchy.

The weekend before the 18th we left the children with Florence and Leonard and went to San Francisco. We left Friday night and got to Palo Alto around 10:30. After breakfast Saturday morning we bought $50 worth of records at a record store across from the motel. Then we changed and drove to San Francisco to the Opera House where we saw an afternoon performance of Sleeping Beauty. I didn’t know until we got our programs what we were going to see—Bob got the tickets a month ago. It was a great surprise. The performance was excellent; choreography very imaginative. I love ballet. Think it would be marvelous to be able to express feelings and music with your whole body. I could have easily stayed for the evening performance also! We saw Bud Madalena driving Duane Heryford’s yellow van out of the parking lot in front of us.

We then drove to Palo Alto and ate dinner at the Black Forest Inn where we used to go when we lived in Los Altos. We had weiner snitzel and beer. The same people are running the place. After dinner we went to Kepplers, which is a large paperback bookstore. Spent a couple of hours there and got a few books. There are 4 or 5 rooms and a reading area

Sunday after breakfast we left and drove over to Peter and Angenett’s. Angenett wasn’t there but Peter and the kids were, as well as Joyce, Joe, Hope and Tommy. Peter showed me the house, we talked and Cedric fixed grilled cheese sandwiches for us. Nick was making macramé plant hangers. We left a sack of clothes for Jessica.

The cloud formations coming up the valley were fantastic. Great towering thunderheads, one like a steep cliff with the top edge curled like an ocean wave. Leading back into this cliff were vast, billowing-edged canyons. Then a flock of ducks flew across in front of it. Beautiful!

I had to use a restroom at Willows and suggested to Bob that we stop and say hello to Candie and Jim, thus accomplishing two things. They were just driving down their street to go get a hamburger so we ate hamburgers with them at a Denny’s restaurant. Called Florence from Redding and came home. Clarke was asleep on their living room floor so we gathered everyone up and came home. It had been a good weekend.

December 1976 From Macrame to Ballet

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December 18: Yesterday I went into a new shop here in town, downstairs near the grocery store. They are selling macramé, wall tapestries, chessboards, pottery, and jewelry—lovely stuff that someone has worked hours on. As I was leaving I asked about photographs. He said he didn’t think so but to bring some in. Walked down today with the children because Bob was using the VW to look at possible wilderness boundaries in the East Weaver area.

Both Tim Anderson and his wife really liked my pictures. They want me to bring some in to sell and they bought one themselves! I was really pleased—had very good feelings about the place yesterday and of course even better today! He figured out what my expenses are, approximately, and what I should charge. Now I have to send some slides out, get frames ordered at Greenwood’s, etc.

He also wants me to do some pictures with some of his jewelry. I’m really excited about the whole thing; not expecting to sell much but it’s a beginning and makes me feel as if yes, I am an artist of sorts and am expressing myself. I’m really looking forward to doing something with the jewelry also.

The last few weeks I’ve been having some internal struggles as if I’m about to burst from a cocoon with some wild combination of good and evil. It’s making things around me seem strange. Cheryl gave us a ride home in her new car. She and Sandy are going to sponsor Christmas dinner at Dick’s house. I’m going to bring a salad.

This last week was frantically busy. Monday night we mostly had a party at nursery school night class but I was busy all day. Tuesday there was nursery school, cub scouts, etc., and taking Rebecca and Jeff to and from gymnastics. Bob took them and then went to bed. Wednesday I had to have the VW in Redding by 8:30 so I left here around 6:30. Worked on Bob’s Christmas present while I was waiting for the car in Palo Cedro. Did some shopping at the Mt. Shasta Mall; got new shoes for Rebecca with some money back on her old ones because of a big hole in the side; stopped at the Downtown Mall and ate lunch there; got home at 3:30 and picked up Clarke from Linda Lindsey’s; fixed dinner and then we went to the Christmas Program at the CD Hall from 7:30-8:30. Jeff sang with the 4th grade chorus, Rebecca was in the band with her flute, guitar band and advanced chorus; Thursday was nursery school, and afterwards I made chocolate chip cookies for the den meeting that night. Didn’t go but Bob and the boys did. Friday morning I stacked the breakfast dishes and went over to see Rebecca in two short plays at 8:30. Left there at 9:30 and went for a walk. Was home by 12:30 when the kids got home from school (short day). After lunch (and taking Jeff to piano lessons) I bought groceries, delivered Muff’s wedding present. Came home and fixed mulled wine and banana bread for Bob’s meeting. D.V arrived at 6:30 and I gave him some dinner. People started arriving at 7:00. We ended with 11 people plus Bub and me. They all sat in a circle in the living room. About 9:30 we took a break, then they went back to it again. The last person left around 11:45. Another thing I did Thursday afternoon was to fix Arctostaphyloses (manzanita root creatures) for the children’s teachers.

Compared to all that, today has been rather leisurely. Bob put up the tree this evening. We’ll decorate some time tomorrow. Around 8:30 he went to visit Candie and Jim in Douglas City. They are up for the weekend. Thursday it is still clear, cold and dry. Our driveway is dusty, the lower part of the cedars lining the upper stretch being coated with dust.

Reading this now I can see that I was apparently going through some sort of psychological stuff, “ alternating between hours of calm and confidence and occasional bursts of joy; and hours of gloom and doom. Sometimes feeling as if I were changing into a different person.” I decided that if I were going to do that I’d like it to be retaining what little wisdom, compassion and depth I’d gained in the last 15 years and add to that some of the joyfulness and humor of my childhood. I quoted a line from a magazine story I’d read where the heroine states, “I think I have committed the sin of submission.” I thought I had as well but not as much as she had. (Now in 2023 and reading this I’m thinking major stress was the problem!!)

The children have been keyed up all week—a little psychotic themselves! Fights, bickering, wrestling, exuberance, joy, etc.

Today I vacuumed the whole house, changed the children’s beds (the older two put their own sheets back on), damp mopped the kitchen and dining area. Went to the bakery. Dropped the children off at the library and went to Lois’ to get my hair cut. Wrapped some more presents; talked to Doris on the phone for about half an hour.

Bob and I are sort of at odds with each other. Hopefully that will get better as I make my personal adjustments to my present changes. He and Rebecca went downtown this evening so he could finish his Christmas shopping. Yesterday morning I made an Arctostaphylos for Harriet Matthias (piano teacher), Jeff gave her one for Christmas and she was so pleased that she wanted some for friends. The children and I walked down to their house with the creatures.

Last night the children and I walked down to see a movie. Bob hadn’t known we were going (it was a very last minute decision) and had taken the VW over to visit his parents. After the movie we walked rapidly home because it was cold. The movie was “The Man Who Saved A Forest”.

Tuesday night Linda Ohde sat with the children while Bob and I went to a Forest Forum meeting. Guest speaker discussed the recently passed Forest Management Act. Afterwards we went over to the Echols’ for dessert, as did the guest speaker and his wife (George Craig), a lobbyist for the Western Timber Management Association.

December 26th
Clear and cold. It was cloudy Christmas Day and we had just a few drops of rain but that was all. Christmas Eve, Bob and I got to bed around midnight. He cleaned Jeff’s old bike up and brought it in for Clarke, and brought in Jeff’s new one. Put together Rebecca’s fishing pole. While he was doing that I filled stockings and distributed Santa’s gifts (those are unwrapped), I didn’t get much sleep that night—lots of bathroom traffic from the family.

The children were up to get their stockings at 7:00. We got up around 7:30. Everyone seemed pleased with their respective gifts. Bob liked the photo albums I gave him (all the slides of the bridge made into prints) and I really needed the two-drawer filing cabinet he gave me (a huge box with one drawer in it by the tree). He also gave me a bottle of musk bath oil. After presents we went over to the Ohdes for breakfast. I took my griddle, which sped things up a lot. We had a really good visit. Left around 1:00. Came home and then I took Rebecca and Clarke over to the Joneses to play with Peter and Angenett’s children for an hour. The kids and I had gone with them up on Musser Hill the evening before where Peter and the children played beckon and Angenett and I walked and talked. It was cold as the sun was going down but everyone had a good time. I’d brought warm cider, hot water for hot chocolate and mulled wine, which was consumed before returning home when it was nearly dusk.

On the 25th we came home from Ohde’s and I tore up the lettuce for salad. Picked up Rebecca and Clarke, came back and finished the salad, changed clothes and we all went up to Dick’s, taking four chairs and a stool. There were 18 people up there for dinner. Dick now has a pinball machine in his living room and when we weren’t at the table everyone was taking turns at that. From there we came home and unloaded chairs and went over to Joneses. Talked till about 9:00 and watched Jessica do some of her ballet—she’s good—and then ate dessert and came home.

October-November 1976

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November 24th
Am listening to Bach and getting some housecleaning done (supposedly) this morning. As on most mornings, I watched the Today Show, doing dishes during the commercials, from 8 -9 a.m. Have changed our bed and done several batches of laundry. Took Clarke’s library books and a paper sack he forgot over to school. Dropped off Forest Forum money at the SP office and talked to George Belden for a few minutes. Came home and ran. Made plane reservations for next week for Water Board meeting. Really struggling with my identity, what has happened in the past, what the future looks like, etc.

Last night Bob and I went to a Forest Forum meeting in Big Bar at Fish Tail Inn. Got quite a lot accomplished I think. Then when we got back we talked quite bit so am really tired today.Linda babysat.

Sunday we went out to the bridge where Bob was working, pulling nails out of the forms so we can “recycle” the wood. Built a bonfire and had a junk-food lunch—hotdogs, chips, marshmallows—then I helped Bob for several hours. The children stayed busy and the fire helped. It was a good day. Came back and had soup, cheese, apples, raisins and nuts for dinner, to counteract the lunch.

Since I last wrote, Florence and I have gone up Canyon Creek Trail through the Sinks and up to the falls and back to the main trail. We took lots of fall pictures. We had their dog Flip with us. Then I went up the Bear Creek Trail a couple of Fridays later. Took our dog. It was an overcast day but I really enjoyed it. Went up to where two creeks meet (one has falls right above the trail).

Last Friday I went up the Garden Gulch Trail. Rebecca and Jeffrey are taking an 8-weeks gymnastics class sponsored by the Recreation Department. It’s on Tuesday nights from 7:00 to 8:30.

I’m making the salads for tomorrow’s Thanksgiving dinner at Florence and Leonard’s. Fixed dinner for Florence and Leonard two nights last week and took some soup over another night. Have been working on my slides some. Took 56 slides to get prints made for an album on the bridge for Bob for Christmas. Am going to get some single larger prints of other scenes made for other people for gifts. Have ordered cards for Christmas. Got a good picture of the children and dog out at the ranch.

I’m thinking about phasing out of nursery school. Would like to just teach the night class.

Rebecca’s now taking drama during her lunch hour. I hope she doesn’t over-extend herself.

We’ve had only one rainstorm in the last three weeks.

Friday, Nov. 26th—11:05 pm—Bob is looking at aerial photos of the Downriver area—3 D. I’m about to go to sleep, am writing this in bed. Yesterday we got up late and ate a late breakfast. Bob went down to Manzanita Ridge and drove up the road to look at possible wilderness boundaries. We were due at Florence and Leonard’s at 3:00. Anne Marie was here for a couple of hours. I ironed some clothes and fixed a salad and got over there a little after 3:00. Ate with Nancy and Dave and family, Florence and Leonard, Scott, Stanford and Calvene. Afterwards Florence showed slides. Rebecca, Noel and Robin went to see the movie The Other Side of the Mountain, the story of the girl ski champion who became paralyzed. They came home red-eyed from weeping.

A little before 9:00 we went over to Dick’s where he had a house full of people, which finally assembled itself into a musical program plus audience. Mary Jo and Don Roberts, and Mary Jo’s three boys; the Don Williams family; Sandy Harger and her two boys; Scott, Dick and Michael; the Zadras. Pat Harger and two of the Olmsted’s played guitars and sang; Scott played his bongos. Then the Zedras did a piano and cello Bach; then they and Dick on trumpet played. Clarke fell asleep around 10:00. Michael stayed awake looking pale and tired. Bob and I took Clarke and Florence to Florence and Leonard’s around 11:30. Clarke and Jeff were to spend the night there. We took Jeff his jacket, shoes and pants and put him in a sleeping bag on the couch, then went home. Nancy and Dave dropped Rebecca and Noel off at our house around 12:00.

I got up around 9:00 the next day. Fixed scrambled eggs. Around 12:00 I took Rebecca and Noel over to Florence and Leonard’s. Ended up helping haul boards from under Aunt Nell’s house over to the new house. Loaded lots of it into the VW. Florence had all the children helping with the boys doing most of the under- the- house work. Then we moved boards from the attic by working in the garage. Nancy stood on a ladder, handing stuff down to us and then later she went into the attic and handed it to me on the ladder and I passed it on. Rebecca and Noel arranged the load in the truck (the little store truck). We ate lunch there around 2:00 o’clock. Florence and Nancy went to do insulation. I didn’t want to breathe any of that stuff so I took all the boys (Clarke looking very droopy) and came home. Left Rebecca and Noel in the little attic room curled up in a quilt hand made by Grandma Clarke – they were involved with dolls and chocolate-chips.

I took Clarke’s temperature and it was nearly 101 degrees. . Put him on the couch and put on Peter and the Wolf and he was soon asleep. Then I went out and hauled a number of loads of wood from the woodshed to the front porch; tied string around the hose coils; gathered the last hose and sprinklers and put them away; broke up small branches on the ground in the garden area and put them on the porch with the other wood.

Clarke woke up and I took his temperature again—down a bit. He has a thick cough. Around 6:15 I took Kent home, leaving Clarke in Jeff’s care, and brought Rebecca home. Bob arrived just ahead of us. He had spent the day at Big Bar Ranger Station going over photos and had also gone out Canyon Creek to see Jim Currin.

We had salmon steaks for dinner, thanks to friends of Florence and Leonard’s. Very chilly.

December 5th
Sitting here listening to a group of Canyon Creek dwellers who are helping firm up wilderness boundaries. They came last Sunday too. Have a few more this time. They’re all getting around the dining room table, extra leaf in. A very diverse group, many bearded.

I went to Santa Rosa Wednesday. Left the house about 5:20 a.m. It was dark and cold; road very icy most of the way to Buckhorn but O.K. down the other side. Smoggy in San Francisco. Smoggy in Santa Rosa. I did some book buying for Christmas in the Emporium. Got a ride over to our meeting at 4:00 p.m. Then Gary gave me a ride back and I ate dinner. Read all the kids’ books in my room. The next morning I got a ride with the secretaries to Rohnert Park. We finished up there by 12:30. Ate lunch and did a little more shopping, caught a 2:30 plane to SF. This time, instead of going to Concord, we flew both ways direct, which took us directly over Muir Woods and Mt. Tamalpias with a view also of the coast. Very pretty. The plane was an hour late leaving SF and I didn’t get to Redding until 7:30. I sat between a man who works with the school department in Mt. Shasta and a lady who sells herb pills (black walnut, sage, etc.). Got home around 9:20.

Friday I looked all over town for possible Christmas gifts. Saturday I worked on framing some of my pictures for Christmas presents.

Monday I read in Madeline L’Engle’s book that we are all afraid of the dark and I thought, “That’s it”. I’d been having some really strange dreams for the last couple of months. Fit right in!

The last two wilderness helpers left around 7:00 p.m. last night. Florence and Leonard came up while they were here, bringing us a Christmas tree.

I talked to Marne Wilkins last night and she wants me to run for the County School Board in her place. I don’t think that’s a direction I want to go right now.

Later that evening I wrote: We had a really good discussion at the night class tonight. I was feeling down at dinner time—tired and weepy. I took a paper I’d copied from Harper’s last year on the Family being out of style. Divided the students up in three groups and had each group read and discuss about a third of the article. They really had to strain their brains and a lot of extra conversations came into it also. Low attendance again though. One person seemed under a lot of strain and I think the group was pretty supportive.


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Ranger Rick Nature Magazine printed a few of my articles that I submitted, including pictures. Sometimes they would accept an entry and then not publish it for a year or two as editing and space permitted, but I was always quite excited about it. It seems to me that payment was just before publication. The Arctostaphylos article was published in 1978 but accepted a year or two earlier.

There were a few years when I lived in Weaverville that I made creatures out of manzanita roots and gave them the name of Arctostaphylos (which is the genus name for this shrub). Ranger Rick used this as a crafts story, encouraging children to be creative with roots and branches found in the woods. And they used the photo of Jeff that I submitted as well as those of the creatures.

I often used them as gifts with a message, sometimes without my name attached, if I remember correctly. But usually I would claim having found one and was passing it on and that this particular creature disliked clear-cuts, for instance. It might be left on a forester’s desk. Or it might be that the creature needed some particular item or plant for food. They were meant to get a message across without anger, just a nudge, teasing a bit. Sometimes they were a message of praise or appreciation. Sometimes they were a gift to a good friend for whatever reason.

I’d find a dried out piece of root, take it home and thoroughly clean the dirt off. The next step was to wax it with paste wax and glue the eyes on. There might be a note to type and then delivery. It was fun.

October 1976

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Friday, October 1, 1976

I’m sitting up on a hill above Garden Gulch (my usual end of the trail spot). It’s a warm day, a few high clouds—sweated a lot getting here. Sugar pine, Douglas fir, Ponderosa pine, oak, and one small cedar tree and a dogwood, whose berries have turned red in view. Saw a ruby-crowned kinglet, flickers, acorn woodpecker and a Douglas squirrel on the way. Heard Steller’s jays, nuthatches and towhees.

Have been very busy and don’t know whether I can get caught up on anything, let alone this journal. The trip to get Robin and Rebecca from Scout Camp in August was uneventful, except that they apparently hadn’t gotten along very well together at camp. It rained for 4 o5 days while they were there, which probably didn’t help. Both seemed to have had a good time though.

When school started the children and I came into town while Bob stayed out at the ranch to work on the bridge. I went out one day and cleared rocks out of the road and took Bob a lunch.

The Thursday night before the pour I went out and Florence took care of the children. It was midnight before I got to bed because Bob ate late and then there were the dishes but that was better than the 2:30 a.m. of last year.

The morning of the pour I drove over to unlock the gate. Met Bob Reine on one stretch and Larry Anderson pulling a small cement mixer on another. By this time Bob had (the week school had started) four people working with him—Bob R., Dennis, Jim and Joe. All worked hard and well. I waited for Jack to arrive with the cement truck down at Prairie Creek. He was driving the big one. Then I drove ahead of him and got out to guide him around a narrow spot (the culvert with the hump).

For the first truck they dumped into wheelbarrows and then pushed those across plywood pieces to the proper place. Joe manned the chute, Dennis and Bob R. the wheelbarrows and Jim the vibrator. Bob kept the boards moving to where they needed them. With the second truck they could just pour normally. I washed tools, took pictures, did some floating and edging. I left after lunch and came back to town.

School was a little traumatic for Rebecca the first couple of days but she has really settled in now and seems to enjoy most of her classes. She’s having to put up with a few difficult teachers. She’s also taking guitar lessons on Tuesday and Thursday afternoons and piano lessons on Mondays. Jeffrey is in John McClurg’s 4th-5thcombination. He’s bringing home an occasional ”A” paper and is having no trouble getting along with the 5th grade boys. He has Cubs on Tuesdays and piano lessons on Fridays. Clarke is tired by the end of the day but six- years old seems to be a very social age and he wants Scot Lindsey or Kelly Sheen over to play at least once a week or wants to go over there.

Nursery School is taking more time this year because of meeting every Monday night. I spend Monday morning, and sometimes more, preparing for the class. We have 20 people enrolled and most seem enthusiastic. The children are, on the whole, much younger this year.

Last week I went to Santa Rosa. Had to go down in the morning as there was a 4 pm meeting. Went shopping in the book store part of the Emporium and got a couple of paperbacks, one on child rearing and one a sequel to “Eleanor and Franklin”.

The meeting was interesting, as usual, and I spoke up, perhaps more than I should have. Met Kay Morris in line at the SF airport on my way home and sat with her on the plane.

Last Sunday we went out to the ranch. I mowed the lawn, picked some corn, lettuce and tomatoes from the garden; picked up three sacks of apples off the ground in the orchard.

Bob and I went to Open House Tuesday night and Wednesday night. We alternated Tuesday because the program was repeated three times. Wednesday night was for upper grades and we got a sitter—Amy Crane.

Tonight Florence and I are going to Redding to the Community Concert to hear the Preservation Hall Jazz players. She and Leonard are doing pretty well with their work on the yellow house. Scott has been helping.

One thing I forgot was that the night we were coming in from Big Bar, because school started the next day, we stopped part way down Oregon Mt., on this side, to let the dog out for a minute. A deputy sheriff pulled up behind us to see if we were picking up a hitchhiker. He said there was a convict loose. The next day we found out that three had escaped from the new jail. Two were together and broke into Dick’s house and took guns, liquor and clothes. Everyone was really nervous in this area. I put the dog outside in front of the front door every night and searched the closets, etc. before I went to bed. They caught one in a day or two and killed the other down by Douglas City later in the week. He was carrying Scott’s 22 and wearing Dick’s shirt. The third one they felt had left the county immediately.

It’s really pleasant up here today. Indian summer.

I’m having a lot of hassles emotionally right now. Not too sure what to do about it. Have started running a mile in the backyard again. Yesterday I rode my bike to nursery school. Made it all the way up from Meyers to our driveway without stopping but was exhausted. Was still panting ten minutes later!

Rush Creek Lakes 1976

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My journal entries are starting to appear less often now, the busier I get.

September 18 1976

Bob and I are at the Upper Rush Creek Lake. The children are with Florence and Leonard. I’m sitting on a large granite boulder—not a very smooth writing table.

We started up the East Weaver Lake Trail around 10 a.m. Tried cutting around the hill from one of the turns and ended up in a lot of white fir and brush. Took quite a while to get out of that. My pack shifts from side to side every time I tip a little, which makes cross-country hiking difficult. Finally we came out of the brush and soon saw the trail that comes up to the ridge top from below E. Weaver Lake. We’ll take it going out. We hiked up the open ridge toward Monument Peak and stopped for about half an hour to eat lunch. No water but the carrots helped a little. We zigzagged up the ridge away from Monument Peak, crossed some decomposed granite and headed down a draw. Got very steep and at one point I asked Bob to come back up and get my pack to carry it over that spot (leaving his below). By the time we got here my legs were really shaking and feet very sore.

It’s a beautiful lake. Steep cliffs on three sides, big boulders all around. It’s deep and we can see fish near shore. We got here at 3 o’clock and the sun disappeared behind the cliffs at 4 :00. Cooled off very fast and is quite chilly now.

We had stew, chocolate pie and tomato soup for dinner. Bob is taking a short hike down the creek now. There are supposed to be three smaller lakes below here. There is a tiny (10 x 20 ‘ ) pond, filled with grass and rocks right by me and a longer one, which the outlet creek runs through. Fir and Mt. Hemlock here of course, and golden glow of setting sun on the tops of the steep cliffs.

We can see Monument Peak above us and will probably try to go out that way tomorrow. Shouldn’t be as steep. Downstream we can look across and see the Red Mt. /Silago Meadows area.
Very pretty earlier this evening with grey and white thunderheads and the green of nearer mountains and the greys and reds of that area.

Coming up Weaver Bally this morning we could look out over the whole basin, which was filled with fog. Beautiful.

Bob came back and asked me to look at something. In the growing dusk we went down the creek below the larger pond where the rocks are angled and shelved. The water runs down on beds of thick moss, forming small waterfalls, beds of thick moss, miniature lakes and runs. In one spot the moss is so thick that the water disappears into it, appearing a few inches later. The falls make different sounds. It’s a unique spot and I hope I can get some pictures if the sun hits in there today.

It’s almost 8 o’clock and still no sun in camp although it’s on the cliffs across the creek. There’s a light breeze, increasing the chill factor. I slept fairly well off and on last night. More than most first night’s camping out. Was cold for quite awhile at first.

(Years later, in the mid-to- late 1980s, I hiked to the lower lake from the Highway 3 side and back in one day—it was a long hike. I remember a steep trail and then quite some distance along a ridge. 16 miles round trip maybe?)

August 1976

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The Friday after getting back from the Santa Rosa meeting I vacuumed the whole house, washed some sheets at Florence’s, bought groceries, hauled garbage, etc. Was so tired I’d decided to stay in town another night. Bob wanted to go out to the ranch though because he had to be at Prairie Creek at 8:30 to let Jim Pruett in and I wouldn’t be able to get in once Jim started backhoeing. While Bob washed dishes after dinner I got gas in the car and bought some ice as I’d forgotten the ice bag, so we got out here around 9:00.

Spent an hour going over to Prairie Creek with the boys to get Bob and Rebecca because the boom truck had broken down. Fixed lunch and took it down to the creek.

We got up late this morning. I fixed bacon and eggs, had pancakes and eggs yesterday. Had cantaloupe both days. Did two batches of laundry, drained and cleaned the pool. Spent a lot of time shifting laundry from the line to porch to line again as a thunderstorm threatened. We had heavy, dark clouds, about two flashes of lightning, some thunder, and a few drops of rain.

We’re getting lots of yellow squash in the garden now. Rebecca and Clarke picked blackberries for dessert. I added a few strawberries and a nectarine. Wrote a 3-page letter to my parents.

Lots fewer ground squirrels now. I buried one yesterday that was down toward the barn.

Bob got Miller’s garage to tow the boom truck up to our garage in Weaverville. He didn’t get back until 5:30.

Wednesday, August 18th.

A week ago Monday Jeannie Meyer and I took Rebecca and Robin to Scout camp. I left the boys with Linda Ohde. We ate hamburger lunch in Grants Pass and drove through Grants Pass to Tall Timbers Camp, which is off of Stewart’s Road. A winding road of decomposed granite leads to the camp, where there is a small building housing a first aide room and some other rooms. The trees are much the same as here—madrones, oaks, pine and Douglas Fir. Poison oak also! The camp leader, Chip Watson, seemed very efficient and capable. Short, short dark hair, husky and a good loud voice for yelling when necessary! We drove off with probably as much or more uneasiness than the girls had. There were 32 girls and their units averaged nine.

Jeannie wanted to go home by the coast route and I thought at first it was a good idea, although 1 ½ hours longer with no stops, but we had to go back to Medford to get some welding rods for Bob and by the time we headed out through the Applegate Valley, which was beautiful, I knew we’d be very late. We stopped for a cup of coffee out of Grants Pass, stopped at Jedediah Smith for a few minutes, ate dinner at the Ramada Inn near the 299 turnoff from 101 and got home at midnight.

The boys were taking swimming lessons so there were frequent trips into town for that and we brought cousins Jessica and Cedric out to the ranch for a few days. The first night Cedric and Jeff slept in the tent but yesterday water got in and I had to dry their bags out before they went to bed upstairs last night. Jessica played a lot with Clarke.

I ended up signing up for adult swimming lessons after I had a problem one time getting Jeff out of the Woods’ pool when he got tired—the solution was to shake off his grip and he swam to the edge. But it bothered me enough so I figured I could use a refresher. Mostly learned what I was doing wrong and that was a big help. We have been having a lot of rain. I’ve been concerned about Rebecca and Robin having their first camp experience with this kind of weather. “I guess they’ll survive.”

Bob hired Bob Raine to work with him down at the bridge. He’s in his early 30s, an English major going to Humboldt State. He lived at Buck’s Ranch for the better part of two winters and likes being by himself.

Tomorrow we’ll go into town for swimming lessons and take Jessica and Cedric back to the Joneses. We’ll stay overnight and then Friday morning Jeannie and I will go get Rebecca and Robin. Have really been missing Rebecca.

I’ve been reading “Eleanor and Franklin”. It’s very interesting although I didn’t think I’d like it.

Sand Dunes and More August 1976

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Well, we did get to the sand dunes. Went to Eel Creek Campground , a U.S. Forest Service camp, where we stopped last year. Spent about 45 minutes there and then went on. It was sunny and bright but the wind came up after about 10 minutes and blew sand along for about eight inches above the ground. It was blowing in little plumes off the top edges of the dunes like snow off a mountain.

We ate at Battle Rock State Park where the wind was blowing so hard we had to eat in the car and it was hard open the car door. When we got down around Port Orford we stopped at the Prehistoric Gardens. Children under 12 paid $1.00, over 12 $1.25, adults $1.75. It is sort of a tourist trap but well done. A trail winds around among ferns, alders, Sitka spruce, etc. and dinosaurs, built to scale, peer out at you. It’s scientifically accurate and worth the price I’d say.

We had several narrow escapes with traffic, one being a station wagon going very slowly for several miles. When we reached a straight stretch I started to pass. It started to turn left—only signaling then. By the time we got to Brookings I was thinking of camping one more night. The children and I were all really tired. I got gas in Brookings and then when we got to the North Bank Road drove out to Jedediah Smith State Park. I was sure it would be full, and it was even though it was only 3:30. We drove on back to 101 and south of Crescent City turned off at Mill Creek State Park. The road winds down into a canyon and they had vacancies. We paid $4, bought a Sunday paper and learned that there were no phones available. We drove on down to our assigned camp (134). I left Rebecca and Jeffrey there to put up the tent, left my watch and the comics with them and drove back to Crescent City with Clarke, who was asleep. Called Bob to tell him what we were doing. Drove back to camp, 16 miles round trip. The kids had the tent up and were talking to a little girl from the camp next to us. I sent her home and wished later I’d been a little more polite about it, especially after I found out that she’d helped set up the tent, but I didn’t need any more children at that point. I was proud of Rebecca and Jeff for coping so well and I’d been worried about leaving them for that length of time.

After dinner we walked down the road to where Mill Creek runs under it. It’s a nice creek, very cold, lots of minnows. Rebecca and Clarke went back to camp and put their suits on-both finally ducked down to shoulders. We went back to camp and I built a fire from twigs and some wood that had been left in the stove. I sat and read the paper while the children played. When it got dark I took Clarke to the restroom for a warm shower. He really liked that. It was his suggestion. The fog came in during the night and I got a big drip off the trees in one eye. But by the time we left in the morning it was sunny. The children fed chipmunks and Steller’s Jays, which were running all over. I had to chase the chipmunks off the table before the children got up.

We went through a lot of fog going down the coast, coming into sunlight on the hills. Shafts of sunlight came down through it now and then. We stopped at Trinidad and bought ice as Bob had said it was very hot inland, and we had some pepper bacon that Ben had given us. We stopped at Willow Creek and bought soda pop and then stopped at Gray Falls Campground near Burnt Ranch to eat lunch. Got to the ranch around 2:00 and it was very hot.Tuesday I did a lot of laundry, cleaned the pool and mowed the lawn.

Wednesday morning, while I was fixing breakfast, I saw a coyote in the orchard. It was eating apples. Looked kind of silly but I guess they have a varied diet. I think it might have young ones nearby as Tuesday, when I went up to clean the settling tub, I saw a shiny-backed, small, animal disappearing into the brush near the mossy maples.

We went into town Wednesday. I bought a few groceries, washed my hair and packed. At 3:00 I took the children over to Ohde’s. Linda was going to take them to the pool at Wood’s. I dropped an envelope at Flasher’s for Bob and continued out to the airport.

Flew to San Francisco and ate dinner there. Then left at 8:00 for Santa Rosa with stops at Concord and Napa. It was a beautiful evening with lots of purple hills and glittering waters. Sat next to a man who works in the Santa Rosa District Office of State Parks. He said Ben (my father) was practically a legend in State Parks. Got to the Santa Rosa Airport and found that my suitcase hadn’t arrived. There was a chance it might come in on the last flight but the driver from the motel had to get back so I left. The airlines person said he’d bring it to the motel if it came in, which it didn’t. My room was upstairs toward the back half of a suite. It had a hide-a-bed couch, a bed which folded down from the wall (with a moth-eaten blanket), a bar and an ice maker which made strange noises off and on through the night.
I washed out my underwear, took a shower and went to bed, hoping it wouldn’t fold up on me.

The next morning, after breakfast, I called the airport, told them to keep my luggage if it came in, and walked to the office. Our meeting in Rohnert Park was interesting but frustrating. Spent two hours with Georgia Pacific Company getting nowhere. Fred had to leave at 12:00, Bert at 2:00, and I at 3:00 so, at 3:00 we adjourned even though Louisiana Pacific offered to fly me where I wanted to go in their charter plane! Frances gave me a ride to the airport. I ate dinner in San Francisco and was home by about 8:30.

Bob had taken the children to Wood’s pool Wednesday night, their first time swimming there with lights on in the pool. Thursday they spent with Florence and Leonard.

Crater Lake, Nehalem 1976

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The children, Bob and I drove into Weaverville from the ranch on Saturday morning. Bob came out Friday night. Before we left I put poison barley in all the ground squirrel holes I could find. Now of course I know that’s not a great idea because things that eat ground squirrels can get poisoned.

The children and I left Weaverville Sunday morning a little after 8:00. I’d planned to get up at quarter to six but the alarm didn’t go off and I got up half an hour later. Then we had to get air in the tires before we left town. We stopped at Castle Crags and ended up eating an early lunch there around 11 as everyone was starved. We walked a little way up the River Trail and also tasted the sulfur water. From there we drove on up here to Crater Lake after getting gas in Klamath Falls and making a few other brief stops. We arrived around 3:00. We’re camped at Mazama Campground.

We found a reasonably private campsite (G1) and got the tent set up with only a few minutes of quandary when it appeared that one of the post sections was missing. Jeff found it after we’d substituted a cord tied to a tree. We ate dinner—green salad with a tomato and dressing while dinner was cooking on the prima stove. We went down for the campfire program, which fortunately was short. They have a really fancy screen with the projector from behind and even can have music. It went from 9:00 to 9:30. Oh, and yesterday afternoon after we’d set up camp we drove up to the rim so the children could see the lake. We heard the talk at Sinnott Overlook and I met a woman seasonal naturalist, Nancy F., who has been here 10 summers. She teaches in Eugene, Oregon. She was familiar with my name and said she’d heard only good things about me. Their uniforms now are more like the men’s—green slacks and jackets, Stetsons. I enjoyed meeting her. She seemed a person who took her work seriously.

I slept very little last night. Was very cold. Tonight I’m going to put a blanket between the mattress and me. The children all slept in the tent, which they love, and slept right through. It had rained here recently and was a little threatening looking when we first got here. (We had a tremendous thunderstorm Friday night when we were out at the ranch. Lightening striking across the river and downriver from us. Lots of rain also. The robin’s nest blew out of the apple tree and we found three babies on the ground. Two were dead. I buried the dead ones and we fed the live one a small worm and put it and the nest up in the tree house. We don’t know whether the parents came but it was still alive when we left. In Weaverville the mother quail was sitting on her nest.)

After breakfast we loaded a lot of the stuff into the car and the rest into the tent so it wouldn’t get wet in case of rain. Then we drove up to the rim. Bought film and postcards and left the rim as quickly as possible–jammed with people. Awful. We then drove around the rim. Made frequent stops to look at the lake and a couple of stops for the children to slide in the snow. There are still a number of large patches—dirty from hemlocks’ debris and road dust. We ate lunch at Whitebark Pine Picnic Area looking out at Mt. Scott. Had it all to ourselves. We made a quick walk up to Sun Notch and stopped at Vidae Falls for a picture. Got back to camp around 3:30.

The boys are grubbing around with their trucks in the dirt. Rebecca read for a while and now appears to have joined them. They really seem glad to be out of the car. These camps are among lodgepole pine and red fir and Mt. Hemlock, mostly lodgepole pine. We have no one on one side of us, someone about 150 feet away on the other (screened by trees) and someone across from us (semi-screened). The bathroom and water and garbage can are not far. Lots of birds-tanagers, Steller’s Jays. Saw a woodpecker feeding its young ones, robins, Clark’s Nutcrackers (much to Clarke’s delight). We saw a golden eagle from the overlook yesterday and gray jays on the rim today. All three children fed a Golden
Mantle Ground Squirrel. Before we went up to the rim this morning we walked through Castle Crest Garden. Not many flowers in bloom yet. Overall today we saw Elephant’s Head Pedicularis, Pussy Paws, Mt. Ash, Bleeding Hearts, Avalanche Lilies (near Sun Notch), Forget-me-nots, Dwarf Purple Monkey Flowers, Hellebore, Shooting Stars and others, including Indian Paintbrush and Western Pasque Flowers. We also drove down to the Pinnacles.

Saturday, July 24th: We’re in Florence, Oregon at a much too expensive motel–$26.00. Dinner was $10.60. Should have camped I guess but it was windy and cool and a motel is a big treat for the kids. They took a swim before dinner, sliding down the slide with a big splash. Clarke had to be caught by Rebecca. He paddled near the ladder where I sat. We ate at the same restaurant as last year—still just as slow service.

We had a pretty good time at Nehalem—not quite as hard on me as last year. Wednesday we went with Mary and Ben to Tillamook so they could buy groceries. It seemed to take forever, and we drove down to a park for a picnic, which we didn’t have until about 4 o’clock and children bickering. Cape Meares has thick brush with trails cut through it, paved of course. Lots of brush rabbits. There was a big rock covered with gulls and cormorants and guano. There was an old lighthouse on the point. We all pushed Mary up to the bathroom, which had bars in it, much to her relief. We all went, except Mary, up to look at what was called an octopus tree. It was a large Sitka Spruce with many large branches about 12 feet in circumference. The base of the tree was about 50 feet in circumference. Jeffrey and Clarke had gone up and Jeff came down to get me. So I went up and Clarke was up there, all by himself, perched on the fence singing loudly “I love to go a-wandering”. He had started a song about the spruce tree when I got there. I think he was singing so loudly because of being by himself. My brothers and I called our parents by their first names and, believe me, with every much respect as if we’d called them Mom and Dad.

Thursday I fixed a lunch and the children and I went up to Oswald West State Park. This place has a parking lot along the highway and you walk down to the beach through a beautiful spruce and hemlock forest. Lots of red elderberry, vine maples and ferns. Rebecca and Jeffrey ended up wet to their armpits from standing in the waves. Clarke and I got wet too—Clarke especially. We went up to where a waterfall runs into the ocean and found some tide pools. The children lifted a starfish off the rocks and put it in the ocean. We then went back and ate our lunch. Then back to the sea. It was a beautiful day and we all got a little sunburned. There were surfers and there were a number of boats off the coast.

When we got home we took Mary for a walk up the road.

Friday Bing called and said he and Pat would be down that evening. They were calling from Seattle. We took some cheese, crackers, apples, granola bars, etc. And went up to Ecola Beach State Park. At first it was foggy and cool but later warmed up. After lunch the kids and I went down to the beach. There were lots of little tide pools and we got some interesting shells. Met a man from Germany who had some young boys with him and I showed them how to put their fingers into sea anemones and have the anemones close over them. They were with a relative from British Columbia.

Bing and Pat arrived around 6:30. They brought lots of food including salmon, which Ben broiled with laurel wood. We had a delicious dinner. This morning Pat gave us all blueberries to have with our breakfast.

We left around 11:30. Stopped briefly at the Tillamook Cheese Factory. Decided at the last minute to stop at Newport at the Marine Biology Lab. The children enjoyed it and then we learned that their research ship was open until 4:00 and it was then quarter to 4:00. We ran over there, buffeted by a strong wind, and got on the ship. There was a long line. As we were going into the ship a little sailboat began to have problems and everyone stopped to watch. Eventually they capsized. They tried to right it but it tipped over the other way. This happened several times. Finally they both, a man and a boy, got on the hull and a small boat came alongside while the coastguard started out from the shore. The men in the small boat lifted the tip of the sail; the man pulled on the keel and it was up. With the coastguard hovering they turned around and headed up river. It was very exciting and we really didn’t get much out of the boat tour. We got to Florence around 5:30 and there wasn’t much available in motels. Anyhow, we’re here and tomorrow we’ll stop at the sand dunes and head for home.

I’m noticing that my writing is coming less frequently and that some slides seem permanently lost although I imagine they are someplace in my possessions. For instance, I can’t find any pictures for Crater Lake for this trip.