Two years ago this past August, my mother and I ventured on a cross country trek in my brother’s Jeep across Canada. We drove west from southwestern Ontario to Vancouver, BC over the course of two weeks, and then down to northern California to meet up with the men in our family. The following are taken from emails I wrote to family and friends.
Day 17: Thursday, August 16, 2012
What a day. Got up within the four o’clock hour, left Ghetto Motel and hopped on HWY 5 South to Portland, Oregon. Didn’t really think we had time to stop and walk around, so we drove through some neighbourhoods to gather a sense of the city… and to put a bird on it.
Continued south to Eugene to visit Hayward Field at University of Oregon. I come from a family of runners and so there was the need to see where legend Prefontaine got his start… and unfortunately his end – tragic car accident
by way of bendy roads and a rock (nearby) in 1975. We visited the site. A lot of runners leave their race numbers, medals, etc., behind as tokens.
Thought we would meet up at Grant’s Pass with our men folk, but decided we would go on ahead to look for a campsite. By this point in the day (2:30 pm) they were only estimated to be 45 minutes behind us. When we got 10 km out of Jedidiah National Park, we asked another ranger of a different campground if there were even sites available. We were told there were only three left (and that was an hour prior). So instead of continuing on, we thought we would wait at the side of HWY 199.
We waited. Waited. Listened to our Wally Lamb audio book, did our nails. And waited some more. We waited for an hour and a half and decided to turn back to see if we could meet them on the highway. 15 minutes in and there they were! Four together, in formation, zipped right by. Jonathan was the one to recognize the Jeep, as we hoped and figured he would be. As soon as we processed we had passed them I noticed the ‘tire flat’ symbol lit up on the dash – didn’t know at that moment that that is what it was, until we saw the numbers in the dash representing the pressure in our back right wheel go down… We quickly turned around, and found a safe place to pull over. Keeping in mind we’re hugging a rock face on the one side and a cliff on the other. A little stressful. Luckily, we found a place and Jason and Jonathan showed up and they went to work to put the spare on. Turns out we drove over a drill bit.
So good to see them. Mom and I were immediately turned into therapists and listened patiently and attentively to their trials and stressors of their trek. Dad and uncle Peter soon showed up. The men are looking rough, long hair and beards, festering wounds which were once assumedly road rash, very swollen joints, etc. My 6’3 uncle looks like a giant hobbit right now (found out month’s later he had two broken legs, after he had ridden to visit his sister North of L.A. and after he had flown all the way back to Ontario).
We decided to stay at Patrick Lodge here in northern California. Beautiful place, built in 1926. Had a swim last night (continuing to out lap my previous swims – I see a podium in my future) and a great dinner. And today we are going to travel on the Redwood Highway to see some, drum roll please, REDWOODS.