Sunday, August 15, 2021

Greetings From Quincy, Washington: The American West Is Burning---I Got To See It For Myself & If You Don't Care, Why Should I? & Medallion Renewal Reminder---September 15th, 2021 & 2 Poems From The Road

You Should Visit the Quincy Public Library 

Today, this Sunday, my two weeks tripping around California, Oregon and now eastern Washington ends, yet despite all the smoke I will be unhappy coming back to Seattle and the cab, lonely roads like Oregon State Routes 66 and 31, nearly vacant of traffic, don't make me relish once again negotiating Seattle's  packed streets and crowded freeways and its forever foolish, too stupid drivers.  Especially in Eastern Oregon, there were few people, and returning to dumbbell Seattle is depressing, a backward city touting its imaginary forwardness, featuring spiraling costs but little true urban ambiance---a sprawling suburban center minus coffee after 9:00 PM.  

And the local governance is about to worsen, if that is entirely possible, with two of the poorest mayoral candidates possible, the wimpish  Bruce Harrell versus the "always theoretical" M. Lorena Gonzalez.  Yikes!  Let me run for the New Mexico hills, explaining why I am now registered to vote in Grant County, New Mexico and not King County, ready to vote for the first honest rattlesnake I see shaking its telltale tail.  There is venom and then there is the "I can never make up my god damn mind " poison that is Seattle and King County politics.  Quick, provide me an antidote, I am dying!

But reflecting a bit upon my recent travels, I can make a few recommendations for those traveling in and around north California and eastern Oregon, adding some pleasure to the drive.  If coming up from California, and thinking about exploring eastern Oregon, take State Route 66 eastbound beginning just north of Ashland proper and enjoy the quick accent up a twisting mountainside road, taking you first to the Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument, an interesting meeting of climate zones, and where, if you have the time, take a stroll down that part of the Pacific Crest Trail.  From there you are eventually going to descend into the Klamath River Valley, the road crossing that great river a few times.  It is very nice country, especially in and around the tiny burg of Keno, Oregon.  Though before you've turned off of 1-5 at Ashland, first make sure you stopped at the wonderful mountain town of Shasta City, California, buying provisions at the Berryvale Grocery Natural Foods, then enjoying a picnic at the Sacramento River Headwaters city park.  Great place to rest up and fill those empty water containers. Just head north down the main street and look for the entrance taking you across the railroad tracks, turning left.  

Continuing east like I did,  on SR 66, you will eventually connect with State Route 140, and the roadway taking you to Lakeview, Oregon.  It was along that road eastbound that I began wearily noticing the biggest smoke plume I will ever want to see rising ahead of me to the northeast.  Expecting at any time to be stopped by the local police, the still open roadway took me ever closer until I was about 2-4 miles away from a smoky blaze consuming a mountainside.  A giant orange flame, like a kind of big, hungry animal, bit into the forest. I even got to witness airplanes dropping fire retardant, the pilots bravely swooping into  smoky, wind driven clouds.  It was dramatic, a prime time movie minus the theater, no ticket required.  No, I don't want to see the sequel. 

After gassing up in Lakeview, I continued north on Hwy 395 to State Route 31 and Paisley, Oregon and the Chewaucan River, a favorite of mine from two previous trips. Unfortunately, fire had scorched the hillsides forming the river canyon, saddening me, certainly not pleased to see the many blackened trees.  My favorite campgrounds closed, and anyway, with the road also officially closed, I pulled off  and slept above the Chewaucan, the sky clear despite lingering smoke, a breeze cooling down the heated air. 

A note on camping:  Camping is cheaper and oft times free.  Both with her and alone and camping a total of nine nights, I paid a total of $18.00.  Think of all the fresh air and the pleasure of battling mosquitos. It's worth it, camping out in the great outdoors. 

Only a Fool continues to Care

While I will still mildly advocate when necessary, I have decided it is futile to care when no one else does, because, short of a class-action law suit, nothing it appears will compel any of the involved actors to do anything whatsoever to improve taxi customer service while also providing much needed justice for the cab drivers.  It is now that I declare, like everyone else, that I will cease to care to whatever happens to all those passengers never receiving their requested cab, missing jobs and airplane flights and everything else. 

Why care?  I have yelled enough, alerting everyone to problems that never end.  If the City and County fail to heed my warnings, well, so they do, having other matters on hand, like seriously submitting my writing and departing the taxi asylum.  I want to get out of the cab and Seattle, lingering much longer obviously a big, personal mistake.  Then I will no longer write what "she-who-can't-be-named" calls "that damn blog."  Yeah, I am ready to go.  As some might remember, she is the one who encouraged me to start writing it.  The truth is she wants me out of the cab as much I want to be gone.  It's unhealthy and besides, I've grown "long in the taxi tooth," time to pull these yellowish fangs.  Good idea.

30 More Days to Renew your Taxi Medallion

The end date is September 15th.  I say this because I have yet to renew YC 1092's medallion.  I'll get to it within the next two weeks, and I suggest you do the same.  Don't wait to the last moment. 

2 Poems

Coming Home to Tolstoy

Moving my camp to the Russian olive tree,

I am home, we discovering and naming this site

Tolstoy, the tree bordering the south side of Quincy

Lake, in 1989, and now memories of me and you,

always seeing you, there you are swimming

far out into the lake, watching you from the shore.


In the Marsh

Whirling forward, a concentrated swooping mass, excited dunlins 

instant feathered acrobats, the marsh their circus ring,

and godwits and avocets and sanderlings too winging shore to air

to water and back again and again,

all chittering, chattering, talking, warning  "look! look out above you! 

watch out! those harriers wanting lunch!"

the harriers sudden lethal missiles but missing

the sharp turning zigzagging dunlins, backs flashing sunlight,

all avoiding harrier talons five, ten, fifteen minutes more until 

their adversaries giving up, everyone now nervously happy as  

brown pelicans slowly glide down to their communal island.

"Did anything just happen? they ask, their friends replying, 

"No, No, only another pleasant Tuesday afternoon in the marsh."   


The actors in this real life drama:

Dunlin (calidris alpina)

American  Avocet (curvirostra americana)

Marbled godwit. (limosa fedoa) 

Sanderling (calidras alba)

Marsh hawk or Northern harrier (cirens cyaneus) 

Brown pelican (pelecanus accidentalis)

The stage was the Arcata Marsh, Arcata, California. 




  1. A backward city. Touting its imaginary forwardness, a TRUE BELLY LAFFER, Perfect encapsulation

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