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Day 7

Hard to believe that by this day I had only been in the USA for a week.

I suppose it counts as a week given the first day was 3 days long or something. The morning started with the usual. Delicious breakfast by Tammy and I was learning how to make my own coffee by this stage I think. Or at least I knew how long to leave it until I pressed the plunger down. Heidi's houses and their adorableness had fully seeped into my innards. My stuff started to be all over the place. I felt at home. Finally convinced Rosie to give me a detailed tour of her vege gardens, complete with umbrellas for the hot weather. Pretty amazing since she swears this was her first vege garden. Everything looked so perky. Was it the carrots you were going to have to mow Rosie?

More agility. Suddenly everything didn't seem so scary. PiePie stopped crashing everything trying to understand what I was asking him, I stopped throwing him around in a washing machine. We actually did things with grace and wow, was he the most magnificent to handle when it was so lovely. I remember getting heart eyes the whole day when I looked at him. I thanked him profusely at our stock tank. I told him it was very kind of him to do jumpy-dog so carefully for me while I learnt how to wave my arms in time with my feet and run smoothly-fast-slow. He made a noise back at me that sounded a lot like Aslan.

This day also had CrackPug. My fave. Also all the dogs that ran in the afternoon turned out to be my fave. Later in the day trip to Portland!

Together 😍😍😍

These ponies hilarious and perfect

Righto where are we up to? Day 6

I love that this is going to take me about a year to write, my memories probably blurrier and blurrier as time goes on. By day 20 I'll be confusing it with a trip to Tasmania I took as a kid or something.

Onwards

Day 6 was further Agilities with Tori. I tried to help by the day by making more watermelon salad so that I could eat more watermelon salad. Sadly it just wasn't the same when I made it.

I got to meet Mary this day, one of the nicest people ever. I got to see Rumble and Rosie together on the field and they are such a great team when I hear they never practice. I would be so so crap if i never practiced. I remember Naomi bringing Addie and being amazed how super adorable she is. She's a show stopper. Everyone was super sweet.

Another casualty for the seminar was Jennifer who had her horrific crash the day before.
She asked me if I would run Flyte. Flyte is like a little tinier Badger, so so similar. I think I described her as like wearing comfortable pajamas. I was certainly not perfect handling her but I learnt some key things from Tori to be put away in my mind for future use.

Now HotPie. You scary Muthafukka. I just today finally got the courage to watch the video Tammy had taken of us. And yep, it was as bad as I thought. In the video I can see why, it's totally obvious but of course at the time I had never run a Hotpie before and I didn't have the luxury of watching myself and man it was hot that day. It's all the little things that come together after years of working together. How far to put him from the start line, is it ok his stand-stay is a bit sideways, does Tammy mind if I reward him anyway even if he missed that weave pole, Oh yep he WILL powerfully come in and grab that tug (how do I now stop him from breaking his neck?), what does he need to know to slow down? And you can imagine all of the same stuff is going on in his mind, where is she going? Did she just say go? Why doesn't she know my backside cue? Man she has long dangly arms, Woah Whoa I think she's changing sides... abort abort. Our second day together went pretty much as woefully as our first plus the courses were more difficult but credit to both Pie and I, we soldiered on. We have some things in common me and Pie, our legs and our love of agility despite its challenges, stock tanks and liking Tammy. We bonded over our common likes that day.

This was the day though that I learnt what I had come over to learn. How to slow down. I know that sounds weird but it's something I really struggle with and with Tori's help it became really clear what I needed to do.

That night I think we all passed out in the lounge room. It had been a big hot day. I started eating a lot of berries that night. So effing delicious. And I think I helped put the chickens away with Rosie. Probably should also note that Heidi's garden seemed the most amazing that day.

Day 5. Agility and watermelon salad

I don't know how I managed to kick Rosie out of her room for my stay but I did.  I scored Fred too.  And then when I woke up in the morning Tammy made us breakfast. A full cooked breakfast with choices. We ate with Dawn and Tori and Tammy and Rosie and Sarah and Heidi and I remember being very sleepy.  This whole day was a bit of a blur really.  I think I finally took a breath and that made me quite dumb.  I just have snatches of memories from this day so this post will be less coherant than normal.

I remember a berry breakfast omelette thing that was incredible.  I remember Cake ceremoniously bringing me a bit of toy because she thought she would like to play now.  Said my goodbyes to Dawn who had driven me a bazillion miles to go everywhere.  Sent her back to whence she came.  Somehow the seminar started and I chuckled at the adorable umbrellas because sooooo Tammy.  I think this was when we found out Jennifer had rolled her caravan. Absolutely shocking.



I loved auditing the first session because watching dogs in real life that you have only seen on the internet is both odd and completely familiar.  Everyone was very good and people were lovely to chat to me despite feeling a bit shy. Then Heidi blew up her knee and I was very kindly offered Dove to run.  I was extremely lucky and although she thought my accent was horrible we eventually got a little thing going on and she worked very nicely for the Australian.  She was very much like running a strong butterfly. Her little feathers on her back legs were my favorite.

Lunch break, delicious.  Watermelon salad I've never had before.  Bloody delicious.  It had bits of feta in it and mint.  Holy crap so good.

Then the afternoon I had a go at running Hotpie.  Holy wows that was a learning curve.  The pressure of the owner watching you potentially break their dog is enormous.  The fact that Tammy let me run him is amazing.  I was overawed by his hugeness and that thing inside many of us about not wanting to publicly embarrass yourself.  It's also very distracting to run a dog that good looking.  You don't think about that but Badge is very ummm sweet but plain, whereas running Hifi is like running a super model.  It's hard not to get distracted by that.  Plus he runs completely differently to Badge.  Like I've always said Badge is like a little dirtbike whereas Hifi really was like running Aslan. 

I've told you about this confidence hit because it sets the scene for a nice story of overcoming adversity in later days. 

Tori was a lovely teacher, that was one thing I worried about because I'm very bad when other people tell me what to do.  I have to be selective with my instructors because most I click with but a good deal of them I don't and I want to punch them.  I didn't want to punch Tori at all and I learnt a lot.  She has a very calming presence.  That comes across online as well, like there is a rock inside of Tori that is unshakable, unwaivering.  It's cool.

During all of this I kept sneaking back to the lunch table and eating more watermelon salad.  Even offering to clean up the leftovers in order to eat the remaining bowl of watermelon salad.

I think that night we went and bought an air conditioner.  I remember how normal it felt to be going shopping with Tammy because after all we had done this a million times hadn't we? I was still at the stage of being amazed by everything American like the shorts I tried to buy being in sizes I couldn't comprehend and carts for overweight people.  Here is Tammy stealing one so that we can use it as a trolley



I can't remember anything else that night. I'm sure we ate something crazy good.

I slept well that night with my Fred friend panting beside me.




Leaving Sam and Butters and Emily was a sad affair.  Sam ate my finger and Butter's grinned at me.  Emily justed gave sweet Badger faces with cute squinty eyes.





Drank the Lithia water.  Horrible.  Why did anyone ever first drink mineral spring water? Everything about it says don't drink the fucking water.  I did not feel any health benifits by drinking the liquid horror.







Thankfully Micheal made this crazy good breakfast for us at his fancy work.  I've actually never eaten something so good for breakfast.  That french toast was like no other french toast I've had.  A++++



We got to see deer walking the streets in Ashland and the Co-op of food store where all the enzymes live in food.  It really was a very pretty town.

Then off to Crater Lake.  I'm so grateful Dawn took me to this wonder of the world.  It was touristy but one of those things that later gets absorbed in your being and understanding of the world. The walk up to a lookout was narrow and looked as though you would just fall right down into the crater.  It scared me. I'm not into high things that much.  Dawn on the other hand has no fear whatsoever of high things and was happily scampering around while I gripped onto each rock a little harder than I had to.  Dawn certainly is made of tough things.

I don't remember what we were pointing at here:





The smoke from nearby fires started to creep into the crater and within an hour you couldn't see the other side of the crater.  We were very lucky with our timing.

Fuck it, i'm not turning this picture around.  I'm really angry with how shit LJ is for pictures now.



I mean snow.  Fires going on.. and snow.  This is so stupid.  This is a snow woman because she had big titties



So epic







After some lessons in ice axing, something you would only get on a Dawn trip, we headed down down down in elevation and got further and further north.  We stopped at a lake and there were the most fish I have ever seen.





More and more north, we arrived at Heidi's at about dinner time or even later if I remember. It was a funny feeling to finally meet The Real Life Tammy, Rosie, Heidi and Tori.  Mindblowing until you realised they were exactly the same as what they are on LJ.  Everyone exactly the same.

When we almost arrived I had an odd feeling of wanting to run back to Dawn and Michael's.  I'd had such a great time and I didn't want things to get weird or difficult.  It hit me that these people could be nothing like I thought.  Luckily within 10 minutes of meeting everyone I realised I had nothing to worry about.  Everyone was as easy and as nice as what I had expected.

Day 3, still amazing

I remember waking up and feeling great. So great.  I could hear Michael and Dawn making jokes to each other from their tent.  It was just like when they were there at Wilsons Promontory except without the rain and the leeches.  Emily snuffled her way into my tent at some point.  She is such a sweet heart and such a Badger.  Little hairy love snufflers those two.

The campfire was reignited by just looking at it. Standard practice I now understood.  This video was actually from the night before but I don't want to lose it so I'll put it here



The rest of the morning was spent waking up, filtering water, washing out last night's mug of marshmallow chocolate drink, only to remember mashmallows float and the sort of floated all over the pristine lake until the weird little red fish with legs (salamanders?) ate them.  I worried I'd created a diabetic generation of legged fish but there was no way of scooping them back.

The night before we had met the oddest hiker I've ever seen.  She was possibly not from our planet.  Immaculate, clean, precise and well, unworldly.  She wasn't made of real person things.  The only way I can describe her is if you imagine yoga and a Japanese tea ceremony and that was your life, whilst hiking.  Every movement was considered. She rejected my offer of our left over wine from last night.  Australians, so brash, so alcoholic. I'm glad I reinforced any stereotype she had.  Her response, said under her breath, was that she didn't want to introduce any toxins into her body but thank you.  I had an overwhelming urge to see if I wiped my muddy hand on her face if the dirt would just shed off her when she would chasse off into the wilderness.

We waved our goodbyes to AlienGirl and continued to filter water at the stream.  We lowered the bar on all activities from that point forward:



We walked up a (I don't know what you call this sort of landscape feature? A lake-to-lake-dribble-valley?) to see the little lake that ran into Payne's lake.  It was so cute up there, so hidden and gorgeous.  Emily was pleased we could play more stick in the water.








And then we headed back the way we had come.  It was hot but I didn't die, not even a bit.  How amazing are these drop offs?



When we got back to the car we found more PCT hikers to take back down to town.  This time two girls, an American and a Turrrkish maybe girl.  They were not aliens from another planet.  They were normal and dusty and couldn't wait to eat burgers.  We also ate burgers.  It was a million degrees back down at the town.  It was a truely great burger.  I could have eaten 100 of these burgers.  Everything so fresh and delicious.  They couldn't understand anything when I ordered despite me trying to use all the right words like 'fries' and 'ketchup' and 'thanks'.  I can't really have an accent that heavy.

My memory is a bit blurry after this point.  I must have drifted into the afternoon dizzy phase of jetlag.  I remember we got back to Dawn and Michael's, I remember playing with Sam.  I remember seeing their vege garden.  I remember going to get icecream with Dawn.  We went through a roundabout.  We watched TV and Michael promised he would make us an easy dinner which turned into deluxe gourmet complex dinner that was insanely delicious.  That is one thing I keep remembering about this trip, freshness.  All the food was so tasty and fresh.

That Afternoon

Full of pancakes and coffee my caffine and sugar fueled system could almost overide the trepidation of climbing mountains with people who climb mountains for breakfast.  All I do is eat breakfast. I've been practicing that all my life.  Sadly the eating part was over.

We picked up a heavily scented PCT hiker from Germ..any? I think I'm remembering that right.  Before this point in time I really didn't have any thoughts about the PCT.  I haven't seen the movie.  I haven't read the books.  Someone told me about a hike that went up through most of America and some girl took a dog. I'd forgotten that story.  So this was all novel. Who is this guy and why are we picking him up? Dawn and Michael sure love hitch hikers.  Guten tag, Ich bin Penny.  Oh you speak perfect english.  G'daaaay maaaaate.

We stopped and he wandered off down the side of a mountain.  Bye bye German. Righto onto our hike. Boy it was hot already.  I did start to get really nervous now because I don't do so well in the heat and big long climbs can knock me around.  I had to keep remembering I could just be the slow horrible Australian making Dawn and Michael have to stop all the time.  Like an International Charity Case, and I'd live with it and it would be ok.

Up we went but everything was fine because I kept stopping to take photos and they would say "This is the boring part" and I would deny that it could get better than this because it was so woodsy! so many piney trees! so many plants that were so cool.  Geez you guys can do woodsy so good.  I just love it.

So called "Boring bit", Not at all boring.



Like a painting, a painting done by someone in the Northern Hemisphere! Look at the lichen.  Wows.



Snow.  How could this be boring?



We even lost the track so we got to bounce around like Mountain goats finding it again.  Cute to watch these two work together under pressure.  As someone who cannot understand how teamwork could possibly work, marriages that stay together equally perplex me.  People can be mad and then not mad.  Facinating.



They finally admitted it was getting less boring. 



Going the full goat track.  I love your goat tracks, they are special.  See that storm dropping over the far mountains? Cue Dawn speed hiking to the tree cover. 



We made it down to the lake with plenty of time to set up, swim and I could go poking around for things.  The campsite was unreal. Like a movie set.  Little rock ringed camp sites, big trees and all next to an adorable lake.  I expected 'tribal council' to happen at any moment. 

The next bizzare thing was Michael building a fire out of bark.  The whole thing just caught and no one had to try very hard at all. Just piles of bark.  How? This makes no sense to me. 

All of this was like nothing I'd ever seen:





Slept like a brick. 

Oregon trip - Day 2 but just the morning


I'm back.  Who knows for how long but I'm continueing on from last post that was many times ago.

We planned on getting up early but there was none of that when it came to it thankfully.  I woke up at 7am USA time and from that moment on I was an AMERICAN. I'd just get a little dizzy and sleepy in the afternoons but other than that my body clock was completely inverted to weirdo northern hemisphere times. 

We got ready, filled up water bottles, played some under-the-donna-there-is-a-mouse-ouch-shit-you-can-get-your-claws-through-blanket-lets-stop-that-game with Sam and headed to a place for breakfast.  All the American things happened here. This whole picture is 110% American.  Even that water.  Who wants chilled water for breakfast? Americans.  That bacon: Hard.  That butter: Whipped.  Those sauces: Plentiful and free.  Those pancakes: Enormous.  That table: Laminex

Non-stop coffee not pictured.



Damn I really love these two, seeing this today made me want to cry a bit. Coffee: pictured



Checking out our hike. Started to worry about elevation gain but turned out nothing to worry about. My body loves to get hiiiiiggggghhh so higgghhhh



Up there is a where we were going, maybe?


Emily and I enjoying the scenery from the back seat.




We stopped at a Ranger's station (also THE MOST AMERICAN THING I'VE EVER SEEN) to see if we would catch on fire on our hike.  Nope.  Then asked if we could start a fire on our hike and the ranger are all 'yeah go for it'.  As an Australian this made absolutely no sense to me. Little did I know fire was to become a feature of this trip.

Look at those animals! So American! So Not Southern Hemisphere!



Later ... the afternoon. 

Oregon trip - The biggest Monday

This Monday deserves its own post because it never ended.  I flew out of Melbourne at 10am and arrived at in San Fransico at 9am on the same Monday.  I didn't really sleep on the plane, possibly because it's impossible to sleep when you are travelling back in time.  It's just one of those things.

The energiser bunnies (I hope those ads are a worldwide thing) of Dawn and Michael and dog Emily picked me up at the airport after leaving their place at 2am that morning, so all three (+Emily) of us were in a great state.  That's when the coffee intake began in full force for me.  On Dawn and Michael's advice: Feeling sleepy? Drink more coffee.  Feeling wistful? Drink more coffee.  Almost got hit by a car by not looking the right way when you cross the road? Drink more coffe.  I'd highly recommend this approach because it worked 100%.

So we drove out of San Fran in the Matrix, the wind in our respective hairs and Dawn astounded that I hadn't finished my tiny coffee after half an hour.  We had a deadline.  We were going to make it over the border that night to Oregon (350miles/560kms).  It seemed a good idea.  With a stop at the famous Avenue of the Giants (add another 100 miles).  Approximately an hour or so in we also decided to add a trip to the coast at Mendocino (add 70 miles).  And so our trip went from a possible 6 hours to 10 hours.  Then add roadworks and stops to drive through trees and you eventually end up in Talent, Oregon juuuuussssst before midnight on Monday.   So my Monday was sort of 40 hours long.  The whole day felt like a dazy party.


Bye bye Sydney airport and Qantas kangaroos


In between this photo and the next photo there was Mendocino with clam chowder (with the proud advertisement of 150 clams per vat!  I assume this is a good measure of clam chowder quality?). Clam chowder is indeed delicious with this many clams per vat.  The coast was cool and grey.  This was to become a common theme when it comes to 'the coast'.  Anywhere that wasn't 'the coast' was hot and hot, which was great because I had come straight out of winter and I like hot, especially on holidays.

Dawn and I in a Redwood Giant.  So many giants.

Being Australian I was incapable of mastering the bear bins.  The Americans watching me just smiled. Michael gave me an education.



That is one big root mass.  Dawn and Michael are so very funny.  It's probably been about 2 years or more since they came to Australia, possibly 4 years, I'm not sure.  But we just picked up from where we left off and those two make my belly laugh so hard. My face hurts to be around them.



We took another detour to pay $5 for the privilage to drive through a tree.



Here we are arriving in Talent on the biggest Monday.

Being back

What a marvelous time I had on holidays.  More than marvelous, exceptionally marvelous.  I'm struggling to work out how to write about it but I might just slowly trawl through the days one by one to drag out the joy.  That could be a fun thing.

It's funny how you get back from a great time and want to make every day of your life as great as that time.  And you can't nor should it be.  The joy of amazing things comes from being completely suprised by it and without some of the ordinary and mundane it would never pale in comparison.  What I found to be a take home message was that getting older (or not being young) doesn't mean I need to lay down and be bored/boring.  So many women doing amazing things.

Dogs have been good and are not broken or too fat.  The neighbor accidentally set fire to the fence while I was away but luckily Mum put it out with the hose (and she conveniently hosed their sound system which they play very annoying loud music on.  Good job Mum).  Someone ran into the back of my car but that is all organised and off to the repairers in a week's time.  All in all nothing serious.

One last day off and then back to work tomorrow.  Luckily we have some agility fun with friends on Wednesday night to keep me pushing through.

And look who is here? We must have crested the hump of winter

Getting on a plane

So on a plane I get.

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