Sunday, October 26, 2008

Sequoia National Park

A couple nights ago, I helped Oscar fulfill another of his canine dreams. I took him to see the worlds largest living thing . . . a tree . . . a very, BIG, tree . . . "General Sherman" in the Sequoia National Park.

Getting to "General Sherman" required 20 miles of continuous switchbacks at 10mph climbing to nearly 8000 feet elevation.
But the climb was worth it. Oscar couldn't believe the size of that giant. The trees he saw in the Redwoods may have been taller, but the amount of space taken up by the 275 foot General Sherman makes it the most massive living thing on the planet! He was speechless. Here's a view of the tree from far away . . . it's the one in the middle and it's more than a football field away, across a field.

Soon, we were settled down at camp. As Oscar soaked up the view, I relaxed with a good book.All of a sudden, Oscar put on his "big dog growl" just as a large, hungry coyote was about 50 feet from us . . . As I stood up, the coyote saw me and ran back to the road, turning around for another look at what he figured was just a foo foo dog on a rope waiting to be eaten. Little did he know he'd be mixing it up with the Sasquatch killer, Oscar the Brave! (after this encounter, I put Oscar in the trailer for the coyote's safety)
We didn't let a wild animal spoil our trip to the sequoias. Two of Oscar's favorite things were walking through a tree . . .and driving between two of the Giant Sequoias on our way down the long, winding road. You can see the Wonder Egg liked it too! (The trailer looks like a toy next to those giant trees)

More of the Oliver Travel Trailer family

Oscar is saying farewell to Steve and Elizabeth, of Sacramento, CA. Lifelong campers, they picked up their Oliver in July and look forward to heading out to the great American outdoors in style . . . Steve will be using it to attend astronomical viewings, far away from light sources and up where the air is clear.

Now, Oscar is saying hello to Roger and Pat, of Lake Havasu City, AZ. As we were topping off with fresh water, another Oliver pulled up beside us! This is a very unusual event since Olivers have only been for sale about a year and their numbers are still growing . . . Oscar made such a hit he's been invited to their house for a stopover! We'll be going there tonight! The Oliver Travel Trailer "family" sure is a friendly one.


Thursday, October 23, 2008

Two amazing women and the wonder dog . . .

As Oscar & I camped beneath the redwoods, he struck up a conversation with two amazing ladies in the campsite next to ours. Doris was a retired owner of a health food store in Germany, and Ann was a biologist from England who was on a year's sabbatical. They were long distance cyclists who met just that day on the road. Ann was following the coastal highway from Seattle, WA and I think Oscar said Doris' epic started in Boston, MA!! They carried all they needed for food and shelter in saddle packs on their bikes. My hat is tipped to these determined women. Ann had a slightly injured knee, so we gave her a lift down the road a bit to help her catch up to another friend. As we motored down through the redwoods, Ann and I could hear Oscar muttering something about how big and strong HE could be. All of a sudden, his paw hit the window down button and he LEAPED out of the rear window yelling "Hiiiiiiyakaaaa!!!" I pulled the Wonder Egg over and we could hear a loud rustling coming from the bushes. Then out comes Oscar, proudly displaying his death defying capture of the ever elusive Sasquach! That's right, ladies, and gentleman, Bigfoot has been captured, stuffed, and mounted by none other than Oscar the Brave. We even have the picture to prove it. (Thanks, Ann) This bear cub wanted to have his picture taken with "Oscar, the Bigfoot Wrestler" so he'd have proof to show his bear buddies.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

So many Redwoods . . . So little time . . .

Poor Oscar. I had him blow into a brown paper bag to stop hyperventilating after telling him about the Redwoods. I almost had to give him the bag again as we entered the forest, but he said he could handle it.

Our first night amongst the Giants was at Jedediah Smith State Park, where we relaxed in the evening to some Native American flute music and Irish whistle whafting through the trees.

Then we moved down to the Humbolt Redwoods State Park, along the Avenue of Giants!
Oscar couldn't stand it . . . he grabbed the leash, put it on and said "Times wasting Pete! Let's get a move on!!!" Off we went through a doggy heaven of 600-700 year old trees everywhere you could lift a leg.

Here were two of Oscar's favorites. He'll have happy dreams for years just thinking of them!He looked so proud standing next to this one - like he was claiming it for his own!

On the way back to the campsite, Oscar found this cool tree that started to grow waaaaaay back in 1148 AD. It was 300 feet tall and 839 years old when it fell in 1987. It weighed 650,000 lbs!!!! That's an awful lot for a 13 lb dog to water . . . Oscar was sure he'd be up to the task. (yeah, right)
So that was our trip to the Redwood Forest. It is very humbling to walk among these giant sentinels who have stood firm over the test of time. Kind of puts our brief moments on earth in perspective. We'd better make the best of them. Oscar & I are working on it . . . time to head eastbound, towards home . . .

Monday, October 20, 2008


OK, OK already . . . I know it's been a long time since the last post and you're wondering if Oscar has been eaten by a bear or coyote. Nawww! He's been enjoying the beautiful state of Oregon. So much to show!

First of all, did you know Howard Hughes' wooden plane, the Spruce Goose, is in a museum in McMinnville, OR? The largest plane that ever flew . . . that's me, the tiny figure below the open door.

This area of the world has been recently discovered to be prime vineyard country . . . folks are buying up land left and right putting in grapes and making some very competitive wines. Oscar prefers the Pinot Noir. I told him he was too young to drink but he insisted that in dog years he was 28 years old . . .

Here are some photos we took as we traveled throughout this land of visual delights . . .

Oscar wasn't too sure about sitting on this high, steep overlook. He got over it when I promised him a "Greenie" treat. He felt a lot better when we went on down to the water's edge.
After seeing these fishing vessels, he kept begging me to trade in the Wonder Egg for a boat so he could become a sea captain and chase whales . . .That idea lasted until he discovered there were real LIONS that lived in the ocean! (sissy, foo-foo dog that he is) Here are a few sleeping on the docks. They lolled around snoring and making noises as the escaping air made their lips flap. Scary, Oscar . . . real scary . . .

I told him there was a real cool spot on the coast called "The Devil's Punch Bowl" that we just had to see. Oscar wasn't too sure he liked the sound of that, so I held him tightly and he wasn't too afraid of the crashing waves.He was doing OK until the devil sent a big one crashing ashore while Trisha held Oscar . . . that was enough for him!!!
To calm him down, we drove to Silver Falls State Park where you could view 10 different water falls over a 7 mile hike in the woods . . . it was just what Oscar needed to stop having bad dreams about the devil chasing him.

After saying goodbye to Oscar's new best friends, Trisha, Munueka, and Eddie, we headed on down highway 101 . . .
where we found a pirate's cove (Drat! Now, Oscar is saying "AARRGGHH" all the time!)

A bit further down the coast, we met Bob and Jacquie, from Manhattan Beach, CA. Jacquie took this great photo of Oscar & me at Arch Rock. Oscar's a bit sad because we're about to leave the Pacific coastline and he just doesn't see stuff like this on the Atlantic or the Gulf of Mexico . . .
But things soon picked up for him when we entered into California and I told him all about the REDWOODS!!! That little dog got so excited he started hyperventilating at the thought of the big trees of the redwood forest. Go figure . . .

Sunday, October 12, 2008


Oscar & I have had a great time with our friends in Seattle, WA. The scenery was magnificent (when the fog and clouds lifted) as we could clearly see Mt Ranier in one direction and the Olympic Mountains in the other. Oscar enjoyed playing with Mitsy and Abbey (the Twin Towers) who wanted to see what Oscar was into at every moment.

Here's the view we saw every night from the back porch. Oscar especially liked the "Space Needle" and kept asking when it would take off.
These are Oscar's new best friends with which we enjoyed a wonderful international meal. Tonight's quisine came from Nova Scotia . . . . it was all unique and flavorful. Although Oscar was not able to find many table droppings, he sure did enjoy a bunch of new laps all evening long.

Oscar and I said goodbye to Jaimie and Londi, thanking them for their outstanding hospitality before departing Seattle . . .

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Fort Worden, WA - guns, wind and waves . . .

Waaaay up on the easternmost tip of the Olympic Peninsula, north of Port Townsend, WA, Oscar and I found Fort Worden. A strategic outpost from long ago, Fort Worden's weapons protected the water approaches into our nation. One of the disappearing guns of the Kinzie Battery required 51 men to operate the massive canon which could hurl a 1000 lb armor piercing shell 8 miles!

As the Wonder Egg cozied up against the sand dunes, Oscar noted a tall sparsely appointed tree and asked what happened to all the other branches. The answer came in the middle of the night when gale force winds whipped through the area gusting up to 50 mph! The Wonder Egg's curved body allowed the harsh wind to slide effortlessly around without any significant shaking . . . nice. (Some of our neighbors in straight sided "stick built" trailers were a-rockin' and a-rollin' all night long)

Down on the beach, we could see some bits of driftwood. Oscar wanted to go down and investigate.
He discovered those weren't just any old pieces of driftwood . . . this was the mother-of-all-driftwood . . . large trees that had washed ashore. Boy, was he impressed.

As we walked along, Oscar said "Hey Pete, I wanna buy a surfboard to ride the BIG wave!" then he ran over to a sign we never see near San Antonio . . .

I tried telling Oscar that the guy in the picture wasn't going surfing . . . he was still determined to get a surfboard, dog paddle out, and wait for "the BIG one." To get his mind off that idea I had to distract him by walking down to the Point Wilson Lighthouse where we saw what he claimed had to be "The biggest flashlight in the world!" (At least he got tsunami-surfing off his mind)

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Mount Hood to Portland . . .

Oscar and I have had a wonderful time in Hood River the past few days. Filled with fishing on the Columbia river with Steve (who was on a men's retreat with guys from his church when this photo was taken), walking the hills of Hood River and enjoying the town, riding along the Fruit Loop and , most of all, hanging out with family. Here are Holly and the kids, Zach, Torie, and Sophie. Oscar really enjoyed running around with his dog cousins.

On the way to Portland, Oscar kept looking up at the steep cliffs in The Gorge and commenting on the beautiful waterfalls along the way. After enough of his Ooooohhhing and Aaaaaaahhhing I had to pull over at Multnomah Falls to let him get it all out of his system. It was very pretty and when Oscar finally settled down, we continued on to Portland.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

"Look, Pete! Trees! TALL Trees!!"

So there we were, cruising along the highways of northeastern Oregon looking at vast expanses of rolling mountains and hills covered with . . . nothing. OK, if you count the short dry grass as something, I may be technically wrong. But from where Oscar & I sat, it looked rather barren. Then all of a sudden, we rounded a bend and Oscar started to shake with excitement as he yelled out "Look, Pete, trees! TALL trees!!!!!"
After a long night of sentry duty amongst the large rocks, Oscar thought he had just died and gone to doggy heaven. Sooooo, I figured it was time to stop for the evening.

We stopped at Emigrant Springs State Park, so named because it used to be a favorite stopping place for the Oregon Trail travelers to stop and replenish their water supplies. An old growth forest between Pendelton and La Grande, it is a perfect place to rest and refresh the soul.
As Oscar and I took an late night walk among the towering Douglas firs, he looked up to the stars and said "Pete, I bet those trees touch the stars!" I smiled and said "They might, Oscar, they just might."

Oscar & I shall be staying with family and friends in the area for a while . . . traveling posts shall resume when we hit the road again . . .