In early spring of 2007 I decided to quit my job, sell my house along with nearly everything else that I owned, and to live out of my car while traveling the country. These are my stories (and pictures) of life on the road.

Friday, June 15, 2007

Taking it in

Thursday afternoon was pretty much filled with driving two lane black tops west through Oregon. Since Portland isn't that far away I was in no rush so by the time 6:00 rolled around I was ready to find a place to rest for the night. I found myself passing through Mitchell and just a few miles from that is the Painted Hills. Thinking it would probably be best towards sunset I drove in to check it out.

Since I can't hike there wasn't a whole lot to do at the park. I drove around most of it (it's not real big) to get a look at the painted hills but I wasn't really in the mood to take any pictures. I found a road just outside the park that ran right next to a pond so I decided to stop there for a while. I set up a chair in the shade of a twisted Juniper tree and read for a while. It was so nice just to feel the breeze and hear the birds all around. There were a few red winged blackbirds around the edge of the pond calling on and off. Swallows were swooping all around picking off bugs and I could here the calls of unfamiliar birds farther back into the hills. There were ducks on the pond and I saw a mother leading her 10 or so ducklings around the edge of the water. About 6 times I heard a buzzing “whoosh” like a Night Hawk pulling up from one of their steep dives but every time I looked I couldn't see anything. I've never seen night hawks outside of town but about an hour later I finally saw a couple flying around and watched one go into a steep dive before pulling up and making that distinctive sound. I was glad because I thought I was going nuts and hearing things.

While I was sitting in the chair I heard something in the tree next to me. I looked over and saw what looked like the back end of a mouse just as it disappeared from sight around the tree. I could hearing it making scratching noises on the bark on other side but couldn't get a look at it. A little later I caught just a glimpse of it as it raced around the trunk on my side and then out of sight again. I watched and waited and finally it came out on the trunk where I could see it. It turned out not to be a mouse after all but a little lizard with a stumpy tail. I don't know if the tail is by design or if it got cut/bit off sometime. We sat looking at each other for a while until I went back to reading.

As the sun was setting I got back in the car and drove it to a better place to park for the night. The hills were lit up very nicely with vivid streaks of color. I saw three good sized buck deer near the creek which then bounded away and hopped a fence near the road. Everything about the evening just seemed perfect.

Sometimes it's nice not to clutter up the experience with other things. No hiking, no pictures, no nothing. Just sitting back and taking it all in, whatever comes your way.

No comments:

You've reached the end of the page but that's not the end of the stories. If you want to read more (and who wouldn't!?) then click on the archive links to the right hand side of the page. They're listed by month; the adventure starts in May.

The February archives aren't actually from this trip but are previous adventures I've had, which are worth reading as well.