Wednesday, August 04, 2010

On a drive

Mountain Jefferson behind Detroit Lake in Oreg...Image via Wikipedia

We lost ourselves on a drive today and found ourselves 3 hours later. Our GPS unit was completely confused. It tried to take us home from the Lion King in Portland. We knew better... we were in the Cascades. The unit could not find satellites to triangulate where we were so she just started giving directions as if we were in Portland. The lady inside that box is very aggravating as she continually insists we make a legal U turn and go back to Portland. That is obviously because you can't get anywhere from where we were... So, as she patiently pointed out, we needed to go somewhere else so we could get to where we wanted to be.

That of course would not take us to the wonders of the back roads and the scenic beauty we wanted to explore. Triple A (AAA) let us down a bit too. Their map was not accurate and the printing was to small to read even with glasses. Being lost is the best part of the drive though. So, we continued on and finally were unlost near Mt. Jefferson at the intersection of National Forest Road 11 and Oregon Hwy. 22.

From the beginning we took the 34 toward Lebanon and then turned onto the 20 where we drove along a reservoir Lake for a few miles and then the map showed we could cross to the other side of the lake and continue on a road marked as paved in blue at Green Peter Lake and so we did. What a nice lake. A funny name though, don't you think? Kind of makes you wonder if you are a boy and go for a dip... would your parts turn... well... green?

The blue road on the map deteriorated into a narrow, windy road called NF11. Here we saw something I haven't seen since I was a kid. People were camped out along side the road anywhere there was a wide spot. No campground, no fees, you just pull along side the road and put up a tent... Viola! You are camping 1940-1950 style. Most everyone had campfire rings made from rock circles... The men all had big bellies and shorts. The ladies were pretty stocky in bathing suits and none of them seemed to care a whit about what people thought. They were having a good time and the kids were running and swimming and having a high old time.

We continued on NF 11 and I shut the voice off the GPS so the lady in there could have a "time out" before she popped a blood vessel. Eventually, at a higher elevation she was able to get her bearings and tell us where we were. She sounded a bit hoarse to me... Serves her right. Meanwhile, the Green Peter lake changed to a river and the road narrowed to a single paved lane with turnouts here and there and more roadside campers. Eventually, we were next to a creek as the road wound higher into the forest.

You could see Jacky was becoming anxious as there was not so much as a house or power line for 50 miles and the road got narrower. Some idiot motorcycle rider came around a curve at high speed in the middle of the road... Good thing Jacky was cruising below 25mph or we would have sent him to whatever place he goes after he departs earth... He wobbled all over and Jacky braked hard... Lucky rider, that one. We drove away from the creek and crested the summit where Mt. Jefferson hove into view and we were not quite as lost.. The GPS started doing its thing as if it had not been stupid and lost. Now we found ourselves about 12 down, hill miles from hwy 22. The road began widening again and a centerline appeared... a small stream meandered along 22 as we headed north toward Detroit Lake.. The road was a pleasant drive and the stream turned into a river... The Santiam, I think. From here to Albany the GPS lady took us over back road short cuts that wound through hills and farm land. A very nice drive.

Roads drawn blue on a triple A map are paved but size and windiness are not shown.
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