Certainly, travel is more than the seeing of sights; it is a change that goes on, deep and permanent, in the ideas of living.
Mary Ritter Beard
No, really, a literal wild goose chase. I checked into this great hotel that I got an amazing deal on from Hotwire. When I went back out to my car to get my bags, they were trying to corral a wild goose that had been roaming the parking lot. A Canadian Goose at that, which happens to be my favorite kind. Apparently, it was not able to fly for some reason, and some kids (stupid kids, stupid parents, I got the whole story from the front desk clerk) were torturing it, so they called the wildlife rescue people, who promptly sent someone out. So, as I'm walking out the door, the people are herding the goose in my direction. So, I stop and talk quietly and calmly to it, as I would any other scared animal, and it worked! It actually walked nicely over to me before realizing it was cornered and getting scared, so we quickly caught it and put it in a box, and the rescue guy took it with him. What a great way to start an evening, up close and personal with a goose.
So, I'm staying at a hotel the next 2 nights because one of my favorite callers (the same one I drove to see in AZ when I was in the accident) happens to be doing a weekend long dance with another caller in WA (where I just happen to be!). When I checked in, the front desk lady, of course, asked me what I was in the area for, and when I told her for a square dance, she mentioned she had danced previously. I invited her to come watch and see how things have changed. Hopefully, she'll stop by.
Miss Lucy has been having fun over the last few days. Between having a second person to be petted by and play with for a while on our journey, and she also got to spend time playing with dogs at our last stop in OR. We took a round about route from San Francisco, going up 1/101 all the way up the coast to Coos Bay, OR. We stopped there, since I have done Coos Bay all the way up to Seattle on 101 multiple previous trips, and while I always get great pictures, didn't feel the need to do it again, so at that point, we headed inland and back down south to near Ashland, OR, to my friend's friend's house. Now, it just so happens that her friend did the Pacific Coast Trail last year, and is preparing to do it again this year, so we stayed up for a little while talking trail: what to pack, what to do for food, what about people, etc. Most of this stuff I already had plans for/on, but it was great actually TALKING to someone who's done this before, instead of just reading stories. When we woke up the next morning, Lucy got to play with the 2 dogs who lived on the farm. One of the dogs was a complete and total ball hound. I have been trying to convince Lucy that playing with balls is fun, since it is a great way to get exercise while on the road, but so far have had no luck. However, she does like chasing dogs who are chasing balls. Thankfully, that works just as well, and she got to continue this tradition today, when we stopped a rest area, and an australian shepherd was playing with a ball.
Back to OR, though. I planned on leaving that morning, going to Crater Lake, then to Proxy Falls, before continuing north towards Seattle. But, then, I got sidetracked. While Lucy was playing with the dogs in OR, their owner happened to mention that they were doing a sweat lodge that night, and the lady that was hiking the trail had 2 of her hiker friends coming in that night. So, 2 good reasons to stay just one more night, even though it meant driving straight through the next day. Miss Lucy and I did head out to Crater Lake for the day. It was a great little day trip, and since it is still considered "winter" there, there was no entry fee. Of course, I would have gotten in free with my annual National Park pass, but it was a good thing to keep in mind. The last time I visited Crater Lake was back in 2000, when I was living in Yoncalla, OR. That was July, and there was still snow in some of the most shady areas. Well, with it being only (almost) mid-April, there was still LOTS of snow. The lady at the bookstore said there was 56" right now, but that is actually a lot less than they normally have at this point. She says it is usually 121". Thankfully, Miss Lucy is completely over her snow fear now, and she plowed through it like a pro. She was great around the kids that were yelling and running and throwing things, and is also good with most other dogs, though occasionally she meets one that she's not sure about. I got some AMAZING photos of the snow covered mountains surrounding Crater Lake. Those will come soon.
Got back just in time to help set up for the sweat lodge. This may sound odd to some of you, but for years, I have been drawn towards my Native American roots (way back Cherokee). I am also, always, interested in learning about other cultures and religions, and I am constantly surprised at the ways in which various religions are similar. I also find that there are things I can learn/incorporate from other religions and beliefs, that actually help me in my own walk with God. So, this lodge was actually led by several Native American men, but people from all races/walks of life were there. As we sat around the drum circle, I thought how what we were doing, was probably very similar to what had been done in previous generations. We were a group of people, that everyone considered a family (similar to a tribe), there were kids in the group (obviously, they didn't participate in the sweat lodge), and dogs running around all over the place. All we needed was some horses. Miss Lucy loved this, because not only were there lots of people around to pet her, but there were 3-4 other dogs, in addition to the 2 that lived there, and they played and played. We put them all away prior to the beginning of the ceremony. Nathan, the leader, led us, teaching us newbies about the reasons for what we were doing, why things were set up the way they were, and how everything would go. It really was an amazing experience, and I would do it again in a heartbeat. It really felt neat, to be a part of these traditions that had been passed down over hundreds of years. It's not often that that happens.
Tonight was the first of the weekend's dances with Mike Sikorsky and Dan Preedy. It was a great start, that's for sure, and definitely looking forward to a great weekend of dancing.
Don't forget to stop by my picture page: Picasa, to keep up with my travels through pictures. I post them as I have time/internet access to, so these are (at any given time) by no means all of them.