Monday, September 18, 2006

I Hope Not to See Fire or Rain

Tomorrow we are heading off on vacation. I have had a devil of a time figuring out where to go--even though living here in Portland we are surrounded by some of the prettiest wilderness areas in North America, all within a day's drive. The problem is there are massive forest fires in Oregon, Washington, and Northern California. Very discouraging and depressing.

In fact, much to my dismay, every place at the top of my list seems to be in flames. Not true entirely. One place I was thinking of going was Mt. Rainier National Park. It's not burning, but there aren't a lot of places to stay there. I don’t think we could just roll in and expect to find a room ready and waiting in one of the classic lodges in the area. It’s the kind of destination where people book a couple of years in advance—not days in advance (my preferred style—at least lately).

Also, Rainier is notoriously rainy (it should be pronounced "rain-i-ER,” not “rain-EAR”). If it's raining that would mean we wouldn't even see the mountain. So I nixed Rainier. Then I went ahead and nixed the whole rest of the state of Washington. It's too much of a destination--three national parks, a national monument, plus Seattle. And even though it's after Labor Day, I was just getting this vibe that it would be super rainy and/or crowded. The highways would be clogged; there'd be competition for resources; the whole thing would make me cross.

Somehow staying in Oregon just started to sound a lot safer to me. Even if it rains, it will be Oregon rain, which in some crazy way I feel I can cope with better than Washington rain, which I have no doubt is far more bone-chilling, incessant, and miserable than Oregon rain. Insane logic, but there it is.

Anyway, we are going to southern Oregon, around Ashland. As you may know, Ashland is the home of a famous Shakespeare Festival, known—if its Web site is to be believed—for its “delightful ornateness of detail.” (What on Earth can that mean? Is "ornateness" even a word?) We won’t be going to any plays. I’m not interested in culture when I'm on vacation.

We’re staying in Ashland simply because it is a pretty good base for hiking in the Siskiyou Mountains and the Rogue River Valley, and it has good restaurants and locally brewed beer. Those are my vacation requirements. And if we get some of that Oregon rain, I can just knock around Ashland’s book shops and coffee places. Also, thanks to Diana’s timely recommendation, I’m taking a copy of John Daniel’s Rogue River Journal: A Winter Alone, which should make for very place-appropriate reading (although there is no way in hell I would ever spend an entire winter in a cabin without electricity, as Daniel did). And I’m taking my knitting, which has lain forsaken in the closet for a couple of months. Must get cracking on that.

The big dilemma now is do I or do I not take the laptop with me? The place we are staying has WiFi. Would it not be good to have it with me just in case any urgent e-mails come in from clients? It would save me the hassle of trying to figure out how to set up autoresponder. Plus, what if it’s really rainy? Wouldn’t it be nice to be able to set up shop in some funky and welcoming little Ashland coffee shop and write a blog entry about my adventures thus far while drinking a liter of coffee? Wouldn’t it also be nice, since we haven’t figured out the second half of our trip, to be able to do some online research to make sure we don’t drive a hundred miles only to find out that our destination is currently being burned to a crackly crunch? But would it not be even better to have a vacation from all things computer and Internet? I can’t decide.


Post a Comment

<< Home