Albeit with a five-day delay, for Laurel and me our migration from Maui to the Metolius river in central Oregon has been like leaping from the sultriness of a Swedish sauna into a bracing pool of cold water. Invigorating, for sure. When we woke up Monday morning it was 75 degrees outside; this morning it was 35. Driving over the Santiam pass yesterday there was quite a bit of snow on the ground, as there is on the upper reaches of Black Butte near us in Camp Sherman—quite a change from the sands of Napili Bay beach.
But the cabin we share with three other owners here, one of those that sits on leased national forest land along the Metolius, feels a lot more like home than the condo at Napili Shores that we just enjoyed. I guess we’ve lived in Oregon so long (since 1979 for Laurel, 1971 for me), fir and ponderosa now appeal to us more than palm and hibiscus. So even though we had a lot of undone chores at home, we couldn’t resist using our scheduled April week at the Camp Sherman cabin.
It’s still quiet here. Not that it ever comes close to being raucous in Camp Sherman, except perhaps on a three-day summer holiday. Serena (the Wonder Dog) and I saw just one hardy camper in the upstream campground during our just-finished evening walk. Fortunately, Serena exhibited no anxiety when I took her outside, even though it thundered a bit this afternoon. Previously, central Oregon thunderstorms have driven the family dog into a small closet in the cabin, where she shakes and cowers.
Today, when the thunder started Laurel sprayed some pheromones of a lactating bitch (dog, not human) on Serena’s sleeping pad, which I guess is supposed to make Serena fondly remember the good old puppy times with Mommy. I didn’t feel anything when I sniffed the pad, but then again, I suppose it’s good that I didn’t. Anyway, this is a tip for those whose dogs fear and tremble when the heavens rumble. Dog Prozac takes quite a while to work, by which time we’ve found the thunder has passed, and now we have to cope with an overly blissed-out canine.
After Laurel went online and bought some more dichroic glass jewelry on Ebay (the addiction is still with us—see posting below) and I fiddled with a balky front bike brake, we set off on one of our traditional mountain bike tours: through the woods, around the roads in Metolius Meadows development, onto the Camp Sherman bike path, detour via a short forest trail by the school, stop for a latte at the Camp Sherman store, then back on the bikes up the red dirt road, pedal to the end of the Metolius river trail, and back to the cabin.
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Here I am hanging out at the almost-too-charming-for-words Camp Sherman store, which, in fact, is the only Camp Sherman store. I love the retro gas pumps, the lighted beer signs, the bench where tourists, part-timers like us, and permanent residents alike can feel like the 1950s are still here.
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Riding up toward the head of the Metolius (on a path approved for bikes, I hasten to add, not the riverside trail) dark clouds threatened rain, but never did. The contrast between the sunny skies on one side of us and the threatening weather on the other side was quintessential central Oregon.
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Laurel is looking good on the banks of the Metolius, even without a bit of dichroic jewelry in sight. She is wearing a Maui-purchased teal sweatshirt that symbolically reflects our love of two beautiful places.
But as I noted above, Maui is a place that feels like a great place to visit for a week or two, while central Oregon feels like home. And even possibly could be one day, if it weren’t for those damned three months of December-February when even lots of dedicated central Oregonians say they wished they lived elsewhere (like Maui).