Fire Cloud...
An irregular marking on the exterior of Native American pottery: usually resulting from burning fuel coming in direct contact with the vessel during firing

Thursday, 30 July 2009

Set the Controls for the Heart of the Sun

White Salmon, Washington

The drive here was beautiful. We stopped in a lush forest and picked ripe red raspberries to put in our morning cereal. The road runs right along the banks of the Columbia River.

We're about 200 miles east of the Oregon Coast. The weather was about 50 degrees with very wet fog this morning. We're on the north bank of the Columbia River and the Toyota said it was 107 degrees Fahrenheit when we parked and made a quick run to buy cold white wine and replenish our cash.

This is a creek in Oregon where Lewis and Clark and their 31 men and Sacajawea and Lewis' dog are thought to have spent the winter of 1805-06.

The GPS is set for Mountain Home, Arkansas. We want to see our friends, Paul and Diane, and maybe play some doubles sets with the Mountain Home grandmothers league. Those grandmothers are looking better all the time. It might be an eyesight issue. We can also use Paul's pontoon boat on the big lake if Paul and Diane are too busy to join us some days. On our last visit I spayed three coats of good quality yellow paint on their self-constructed mansion-in-the-woods.

We visited Fort Clatsop in Astoria to see a reproduction of the building that Lewis and Clark built near the mouth of the Columbia to over-winter in their 1805-06 stay. It's surprisingly sophisticated. I checked the reproduction against the sketch in Merriwether Lewis' journal and they have it about right. I bought a book about their journey.

This is a picture of Captain Merriwether Lewis, putting on a new deerskin shoe. The Captain was shot in the butt on the return trip by a hunter with poor eyesight who took him for an elk.

Merriwether seem quite scientific for his time. He measures water temperature and air temperature to calculate the difference needed to fill the "hollows" with fog. He only lost one man out of forty on this incredible journey, from appendicitis.

We drove up to Oysterville on a peninsula in Southern Washington. It is a little historical town where most of the homes were built 40 to 60 years after Lewis and Clark came and went. There are huge piles of oyster shells everywhere.

In my childhood, the Tampa Road Department came along our street and dumped fresh shells on the road about twice a year. The shells were sharp and hard to walk on barefoot. The mosquito control trucks came by almost every night spaying a thick fog of insecticide and motor oil. We loved to chase the slow-moving trucks and cavort in the poisonous billowing smog. Eventually, they ran out of shells and paved the street. They paved paradise and made it a parking lot.

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