Friday 13th was a work-free/school-free day, which worked out perfectly because not only did I have a neurology appointment, but my DH was leaving town for a conference and he asked all of us to come along. First though, the results of the doctor’s appointment. The news was all FABULOUS! The original, large lesion in my right temporal lobe has shrank to almost nothing and only a slight bit of scarring (if it was even that) was visible on the left side of my brain. There were no discernible scars on my neck, although I do have an odd growth, perhaps a calcium deposit growing between my 6th and 7th vertebrae… just one of those quirks. Given, I kept coughing during the MRI and there was a lots of blurring, but the Doctor still felt confident in saying that my M.S. is responding fabulously to the medications and that progression is virtually, at least temporarily, at a standstill. Hopefully saying this won’t jinx anything. Of course, I do need to lose some weight and exercise, but that’s another issue.
Now on to the fun stuff! There was an Oregon National Guard conference outside of Bend, Oregon this weekend. Bend is a year around resort town with nearby Mt. Bachelor for skiing and tons of summer activities, such as white water rafting, hiking, golf, etc. Under normal circumstances we’d not be able to afford a weekend there but we all scooched into the hotel room with my dh, thus saving on hotel expenses.
We live on the west side of the Cascade Mountains so we’re accustomed to heavy rains and green forests which stereotype the pacific northwest. What many people from other places seldom realize is that east of the Cascades Washington and Oregon consist largely of high desert regions. This dashboard picture was taken shortly before descending into a canyon on the Warm Springs Reservation.
We’d scarcely made it out the other side when the sun began to set, thus ending picture taking for the day. Blackness completely blanketed everything in record time. Living in the greater Portland area means that even on the darkest nights it’s never really “dark” where we live. Being out in the desert, with no large cities, or even streetlights to provide that ever-present glow felt surreal. For all we knew, the world could have disappeared except for the little bit of road lit up in front of the headlights. It really made us feel small and alone. Everyone was relieved when we finally found the hotel/complex. Pulling into a lit parking lot felt like deliverance from the Twilight Zone. My DH went off to his first meeting that evening then the girls and I changed for a late night swim before calling it a day.
The next morning the girls wanted to swim some more so we packed up and headed back to the pool house. Attempts to take pictures were thwarted by the condensation formed on my camera lens every few seconds.
After swimming we played tennis… okay, so we weren’t properly attired and we didn’t keep score, but we did spend a good hour or so making the other people there feel like experts.
After tennis we cruised the countryside, marveling at the unusual flora and fauna. There were lots of little *groundhog/prairie dog/rodenty things. Originally there were 4 in this shot, but 3 ducked and only one can be seen on top of the rock pile.
I’ve no idea what kind of *deer these are, but they loitered casually on the road outside of Bend.
Ubiquitous, obligatory tumbleweeds dotted the fence lines. In some places virtual mountains of them stacked up against the barbed wire.
Even the *pine trees on the east side look vastly different than those we’re familiar with. Many looked like homes to various wild critters. I would not have stuck my hand into this tree for love nor money.
Speaking of wild critters, here are my two youngest posing atop an iron-laden rock. Prehistoric volcanic activity left the area a geologist’s dream. Black, red, white and tan rocks intermingled in fields while canyons are wildly sandwiched with exposed layers.
One such rock provided the perfect backdrop to show off this beautiful yarn that Jessie gave me for winning a contest she held. There may have been a rather large bar of really dark chocolate, a package of adorable Easter candies and some cute little sheepy and ladybug chocolates sent with this yarn, but I challenge anybody to provide evidence to prove their existence! (Thank you Jessie, the girls and I feasted and the yarn is gorgeous).
That evening my DH did the unthinkable. He blew off a formal dinner and opted to join us for an evening out. All of the desert ambiance put us in mind for bbq. Some locals recommended a nearby restaurant for the occasion. A singer provided live country music in the bar while couples two-stepped cheek to cheek. My DH occasionally lifted up the girls so they could see over the swinging doors into the off-limits dance hall.
The barbecue wasn’t bad, but it was outrageously expensive. I kept having to remind myself that we seldom go out and that the girls were having a blast. Those thoughts and a large beer calmed me down. After “cleaning their plates” the girls each got to pick a prize from the saddlebags. No, not my hips, real saddlebags.
Sunday morning the weather turned bad, which meant that snow was falling in the passes. Because we didn’t bring tire chains (I don’t even think we own any) the route we’d taken over wouldn’t be a possibility for driving home. Instead we had to head north/northeast until we reached the Columbia River gorge and then head west.
This added more time to our return drive. We’d not even crested the summit on the road traveling north when the familiar rain set in. These pitiful pictures fail to show the immensity of the plains and plateaus.
By the time we’d reached The Dalles the weather looked like western Washington spring, rather than mid-Oregon winter.
The girls slept throughout most of the return voyage (side effect of Dramamine) and I had time to finish a delightful book given to me by the talented Roxanne. Tonight I shall begin the second book of her series… of which I now have an original manuscript! How cool is that? I’m going to loan the first book to a co-worker tomorrow.
The kitties were all alive and well, though slightly out of sorts upon our return. I knitted a sweater sleeve while away also, but something doesn’t look right with it so I’ll frog back at least part of that tomorrow. Hope you all enjoyed a fabulous weekend.
*Roxanne grew up there and clarified these mysteries in her comment. Thank you!