Sunday, November 4, 2007


Day 62 was a beautiful day of driving up the Oregon Coast. Blue skies with snatches of fog. Scenic views of the ocean. I thought about all the places I'd visited in the past two months. The Grand Canyon. The Petrified Forest National Park. The Badlands. The scenic back roads in different states. Some truly memorable scenery. But for me, when it comes to the can't-pull-myself-away factor, there is nothing like the Oregon Coast. I could sit for hours and just watch the waves crash against the rocks. I don't want to leave until it stops ... but it doesn't stop.

I'd intended to spend some time on the beaches, but by the time I got to some of the places I wanted to sit, the tide was coming in. I did pull off briefly at Bandon and in several places in Yachats, including my favorite spot, Devil's Churn. (That's where I'd like my ashes tossed, although I'm guessing it's probably illegal.)

Stopped for an oyster burger at Mo's in Florence and made a quick bio/shopping stop at the Lincoln City outlet mall. It was 5:30 and just getting dark by the time I headed east toward Beaverton.

I've done the Lincoln City to Portland route in the dark before. The drive through the Van Duzer Forest can be kind of fun. But last night it was a bit of an ordeal. It wasn't the dark that bothered me, it was the light. There was so much traffic coming in the opposite direction, headlights were almost constantly shining in my eyes. I just kept looking at the white line on my right and making sure I paid attention to all the directional signs because I could not see any landmarks. My favorite detour over Chehelam Mountain from Newburg was out of the question.

Got home at just about 8PM. Unloaded car. Still have lots of unpacking to do. Also a couple of loads of laundry, but that may have to wait.

When I got home I remembered to reset my water heater, which I had turned to Vacation setting. This morning when I went out to my car, I noticed that the garage floor was wet, and it must have been quite a bit of water because boxes sitting on the floor were fairly well soaked. Figured it had something to do with restarting the water heater and pressure. Good thing I had not just unloaded the car and left the stuff sitting there.

Went out for breakfast and to the Zoo. When I got home late this afternoon, I found water coming from a pipe that runs up the side of the water heater. It was coming out the top of the heater and pouring down the pipe. The floor was all wet again -- very wet -- and I couldn't figure out how to make it stop. In my panic I turned off a gas valve. After several calls and a call back, I reached someone through the company that did the installation. He assured me that the gas will not be leaking as it shut itself off when I turned the knob. By the time he called, the water had diminished to a trickle. I think I have managed to shut it off so the water heater does fill up again. But now I have no hot water. He said it seems to be an easily fixed malfunction and that he MIGHT be able to get someone to come out tomorrow sometime.

So, the few dollars I might have saved by turning down the water heater will be nothing compared to the service call by the plumber. To put a positive spin on the experience: at least it didn't happen the day I left town.

ABOUT PHOTOS: I will be going through my pictures and figuring out the best way to get a sampling into this blog. Not sure whether I will go back and post selected photos in old posts or maybe make some sort of online annotated album. Stay tuned.

ABOUT THE ZOO: After the Keeper Chat, I stopped by the primate house. Chimp Delilah responded to my sudden reappearance after 2 months by getting up from her nap and coming over to the window as soon as she saw me. Charlie only came out later when fruit was delivered, and I'm no match for bananas and oranges; he barely acknowledged me. Then I stopped by orangutans and was surpised when old Inji immediately came down from her perch up near the holding area. She may have been more interested in the plastic bag I was carrying than in my return, but I was touched that she came over to the window to greet me so quickly.

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