Wednesday, January 17, 2024


At Wallowa Lake, in Oregon, while taking pictures, we saw a rainbow.

Then Emily saw lightning.

Then thunder—that I could feel—rolled all the way across the gray, overcast sky. We got out of there just in time, as it started to rain—gentle at first, then it pounded, soaking the mountain landscape.

Next stop was Hell’s Canyon. 

Mossy trees and mountain bones sticking out at the top of the world.

There was another rainbow.

That kind of day, and more Halloween yard art. 

Yeah, art. Not just decorations.

Who knows about what looked like a dead body in a black garbage bag hanging from a tree . . .

After some confusion on the roads that twisted through the mountains, it got dark and the half-moon rose. It lit our way as we crossed the bridge over the Snake River into Idaho.

That night I dreamed that I was traveling on a colonized Mars. It was a lot like the 21st century Wild West. The view out the window could have been from my dream, or one of my stories. What planet was this?

The next morning, it was still dark at 7:12 AM. What time zone was this?

It was another Super 8, this time in Idaho.

It was decked out for Halloween.

An ornament–or maybe it was an offering–that resembled a dead child tied up in a bloody sack hung by the door . . . 

Plastic skeletons and other store-bought items were all over. Even a lone calavera in the rafters.

One dummy in skeleton pajamas sat on a swing. I had no head. I took a picture of it. A woman appeared with a head and attached it. I told her that I thought it looked better without the head. She avoided eye contact and pretended she didn’t see me.

And they had soy milk in the breakfast room.

Cascade, Idaho, had murals celebrating the logging industry at a bar,

a rock and roll scarecrow,

a wonderful neon hotel sign that blazed in broad daylight,

and a quaint sign for a park.

For some reason, a truck stop past Boise had an impressive variety of decorative skulls. Maybe a Halloween thing, but there were so many of them. Was there some arcane reason the truckers needed such accouterments in these parts? Maybe to appease a local deity . . . Could be that the occasional bagged dead adult or child wasn’t enough . . .

Further along Highway 20 the classic wide-open spaces

were  accessorized with relics and ruins—some with graffiti—

abandoned cars,

ovens, and washing machines that gave it a post-apocalyptic feel.

One spectacular tableau was fenced off with a gate, but there was no lock, just a sign asking to close the gate, so’s not to let the livestock out. We didn’t see any livestock.

We rode the edge of a storm for a while. When it caught us, we stopped and ran out into the rain to get some shots of more rusty mechanical monsters.

They are all over rural America. Monuments to dying technologies. Wonder what will come to replace them?

Soon we were heading homeward.

I dreamed of dealing with all kinds of people and technical difficulties. The real, workaday world looms, chewing on my subconscious.

In the news I read about the discovery of another lost world: Zealandia, or Riu-A-Māui in Māori.Things like that make me happy.

Later, we were behind a truck with two stars and bars decals—something from another lost world. I tried hard, but just couldn’t get a shot of it and Michael in the stars and stripes sunglasses he found at one of our sightseeing stops all in focus. Some things are not meant to be, I guess . . . 

And I should mention that in Idaho, gas was mostly below $3 a gallon.

When we asked for directions, a gas station attendant said, “There’s a lot of silly intersections around here.”

1 comment:

  1. The fuzzy skulls threw me off! We don't have much ruins on the Eastcoast. There's the occasional abandoned/overgrown house which is nice.