WanderingDan’s Weblog

serious wood
October 10, 2012, 12:22 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

In our everyday lives we are exposed to relative normalcy (or so it seems to us). Once in a while we experience something a little grander, which startles us a bit, because it is falls out of our sense of the expected norm. Rarely, we experience something absolutely sublime, a jaw-dropper that takes our breath away.

For the past ten years I’ve known about the ‘Spruce Goose’ stored in the Evergreen Air Museum out in McMinville. Every time I drove to Lincoln or Pacific Cities to surf I would see it in the distance through the glass…didn’t know a thing about it, but knew of its existence. When the movie ‘The Aviator’ came out, I started to gain an appreciation for the passion and engineering feat this plane epitomized. Yet nothing prepared me for seeing this massive and truly sublime creation in person. With a three-hundred ten foot wingspan and eight engines with seventeen foot propellers, this three hundred thousand pound wooden plane blew my mind. SO….MUCH…WOOD!!!

Little did I expect two wonderfully sublime experiences back to back, but this is exactly what I’m getting as I gawk upward at this monster of a tree. Really, this beast has outgrown the title of mere ‘tree’…and earned that of ‘woodland giant’, or ‘beast extraordinaire’. They say it is nearly fifteen hundred years old…fifteen hundred!!! This thing chillin’ here during the dark ages…during the height of the Persian empire…before Europeans even had boats that could cross the Atlantic ocean. This giant is freaking OLD!!! I feel entirely puny in its presence, an insignificant speck of historical process. This single tree predates my ancestry…before my ancestors even had ancestry…okay, that doesn’t really make sense, but you get the imagery. Once again, SO….MUCH….WOOD!!!!

It’s our last stop in the Redwoods before we head the last few hundred miles south to meet back up with Gemma…one more grove ot trees awaits. This one is up a long, steep hill. Almost there, we hear a “crunchy/grindy” noise and look at eachother with masked fear. Donovan confirms the blow-out, and I notice the only decent place to pull off is behind us about a hundred feet on the other side of the road. Fortunately noone is on this road and I back down the forty degree incline at a snail’s pace. That’s when the logging truck turns the corner…I try to go faster, but really can’t, this tire is totally FUBAR….the truck, already using its engine breaks, starts closing the distance. Right in its path, I hold a steady course and finally reach the clearing…three seconds later it growls by, a deafening roar of diesel and brakes.

Unloading the trunk to get the spare, we notice there is no jack. Shit. The second car I hail stops to help out, and really goes out of their way to do so. They are from Oklahoma, an older couple with their daughter and grandchild. After the tire-iron proves to be the wrong size, the guy busts out some wrenches which do fit. First nut…success! Second nut…success! Third nut…a little stiffer…SNAP!!! the wrench busts apart. Shit. We try a few other things, but the nuts are just beginning to strip. Slightly defeated, we help them re-pack their car. Donovan can’t get a hold of anyone to see what kind of roadside coverage we may have. We resign to just eat crackers and cheese until someone calls back. Well…damn…might as well keep hailing people, but only ones in American cars, whose pieces will match. A couple more Japanese cars slow down as they pass to see if we need help…I just signal them to keep going. Then, coming up the hill, I see a Jeep! I hail the driver, who seems a little hesitant to stop, but does so anyway. She pauses a quick minute before deciding to roll down her window. After explaining our situation she explains, in a moderate german accent she’s in a rental car and doesn’t know where the jack would be. Still, she pulls over and lets us rummage through the car’s stock tools. Sabine is her name, she is on holiday from Switzerland with her daughter (who looks to be a teenager, but never gets out of the jeep). The tire iron works…thank God!!! Ten minutes later we have the half-flat cookie on and help Sabine repack the back of her car. During that ten minutes we made a friend, and she even offers to show me around her town in Switzerland on my prospective bike trip next summer…my faith in humanity has been bolstered.


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