Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Tamkaliks - Wallowa, Oregon

Ms. Wynans - Office Manager & Coquette
The Wallowa Band of the Nez Perce celebration began Friday evening, but I'd driven back from Halfway and was tired.

Saturday was bright and hot...a fine day, but a potter told of how she'd lost much of her ware Friday afternoon when a tornado blew. Several other folks had sustained damage and one artist who had two booths had given up and left.

I was moved by the Grand Entrance which included many of the dancers and attendees. The coming-of-age ceremony for a young man who'd gotten his first salmon was almost unbearable as he was given center-stage and tasked with telling the story of his catch. He paused so long there were a couple of encouraging whoops. Eventually he made it through and his accomplishment (bravery at that moment) was recognized by a round of generous applause.

Around 3:00 pm after enjoying a bowl of the best menudo I've ever had, I decided it was too hot and, boarding my trusty R.V., headed west.

Somewhere around 75 miles later I realized I'd forgotten my mail. I was on a back highway with practically no traffic, MY kind of road, and figured it could wait another day. And as luck would have it I found a beautiful copse next to the Grand Ronde River for camp. I spent Sunday driving back and was glad to find the spot in Lostine Canyon (more photos on Flickr -- here) available.

All the driving took it's toll. When Monday morning dawned I was reminded of what it felt like to HAVE to get up.

By noon I'd managed to get bathed (a MAJOR accomplishment), packed and into town. After getting the mail and some groceries I stopped in to visit with Ms. Wynans, Office Manager for the Wallowa Band Nez Perce Interpretive Center. We'd had a fun visit several days before in which she told about supervising the pow-wow and I wanted to congratulate her on a fine event. We chatted about her new fan (see image); she'd given a demo of one during my previous visit and someone (not me), apparently having heard of her proclivity, had, over the weekend, left her a new one.

It's a pretty area with interesting people. I look forward to visiting again.

12/24/15 - I'm getting the Solstice cards out and couldn't find Ms. Wynans' address. I went online to look up The Interpretive Center's and discovered her obituary. I wish you could have met her; she was amazing! 

An Ale By Any Other Name....

Monday morning. Usually there's a good crowd of friendly folk.
I'm more an LSD guy, but lately it's been alot easier to buy beer. My beer drinking began with a friend's home-brewed stout. It took years for me to wonder, but eventually the question germinated: what makes a stout stout? Something about the name -- Terminal Gravity Brewery -- prompted me to think it was here I might find an answer.  

The back story: I was in the San Pedro (pronounced Pee-droh) Yacht Club the other day looking to sign on in exchange for a ride down to Panama. San Pedro is Los Angeles' main port and I was in the Club vetting  the skippers and vessels when the discussion turned to different kinds of beer. I was having my usual, a stout, but when asked what KIND I liked, I was at a loss. I rattled off a couple of names but wasn't sure if it was the wheat, barley, malt, or, as in the case of donuts, the hand-oil that made the difference.

The Brewery Proper
Now to T. G. Brewery. In answer to my question, Dean Duquette, one of three owners, gave me a tour of the brewery. By the end of a fascinating, fact-filled hour I realized the answer was too complex for my limited typing ability. But in a nut-shell: a stout is an ale made with a darker roasted malt.

Dean Duquette
And if you're at the South end of Enterprise, Oregon (on the road to Joseph) stop in...and just drink it. It's good. And there's music on the veranda some days.

Monday, July 23, 2012

STOP!!! STOP!!! A Thrift Store!!!!

Like myself, many others find entertainment in the thrift stores along the way. If you happen to be on highway 95 between Grangeville and Cottonwood, Idaho, you'll find a fine collection at Second Hand Treasures located in the old Fenn store...on the right if you're going west. It sits back from the highway about 300 feet (.1 Km) on a rural road.

I, being Lucky Herrmann, happened along at the serendipitous moment when a bevvy of women were disembarking. It was Saturday, a day they're normally closed but they'd chosen THIS one as Women's Excursion Day.  Apparently not resenting my maleness, they beneficently allowed me entrance. I found some great German comic books from the early sixties. As we were reveling during the cash exchange she commented that Fenn is a German Community. (Day're effry vare!!!)

Hours are stated (on the business card) as Tuesday - Friday 10 - 4, but the proprietress said it was open when it's open and closed when it isn't. All proceeds support Summit Academy (The link is NOT an expression of support. I'm a devout agnostic.)

Saturday, July 21, 2012

AaWWW MaaaAAAAaaannnn!!! (excerpted w/o permission from Captain Underpants)

I passed the first anniversary of my brush with helium the other day. I have to say, it went by more lightly than that batch of refried beans I whomped up.

I'd read Final Exit when it first came out and was enthused when some years later they discovered helium.

Last year I was 58 and had had enough. However, soon after I opened the valve I began to feel as if a cloud of bees was descending around muh hedbone. 'Twas uncomfortable. I shut off the tank, waited an hour for it (muh hed) tuh clear, drove to the store for a bottle of gin and had a few. Then I tried again. Same thing.

I was annoyed for several months. I called one of the more vocal proponents, a physician, to alert him of the "side effect." He gruffly said, "No one's ever survived it. That's impossible." End of conversation.

I'm writing this to share (in that beauuteeful way) with all of you who are looking forward to this option.
As an aside: I suspect a high level of physical pain might over-ride the discomfort. But it was sufficient to thwart me  -- undt vonce vee Churmenz put our (alleged) minds to sompsing....!!

It was disappointing to learn it ain't the eezee-peezee transition it's touted to be.

Perhaps this explains why some people flail their arms.

Good luck.

Clear & Pure

Don't hit jus' look so modest settin' thar? Evry now an' then yuh stumble ontuh a product that does MORE than youse' this hyarz one uv 'em.

Yessir, ah bin washing muh hairz wid dis stuff fer sev'ral weeks now and ah'm tellin' YOU! Hits even taken the skid marks outten mah drawerz (underpants).

Interestingly, it makes very little suds, same as yucca root. But it gets things clean....same as yucca root.

"One ounce per load," they said when I called to inquire (laundry, not hairz). I teaspoon for hair....mebbe less.

Use as directed. Mileage may very. Offer void where prohibited bylaw.

They Seen Yuh Comin' - Laundry Prices in Enterprise, Oregon

Boy Howdy!! The Fambly-style Laundromat & Carwash in Enterprise is $2.50 for a regular size washer and $6.00 for the commercial type that goes round. Tha's the moz 'spensive ah've ever seed. And the dang thang hung up after muh 2nd qwartr. Ah wuz worried ah wuz gonna hav tuh moov tuh uh-nudder musheen when hit finely straightened up. The owner 'splained the problem tuh me, but hit didn't make hit none easier. Small town surprises...and not a Holiday Inn (No Surprises...remember?) in sight.

I CAN recommend Dollar Stretcher grocery. In spite of the name ("The name sucks," said the owner, "but we're gettin' 'em trained.") They have local bison (excellent!) and beef.

The organic food store is next door. Good stuff there too, Maynard.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Halfway Or Bust

There's a big pow-wow comin' up in Wallowa, Oregon next weekend. It's a Nez Perce get together called Tamkaliks. I'm hoping to find some contemporary Native artwork, a rarity in these parts.

In the meantime I thought I'd visit Halfway, a little town I bucked hay in in my late teens. I took the scenic route, an undesignated road (hwy 39?) that leaves highway 350 about 7 miles East of Joseph.

You just never know who you're going to meet.
Unsure of which road I wanted, I pulled off onto one that looked likely and flagged down an oncoming truck. The man who leaned out wanted to know why I was going to Halfway. I explained about my youthful employment history. He said he was 40 years old in those days and now 83. He asked my age. He then went on to say he'd just come from a day of ranch work. He added that he'd rolled an ATV a few weeks ago and fractured 4 ribs. I asked what he attributed his stamina to. He said, "I'm afraid to quit." He then said to follow him as he was going to the road to Halfway.

A few miles down he pulled over and signaled me to pull in next to him. We got out and commenced. He'd been a designer of the first jetliner, the Boeing 707. He'd also hand-made parts for the next version, the Boeing 737. He said he'd grown tired of city life and moved out here some years back.  His daughter had gotten her Bachelors & Masters degrees in history and after several years recently gotten her Ph.D. at the age of 48. She now teaches at two Universities and at an online high school.

A deer stepped out onto the highway and that led us to the the wolf problem. They'd lost eight cows, including a bull, to the wolves this year. I asked how the wolf issue got going and he said it was the bureaucrats back east.

We were about to part ways when he asked if I played baseball. I mentioned my head-on collision when each of us yelled "Mine!!" but neither stopped. He then said he had alot of things in his truck and reaching in, pulled out an old catchers mitt. "My Dad bought this in 1923," he said. I admired it and told about my first-baseman's mitt.

He said he'd shown it to a friend the other day and the fellow accused him of having stolen his. It turned out the man's grandfather had given him an identical mitt and he thought this fellow had somehow gotten a hold of it. As seems normal in this part of the world, misunderstandings and disputes are quickly cleared up without the gunplay that so often accompanies similar incidents in New Mexico.

About Halfway: There was a bookstore, a drugstore and a gift shop or two. At some point the town had been "discovered" and was populated by a plethora, similar to Portal, AZ, with retired Ph.Ds. An interesting place...if you know someone. 

Karma...payin' hit fo'ard.

I was barreling down the highway enroute to the Caledonian Games in Athena, Oregon and smak dab in the middle of thuh highway thar set a roll of bob wa'r! Ah pult over, chukt hit intuh the back uh Eggbert an' hauled it intuh town. I wuz surprised at how much it weighed as hit whar a li'l ole thang. It'd uv done some damage iffin I'd hit it. A tag with a name on it suggested an owner.

In town an old garage that might once have been a stable/blacksmith shop appeared to be the hub of the universe. No sooner had I set toe to pavement than a guy about my age (Olde!!) with a long grey beard, grey coveralls and a dawg came ambling around the corner. "What kin ah do for yuh?" he asked. The dawg wriggled between his legs and settled its butt.

Not wanting to lead the witness with a preamble about "free wire", I smiled and asked, "Would you happen to know Steve Warner?"
"Steve Warner?!" he practically bellowed.
"Yeah." sez I. "I have a roll of his barbed wire."
"What're you doin' with Steve Warner's wire?" he asked with equal volume, and a bit of the hairy eyeball.
"I picked it up off the highway."
"It was jus' layin' out there, huh?," he inquired (a tad more calmly).
"Yeah." I said, tryin' tuh squeeze in a bit of assertiveness laced with helpful-citizen-doing-good. "It woulda caused some damage to whoever'd hit it."

He asked which way I was going and after ascertaining it was past Steve's he started to tell me how to find his house. I wasn't sure of my itinerary and after a bit he suggested maybe I could leave it with him and he'd call Steve and let him know it was there. It sounded like a plan.

Speculation had it the wire was worth $50.00 or more.
I'm glad I didn't hit it. Warner's an attorney and god-nose what litigations might have resulted from damaging his wire.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Balderson's Innie-Outtie

Innie (Click to Largen)

TodaaAAAaay....we're at the site of the world-renowned Balderson Sculpture. It is sited in a remote corner (NE) of Oregon, USA atop a magnificent mountain on Highway 3 at Flora Junction (34.7 miles N of Enterprise).

Whether you've arrived via the valley of the Grande Ronde River or from Chief Joseph Canyon its beauty adds an almost unbearable level of sublimittude to an incomparable driving experience.

On any given day, several, maybe even six or eight, people view this work through the tinted glass of their vehicle's windows.

Known as The Innie-Outtie, it was among the first produced in COR-TEN steel. When asked, "Why?" Balderson waxed eloquent over the fluidity and patina of Cor-Ten. Then, in a moment of salacious verbosity, admitted a predilection for its "piquancy." (A steel-licker!!).

The Northern "Innie" view (see image above) presents two outward curves that evoke the essence of erotic splendor, beckoning, awaiting hook-up. Oft-cited as an homage to The Vagina Dentata (or is it won't get in HERE!), an additional scintillating flush of ambiguity is evinced through the crossworks connecting the labili.

The work is recognized the world over as an ovarial expression of today's androgynous zeitgeist and has been referenced as having influenced artists Richard Serra and the guy who did Where The Wild Things Went, to name only two.

When queried about the acclaim, Balderson kicks her instep and says ,"Aw shucks, 'twarn't nuthin."

Patina!!! (and scale)
Come hither
At the vertex of the angel-wing sweep of the South-facing surface  (outtie) you'll notice a small, crookt, come hither. In personal correspondence with the author (June 3, 2012), Balderson disclosed that this iconic motif was inspired by a denizen of the deep, the Great Woogie Dangler (GWD), a cousin of the anglerfish. The GWD came to light in a 1973 episode of Jacques Cousteau's Undersea Adventures. In it, the GWD is seen dangling its highly evolved appendage (woogie) in front of its gaping maw to attract a meal. Little known at the time, scientists have since proven (ANOTHER use for DNA testing!) that the GWD's appendage is, in fact, the ancestor of today's mammalian (and others') reproductive member. When asked, Balderson, an Undersea Adventures fan, would only say that she felt it "....necessary to add a bit of balance to the Dentata element."

This is a "must see" for ANYone with an interest in sculpture. (Approx 5 miles south of the Washington border and 22.8 miles south of Fields Spring State Park.)

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Quirk in the Flow, Quirk in the Flow (to the tune of: Band On The Run)

Don't you wish YOU were a cat?

Something changed.

I decided to buzz over to attend Lapwai Days, a Nez Perce Pow-wow in Lapwai, Idaho. I was greeted by a man who, once he calmed down, said he had "issues" about his land. He had thought I might have been some young "bucks" come to party and trash up the place. Once he realized I wasn't he became quite welcoming, but we had a few tense moments there and it put me on edge.  

I've heard small town life described as "living in a fish bowl." I've only encountered it here and there, but the incident above gave me the feeling. I mean, it only took the fellow about five minutes to show up. I hadn't even had time to change my shirt, which was the reason I stopped. Being unfamiliar with the phenomena I can only speculate, but I'm in the early stages of a theory that says: it's heightened on a Rez.

As I toured Lapwai and its enviorns, I continually felt "observed." The first night it was obvious I was the stranger. The audience for the oral history performance was held in the high school gym. Practically every person there was under 17. And of the fifteen adults, I suspect I was the only full-blood Anglo.

When I went into town the second day I met a man who reminded me I'd waved to them as they went by earlier that morning. Of course he had no way of knowing I'd waved to at least 20 other trucks going by that morning. I mentioned something about early-stage Alzheimers, but he didn't seem convinced.

I heard of a bagpipe fest in Athena, Oregon next weekend. I think I'll go there.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

The High Road to Challis, or Salmon...Idaho, that is.

FR 55 has its ups & downs, but most of the time it's well-behaved.

BLM land a few miles S of Salmon (click to largen)
Forest Road 55/055 is the scenic route between Challis and Salmon. It's mostly dirt, but is prominent enough on the Official Highway map. For some reason I didn't notice it. As luck would have it Mrs. Nancy Russell, a watercolorist and member of the The Purple Easel Co-op Gallery in Salmon, happened to be out for her morning hike as I was packing up.

I'd camped in the National Forest not far from the BLM Shoup Bridge Campground on south 93 and was getting ready to go to Challis when she came by. Somewhere in our chat she mentioned the road that went around the hill to Williams Lake also went on to Challis. I didn't register it at the time, but that ole subconscious did. When I left I took the road to Williams Lake. Three days later I arrived. And these are some of the scenes from along the way.

Click here for more photos:

Big Springs -- Origin of Mesa Falls, Idaho

John Sack's Cabin at Left (click on photo to largen)
This part of the U.S. is so beautiful it's almost more than one can stand! But it's an American tradition to embrace allow me to encourage you to go from the drama of Mesa Falls to the serenity of their origin, Big Springs, Idaho.

The Springs apparently reminds everyone of what we once had. Everywhere I looked I saw graffitied "Remember The Cuyahoga." In spite of that, I took some pictures.

Huge trout live in these waters. There are signs that say no wading, but small children are regularly dragged from the shallows into the four-foot depths never to be seen again. It's a wonderful place.