Monday, August 11, 2008

An International Incident in Seven Parts (Lefavor to Chanoah)

Part 1: The Lefavor/Mullen Family Reunion

We started our journey in Salt Lake City and traveled north. We slept amongst oil wells burning off methane. These flowers didn't seem to mind though.

Bear River Migratory Bird Sanctuary, Brigham City, Utah. It was here that I mistook a muskrat for a beaver. The naturalist proved her patience and understanding by educating me in the ways of aquatic mammals.

Family members join Grandma Mullen at Scout Mountain campground. 

Looking northwest from Scout Mountain, Pocatello, Idaho (where we saw a Western Tanager, Cedar Waxwings, Kinglets, Vireos, Hummingbirds and Sandhill Cranes.) We camped nearby and I was reminded how painful the earth can feel when one's body is separated from it by only a thin layer of plastic and down.

1976 Cousins.

Paul and Kari cooked a hardy breakfast for everyone then we set out on our seperate ways. Our goal was to travel halfway to Lyle, Oregon. After being lost in downtown Pocatello and then lost in a large supermarket we eventually made it to Baker City, Oregon. We ate 'fun shee' which translates to 'rice abrasion.' It was the best chinese food we've ever had. 

Part 2: The Oregon Trail

Cymande surveys the Baker Valley. She spotted a wagon, but upon further investigation it turned out to be a prop for tourists. The pioneer family living in the wagon was real though.

The Oregon Trail outside of Baker City, Oregon. 

Here's to existential near misses: In 1848, Cymande's great, great, great grandmother Janet Findlay was run over and severely injured in a stampede of bison while on the Mormon/Oregon trail. Janet's friend perished. Luckily Janet did not; her daughter, Cymande's great, great grandmother, wasn't born until 1852. Cymande wonders if this is the guy who did it.

Part 3: The Columbia River Gorge

Lyle, Washington on the north side of the gorge. We were the only guests at the Lyle Hotel. We were also the only people in the whole building and were given a secret code to get in and out of the building. We felt special, but then I got kind of scared when I walked around the silent halls. I started reading the Yiddish Policeman's Union and it made me feel better for a few moments. I looked out the window and across the street was a slightly rundown single-wide with a little sign hanging in the yard that read 'trailer trash.' I'll allow you to make up the ending of this story.

Cymande handles an inanimate salmon outside a hatchery. We missed the spawning salmon. We were either too early or too late or both. We learned that to keep the hatchery sustained only 6 salmon need to return and lay eggs. We also watched a woman 'count' salmon, but it appeared that a computer was actually doing all the work; she was reading a book. What bothered me was the 'do not disturb sign' on her door. Anyway, go salmon go!

During the duration of the road trip I could be spotted in this precise location, the driver's seat. I defiantly grew a considerable amount of facial hair but eventually gave into the prevailing social norm and shaved it off.  Cymande cried. 

Multnomah Falls, Oregon, the south side of the gorge. 

Japanese Tea Garden, Portland, Oregon.   After a night downtown at the Mark Spencer Hotel, we had breakfast and coffee at Annabanana Coffee House and headed up the hill. We underestimated the elevation and distance of the Tea Garden. It was peaceful and there is a spectacular view of Mt.Hood. It was peaceful except for a bus tourist screaming into his phone, 'just pour some weed killer on it!' Add that to the list of things most commonly heard in a traditional Japanese tea garden.

Part 4: Lake Quinault Lodge

Lake Quinault Lodge, Olympic National Park, Washingon. We left Portland for the Olympic Peninsula. We got quite hungry. Then we got desperately hungry. Then our GPS fabricated several fictional purveyors of food. Don't worry, we survived and made it to Lake Quinault Lodge. It was really wonderful. There was even a Lake Quinault walking stick in every room, but I refused to use for walking.

The Great Hall, where several guests were found fast asleep with books at their sides. We attempted to sleep, but instead settled for a couple glasses of wine by the fire.  We bought the place and we're moving in.  Okay, you can move in too.     

Part 5: Vancouver Island, the Sunshine Coast and Vancouver, BC

Port Angeles to Victoria, the first of five ferry voyages. Before we left I viewed an educational diorama of something called Highline logging and Cymande sought out something warm to wear.  Florida living has ill prepared us for any temperature below 78 degrees.  Port Angeles is a bit rough, but they have a small natural market with local cheeses and who doesn't like cheese.

Parliment lit up olde English style in Victoria. The Canadian Customs Agent quizzed us about our trip. We told him about the wedding at Fenn Lodge and about Chantal and Noah and Sasquatch and kilts. He let us through, stating that our answers were 'perfect'.  We felt really good about ourselves until we realized that when Canadians say 'perfect', they don't really mean one is perfect. (oh well).  We stayed that night a hostel, in a room above a bustling corner, and there were ravens that sat on the lightpost outside our window. We envied all the young and old backpackers taking months/years to hike the Canadian countryside.

The Queen of Surrey travels the Sunshine Coast. This was one of many ferry rides between small towns along the east coast of Vancouver Island and the west coast of mainland BC.   A warning to all Americans: Canada expects that you are capable of honesty and critical thinking and that you will expect quality. So imagine my disbelief when I was waved onto a ferry with no proof of paying and then was served robust coffee. I had every expectation being interrogated over our apparent free entry and every expectation of watery flavorless coffee. Go Canada!

Pisanster ochraceus, purple star

The Queen of the Twassassen travels between Saltery Bay and Earl's Cove.

The view from the Capilano Dam in North Vancouver. We peered over the edge, felt nauseous and drove on to the base of Grouse Mountain. Unknown to us, we would return to this very neighborhood in less than week to pick up the wedding cupcakes at a bakery known as 'Cupcakes.'

Vancouver from Grouse Mountain. We rode the tram to the peak and watched captive grizzly bears sleep.

Totem pole at the Museum of Anthropology, Vancouver. It was from the parking lot that we first heard of the strange events occurring at Fenn Lodge. Somehow we knew everything would be fine (and it was.)

Cymande bids farewell before heading east to Fenn Lodge. 

Part 6: Pre-wedding Activities at Fenn Lodge

A little dust flew the first day at Fenn Lodge. 

Gary serves the early arrivals his famous apple pancakes. Later in the day we drove back to Vancouver for the bachelor/bachelorette party. We met up with old and new friends and were later impressed with pure, non-olympic, snobby and frustrating athleticism.

Chantal and Noah lead us on a hike to 'underwear falls.' There is a fascinating story that the local native culture relates about the clear water that flows richly with underwear.

Chantal discusses the flora, fauna and occasional underwearless inmate found at the falls.

Philip forms a symbiotic relationship with the temperate rain forest.

Wedding preparations begin. 

There is a story about how the dance floor was screwed to the wall of the barn and through some careful teamwork we removed it. 

The night before the wedding. New guests arrived and delicious food was served by a tireless crew. 

The dance tent is lit.

View from the second floor of the old barn. 

One of the many slugs that roam Fenn Lodge. Chantal woke with a one in her bed. I found one in my shoe. 

Rollie, a cat that drools as much as he purrs.

Part 7: Chanoah Marry!

A large OWR shout-out to brent for his stylish and commemorative buttons. 

We were all drawn to the man with the bagpipes. Ace (the dog) wasn't so sure that the bagpipes were acceptable. The bagpiper didn't even flinch at his protests.

Noah's kilt. We know the answer to the question you are all asking yourselves. 

Chantal and Gary part the rain clouds. For hours before the ceremony it rained and we considered moving it under the tents. Then, miraculously, the rain stopped and we mopped off the chairs. Chantal and Noah were married and the rain promptly resumed.

Philip and Dan take photos of the bride and groom.

(b)rent shoots his raw footage which after editing will shock the world with it's gritty realism. We are waiting.

The reception begins. Prior to this moment all I had eaten was a cupcake. When the artful food items arrived I did everything I could to contain my excitement. Unfortunately that translates into me singularly devouring entire trays of food...or at least it felt that way.

Sadly, we were only able to stay for an hour before leaving to catch our flight in Seattle. 

As we attempt to leave, Ace follows us and because his parents just got married, and because he is wearing a doggie kilt, Cymande feeds him half her precious sesame encrusted meatball. Lucky dog.  

The End. 

PS... Goodbye Canada! Farewell french fry stew! You both are beautiful! Love, Cymande and Gregg
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