Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Hiking and Rockin' in Oregon


I feel asleep to the sounds of I-5 traffic, and woke up to the same, but it didn’t hinder my sleep in the slightest. 

We woke up and took a morning walk, and got to the lobby in enough time for my cup of Motel 6 coffee. I also had an idea: I took a cup of hot water (for tea) and when I got back to the room, I filled it with a tablespoon of coffee grounds. I held the coffee filter over my mug and poured it all into the filter. It dripped into the mug and made me a delicious cup of dark roasted, organic, fair trade coffee. I compared it with the Motel 6 brew, which stood up remarkably well. In all fairness, I didn’t use enough of my beans to make it how I like. I’ll do the same thing tomorrow, but add twice as much coffee to the water. 

Last night, Katie Strong reminded me how easy and important it is to soak raw almonds overnight before eating them. So I put a handful in some water before going to bed, and this morning, I slid the skins off and ate about ten of them with my hard boiled egg. They really do taste better that way. They’re easier to chew and swallow, and reportedly, easier to digest and absorb nutrients from. 

I wanted to take a road trip and go hiking or something like that. Katie pointed me in the direction of the Umpqua National Forest. So after getting gas (did you know that in Oregon all gas stations are full-service; you cannot pump your own gas in the whole state) we headed south. 

I had no real plan. I just knew which direction the forest was and about how far I wanted to go. We’re pretty easy to please with this kind of stuff.  As long as there is unspoiled nature, we’re happy. I’m partial to rivers and waterfalls, but River is keen to just about anything. He’d be happy with a pile of leaves in a rock quarry. Which is pretty much what we ended up with, but still had a great time.

We drove south to Cottage Grove and then headed east into the forest. After driving for about half an hour, we found a trailhead that was easily accessible. So I pulled off and parked at Culp Creek. This webpage describes just exactly how exciting the area was. 

I hooked one end of the 30 foot leash to River and put the handle around my wrist and put my hands in my pockets. I was practicing a hands off approach to guiding him around. He never once reached the end of the leash. He stuck pretty nearby. On occasion, he’d lag behind to really sniff something thoroughly, but he’d alway catch up to me before I was thirty feet out in front. 

Even when dogs were barking at us from the houses across the road, River looked at them, but didn’t react. I was so proud. At one point, I wanted to cross the road because the creek was on the other side, so I just turned off the trail and headed for the asphalt. River followed suit. When we got the edge of the road, I said, “wait.” And he stood still. I looked both ways and when I determined it was clear, i said, “OK.” and we both started walking at the same time. He was just as obedient when we crossed the road again to head back to the trail.  

I have long fantasized about being one of those dog owners who doesn’t need to use a leash. I don’t think I’d ever actually do that, but it’s nice to know that River has it in him.

We played on the trail for about half an hour and then I wiped off his feet and got him back in the car. I took a lot of time. I sat down on the car floor as he was settling into the car seat, and for a change, he was already settled and lying down before I reached for the seatbelt to strap him in.  Not only did he not shiver, but i didn’t see that panic look in his eyes, either. Not even when I walked around the car to get into the drivers side. 

I sat down and no sooner did I say, “Well that was fun.” than I heard raindrops hitting the roof of the car. As I started the engine, the rain got harder and we were pelted all the way back to the motel. Perfect timing, I’d say. 

I had lunch, reheating some of the stuff I cooked at Katie’s house the night before.  I showered, shaved and dressed and reviewed my music for tonight’s class.  

River and I got to the facility about an hour early and I took him for a run in the parking lot. We explored all around the outside of the building and found that there was a big fat river running in the back.  So we played by the river. River was fascinated by the ducks. 

Before class, there was a bit of a technical problem. We didn’t have a cord to connect my iPod to the stereo. One of the students had one at home and she lived four blocks away, so she went to get one. In the meantime, they outfitted me with my microphone and I started talking about Nia and myself and the history of the Rockin routine and also going over some of the movements we would be doing in the routine. Then it dawned on me, since I was hearing myself so loud on the speakers through the microphone, why don’t I just put the iPhone next to the microphone. It worked!  I just put them on a chair and we did class that way. 

Although, we had lost about twenty minutes, before figuring out what to do, so I had to do a condensed version. They didn’t get to do Rock N Roll Hootchie Koo, Immigrant Song, or We Will Rock You. But I think they got a good dose of Rockin Nia!

After showering and eating, I met up with a kind soul who let me use his washer and dryer. So I get to teach in clean pants tomorrow!  Actually my pants were quite clean today and dry. 


I haven’t decided what we’ll do tomorrow.  If I could find a suit that fits, I might go take Katie Strongs Water exercise class. She said River would be welcome to be poolside if he stayed in his crate, which he doesn’t mind at all, as long as he can be with us. And then we might go hiking again, or walk around in town. In the evening, we're going into Eugene to ROCK once again.



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