Thursday, July 14, 2016

Woodstock in Bend, McKenzie Pass and Amazing in Springfield

This was my first visit to Bend, but my relationship to the town goes back several months. Last September someone was arranging a gig for me, but a week before the date, we were contacted by the venue with a bunch of legal documents to fill out and to add their names to my insurance policy. Now, I'm not the type to jump through corporate hoops on a good day. And when I'm traveling, I'm 'out of the office'. So I ended up putting the kibash on the whole thing and said, let's plan for next year when I can take care of these things while I'm in the office. Cut to March of this year when I was working with another person to get something for me in Bend and the same thing happened. I'm due to teach in July and a week beforehand I'm contacted by the venue and asked for an insurance policy in their name and a full background check on me, I was to fill out the questionnaire, which I didn't even look at and wrote back saying this wasn't going to work for me and to cancel it. I was ready to wash my hands of Bend, but for the two nice women who I was working with. I wrote to Libby, the one I was working with this year and said I'd still be up for doing the class if we could find a place without rigamarole.

She did! So I make the trip to Bend. Maybe I was pre-conditioned to see it because of my unfavorable first impression, but it seems to me that I saw an inordinate amount of signs saying "No...." When I first got to the Motel 6, there was a note taped to the counter saying that if you smoke marijuana on the hotel premises, they will call the police. Marijuana was recently legalized in Oregon, but it is still a crime to use it in public; clearly they weren't going to bend those rules. Then while walking to my room I pass the pool with a sign posted "NO pets NO smoking NO glass" (bongs, obviously) and then another sign right next to it declaring "No Dogs Allowed". I began to think the town was full of rule-breakers.


At the burger place, Hardy's where I had a Hawaiian burger, the sign on the door says "No Outside Food".  And in the parking lot, on the building next door is an angry-sounding sign.

I looked around and each little store in the area had signs out front saying only their customers could park there. I mean, come on. how annoying to live this way??

But anyway, today I woke up early and ready for some outdoor Woodstock in a last-minute venue. I looked out the window, hoping to see rain clouds.  Alas, it was a clear sunny day about 78 degrees.
We had eight students show up and it was an awesome day in the park. The grass was soft and green and freshly mowed. There were big trees overhead, but also plenty of sunshine to play in. In the shady part, the grass was still a little bit dewy. I got sunburned. It was actually two more notches in the Woodstock Experience belt; the sunburn and the changing of the venue at the last minute. This group really rose to the occasion and I had a blast dancing with them.

Unfortunately, in the middle of the Melanie song my Bose battery ran out and we were dropped into the silence of the wind and birds and our collective heightened breath. No more candles were going to be laid down or held high. I quickly explained what had happened and did an impromptu bit of closure movement as Libby ran off and brought back another Bose speaker. Which my phone didn't connect to. So I just used the iPhone, set it in the grass, and I planned to close the class with Tuesday Afternoon. But we couldn't hear the phone without circling around it and gathering close. So we did the bit from "Miracle" using the phone as the altar and did the dance of gratitude, Woodstock Style. It was so awesome.

After class, Libby asked me if I wanted a burger. I said yes, which I think surprised some of the others, who thought I'd be more inclined to want a salad or a smoothie. I suggested we go back to Hardy's. This time I got a Swiss and mushroom burger. I loved how fresh the mushrooms were. They were grilled, but only to perfection. They didn't release all their moisture and still had mushroom taste and texture. The swiss cheese was authentic and this time I remembered to get a double patty so it felt very substantial.

I drove over McKenzie pass which offered me many unexpected treasures. Not the least of which were all of the volcanos. At one time, shortly after leaving Bend, I was able to see five volcanos at once. It was impressive. Three of them were known as The Sisters and they were the most prominent.

The highway wound me through forests and past waterfalls and along rivers. We went through an old west kind of town called Sisters.
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It took me by a sea of lava. I was enthralled. I'm sorry that on the picture it just looks like a bunch of rocks, because that's basically what it is. But the sheer amount of them. So many rocks covering so much ground. Piles and piles of rocks all made of the same material.
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Driving through the winding roads, surrounded by piles of rocks was a new experience for me.
This part of the Willamette Forest was obviously caught in a lava flow, but the trees are poking through. Life happens.
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I stopped along the way so River could splash in McKenzie River.

He actually wasn't that interested. He was more interested in the plants nearby.
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 Some of which was poison oak, so I ushered him right back to the car.

We got to Springfield and checked into the Motel 6. I fed River and took a shower and got dressed for class number two. I had about half an hour to answer some emails and then I was off to teach Amazing at the Willamette Adult Activity Center.

This group doesn't use a mirror and they seemed very comfortable with me constantly changing the front of the room, or even standing in the middle with them circled around me, or with me as part of the circle. In this routine, I focus on Directions and Connections. One of the things that I do to create a sense of directions is to lead from different corners or sides of the room for each song.  They weren't phased by that at all.

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