Wednesday, January 30, 2019


I went to the wedding.

My first.

I left Saturday, just after noon.  It's not a long drive to Sisters.  A bit over two hours.

I have been that way before.   A few years ago, a friend and I went camping at Suttle Lake, which is just past the  junctions of highway 20, 126 up through the mountains from Eugene, and highway 22, that cuts through the mountains from Salem.  Highway 20 cuts through from Sweet Home and is the worst maintained of the three ways through the mountains.

Also a few yeas ago, I made four trips to Tombstone Pass, in search of a cat lost in a terrible wreck up at Tombstone.  It haunts me still that I never found Bella and no one else did either.  She was riding with her person from Bend to Corvallis when her person lost control and went over the steep embankment just a couple dozen feet beyond the ODOT road cam located at Tombstone Pass, in the middle of the night.

However, when she was asking for help online, then in messages with me, she didn't tell me the correct location of her wreck.  Searching for a cat lost in that forest, with not a single dwelling within miles and miles meant there was no hope for Bella unless she was found.  But its like searching for a needle in a haystack, even if I'd known the wreck location the first time I went.  To not get the correct location until the third trip up was devastating to me.  By this time over two weeks had passed since Bella had been last seen, when her person went over that embankment.

I stopped at Tombstone, to remember Bella and that search.  My brother asked me when I told him I'd stopped if I expected to find her, years later.   No, I said.  Maybe I thought I could make peace with her ghost.

There was quite a lot of snow at Tombstone, when I went through last Saturday

This is the weather station and road camera at Tombstone.

I climbed over the embankment of snow from the snow plowed road up to the weather station.  That's the parking lot and also trail heads beyond, all now very familiar to me, after walking all those trails when searching for Bella

Highway 20, looking east from near the Tombstone weather station.
The most memorable thing about the search for Bella was my encounter with a loser guy from Cascadia.  I'd passed him on the way up, slogging along on a bike, looked homeless and high, pushing his bike on the steep parts.  I knew, when I passed him, I'd probably have to deal with him later.  I spent hours up there, had traps set, and then from a high point, with my binocs, I saw him coming up the last slope, pushing his bike.   I considered hiding, but knew he'd probably break into my car.  So I had to pick up traps and just as I'd loaded them and was in the car, he arrived.  Immediately he wants to engage in conversation.  I only cracked the window, and shoved some emergency energy bars through to him and two bottles of water.  That was not enough for him.  He dismissed my search for a lost cat as stupid.  I knew he would.  I asked if he was high on meth.  He said he'd quit that.  i asked when.  Last night, he says.  I chortled.   Oh, you're high and decided to take off on your bike, I say, with no food or water or shelter or plan.  Yeah, he says, can you drive me to Sisters.  No, I say.  Hell no, I add, disgusted with his selfishness.  He then tries to hit on me.  I guess he wants to go have sex in the outhouse.  I start the engine and peel out of there.   What a piece of work.   I should not have given him food and water, I thought later.  He only sees himself and his needs and never looks outward at anything else.   A true loser that should not be encouraged to survive and pull such stunts again.  If he had known the disgust I felt towards him, interrupting my search, being such a dick, and that my right hand gripped a can of bear pepper spray, ready to blast him if he stepped toward my car window, would he have moved on?  Maybe I should have done it anyhow, for Bella's sake.  This guy was voluntarily lost.

After that I went on to Black Butte ranch, which is not too far west of Sisters, and where my brother had rented a house for his family and was holding a baked potato dinner Saturday afternoon. 

It didn't go so easy getting into Black Butte ranch.  It's a gated place where the rich play and then rent their houses out to make more money when they're not there.  The "Welcome" station before the gate was not so welcoming.  They require registration and a code to get through the gate when visiting people who live there or who are renting a house.  The young woman who checked me in complained there were not supposed to be events there and they'd already let a lot of people through to that rental and they would ticket anyone parked on the street and there was no more parking there.   She was decidedly NOT friendly.   My other brother and his wife, from Idaho, had arrived by then.  They were tired, having gotten up very early to get a  plane from Boise to Redmond.  Then they rented a car in Redmond.  They had a room rented in Bend.  They were being given the same stern "welcome".  So we decided to park outside the gate and walk the mile or so to the rental house.

We were over halfway there when my nephew came along and gave us a ride.

The house was packed and not only that, my younger brother, the groom's father, said neither the heat in the house, nor its stove, worked.  They'd been baking the potatoes on a grill outside.   I didn't think much of Black Butte Ranch after that.

They got them done and there were lots of toppings on a table.  People lined up to get a potato.  Everyone seemed jolly.   I vaguely knew a few people there, but it was nice to see my nieces and my brothers.  I didn't get to see them much more than a few minutes here and there.

There were enough tables so most of the 40 or so people there could find somewhere to sit.  Within 40 minutes of my arrival everyone had finished eating and now we endured a rather lengthy religious service in Portuguese.   My nephew was marrying a woman from Brazil.  Her brother in law is a preacher and was there, from Brazil, with her sister.     I had some trouble staying awake.  Religious monologues have put me to sleep since I was a child.

Right after that, everyone left.  They were going to go rehearse the wedding.   I got a ride back out to my car and drove to the motel in Sisters.  I got there by 6:00 p.m.  Now what to do. 

The room was nice but quite hot.  I could not figure out how to adjust the heat unit.  I'd forgotten my reading glasses, among other things.    In the end, I suffered through the excessively warm room, without figuring a way to cool it down.  The bed was huge, big enough I could sleep sideways on it if I'd wanted to.  I'd forgotten to bring a book.  The TV was cable connected but I couldn't find much to watch except the last half of old movies I'd seen before.

The next morning I woke very early since I'd gone to bed so early.  I watched the end of Hunger Games, the first movie of that series, and finally went to the free motel breakfast which I might have enjoyed if one of my brother's friends hadn't come along.  He could put a damper on a rain forest.      The employee working the breakfast bar was very enthusiastic and loaded a plate for me.  It wasn't what I wanted, but I took it because she was just so nice and later got what I wanted, a bagel, that I toasted.  I covered one side in cream cheese and the other in peanut butter and honey.  That was good!

I got dressed for the wedding.  It started at 11:30 a.m. and I got there 15 minutes early.

The wedding was held at a golf course lodge.  Last minute they switched it outside because the weather was sunny and beautiful.  I didn't even need a coat.  The valley, meanwhile, was smothered in creepy dense fog.
That's the North Sister off in the distance.

There were maybe fifty or sixty people there.  My one niece was up from Arizona and was one of the bridesmaids.  The other niece had come down from Tacoma and was there with her boyfriend.  She was also a bridesmaid.  My Arizona niece had to take off right after the ceremony to catch a plane home.  The ceremony was short, with the first bit in English then the Portuguese preacher guy had his say too.  They said vows to each other but it was impossible to hear what they said.  And that was that.

There was food afterwards but it took a long time to get any of it, as it was a taco bar, with one serving station, and the line was long.  It took almost an hour to get two small tacos.

After that everyone left.  I had already checked out of the motel and so I just drove on home.  I don't know if the newlyweds went from there on a honeymoon or not.   I would assume they did.

My younger brother and his wife I'm sure are happy its over.  They looked so tired.

I hit the valley fog just above Foster Reservoir on the drive home and descended into it.


  1. All in all it sounds like a good weekend. Glad you were able to go.

    1. Yes an adventure and was great to see my Idaho brother and his wife. It's been almost two years since I last saw them.

  2. I enjoyed reading your travelogue although not all of it was enjoyable for you. That was a beautiful backdrop for a wedding, but they took a big chance on the weather scheduling it there this time of year.

    1. Oh it was gorgeous weather, LandL, but yes, that was taking a chance. Normally it would be cold and raining or snowing or freezing, in the mountains.

  3. In my (limited) experience, weddings are often a mixed bag. I am glad you were able to get there and see some of the family. And that scenery would have had me mesmerised.

    1. Wasn't very long, that's for sure and a very quick trip to the moountains and back but the day was gorgeous once in the mountains!

  4. That was a good read and although not perfect I think you must be pleased you made the effort. Good for your rels to see you and be reminded of you.

    1. Yes, I'm happy I went Andrew and it was nice to see relatives I almost otherwise never see.