Monday, February 11, 2008

Oregon in January

Calvin and Hobbes. By Bill Watterson - click to enlarge

I have never shoveled more snow in my life...

By Calvin's father's logic I shoul
d be a cartoon character by now, and to be frank, this may not be far from the truth. As a Southern Californian stuck in this kind of snow, I was put in a kind of youthful and jubilant state of glee (minus the shoveling, of course). Seeing as my mother hails from New England (where snowfall and flurries are almost as common as dropped R's and broadened A's) and my father spent part of his twenties in the mid-west (where he dealt with... well... winter the mid-west), they did not interpret this abundance of snowfall in the same youthful manner as I did. My parents quite often found me in fits of excitement as I reconnected with the past of my childhood visiting the Scott and Cira families in Big Bear and the occasional snowboarding weekend with friends during high school. This kind of snow fall also allowed my father and me to develop an endless list of new ways to toy with and torture our dog, Moh, including a test of her off-road capabilities in 4ft drifts of snow.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Oregon in January

Part 2
What is all this white stuff? And why did the furnace stop working?

(Read Part 1 of this saga below)

Intrigued family member or friend:
"So, does it snow at your place in Ore

Jon "Mountain Man" Olin
"Yea, but it usually is only a few inches ever
y so often and it melts after a few days, anyway."
*Please feel free to click on links or pictures to see an enlargement*

"This is why I left the east coast in t
he first place Jon! To avoid all this snow! Next time I'm staying home and you and Chris and Moh can go together."

OK, I exaggerated a little. My parents were in high spirits during our stay on the McKenzie, but this was not without a few challenges. We arrived on the McKenzie Monday, Jan 28, 2008 and got to work right away. In the event that the weather would hinder us, Dad listed the following as what was most important to get done during this trip:

1) Finish the ceiling in the Great Room.
2) Move everything from the U-Haul trailer int
o the house

Seeing as the trailer was stuck and frozen five houses away from us we saw priority number two slide up to the number one spot and simultaneously disappear from the list altogether. You see, the Toyota 4-Runner we own IS NOT four-wheel-drive. And believe me, there were ample situations where this was demonstrated (about two-dozen times). I can now say, with confidence, that I am handy at putting on tire chains, and then putting them on again, and then again, and again, and again.

Monday was spent un-packing things from the 4-R
unner (parked next to the house), having Dale and David tow our U-Haul trailer off the road (see Oregon in Jan - Part 1) as well as shuttling/trudging some items from the U-Haul to a neighbors house and all the way to our house (see Dorothea below - Terry, this is where you laugh and make a joke)

Tuesday, Jon and Christopher began working on the ceiling. They were both confident about not only finishing in the Great Room and but also being able to start in the master bed room. High up, on the scaffolding they picked up where they left on in August '07, whistling while they worked and singing to Dylan, The Beatles, Simon & Garfunkel, and some strange, funky ethno-music stuff Chris decided to play. They bonded, joked, discussed, and enjoyed really good lunches made by a fantastic chef all while watching snow fall silently outside

The Olins also had some extra company in the house for a few days as Dale and David worked on installing the railing, banister, and staircase. All parts of the staircase were built by hand and installed by the crew who have put so much care, hard work, laughter, and design into our home. And, as promised, we will showcase our superior foreman to you here (He really deserves A LOT of credit)

Speaking of snowing and the outdoors, here are some pictures of what if looked like down the road a little as well as just outside our windows:

On Tuesday morning, the Olins quickly found out that, with all this snowfall (A foot and a half the previous weekend and 2ft. more during the four days we were there), much of it had fallen off the roof and onto the ground below. And what was on the ground below? Ah yes, the heating pump, which by now was running on “emergency” mode because it was literally buried.

Chris decided to enthusiastically dig it out

He did quite well and was very happy about his accomplishment…

until it snowed over night.

On Wednesday, Dale showed up to tell us about the weather forecast for the rest of the week: more snowfall as well as the impending concern of leaving when we have the chance. Therefore, a need to empty the rest of our U-Haul became top priority and, boy, did we hop to it. The rest of the day was spent shuttling furniture and a half-a-ton of granite and tile from the trailer to the house via our 4-Runner where more digging and chain-re-application was prevalent:

One fine Thursday morning at 6am the electricity went out. The only
chipper person in the house was Mountain Man Olin because, to him, this proved to be an adventure! So, with no power to run the compressor or the other tools to complete the final 3 in. of unfinished ceiling or to run the heat pump, Mt. Man turned his attention toward the U-Haul trailer, now a solid, frozen fixture as good as any lawn ornament in front of Roger Best's house.

Electricity returned to the inhabitants of Drury Lane around midnight on Feb. 1st, Eighteen hours after the power had gone out (see the cause here). One text message to friends had read, "Snowed in, no electricity for at least 12 hours, house at 50 degrees and dropping... Donner party style." Nevertheless, the Olin family survived without eating their dog and headed back to Southern California on a gorgeous Friday morning and made it home safe, sound, and as one happy family.

For more, wild pictures of the forest, please follow this link.

Oregon in January

Part 1
The Sojourn (a.k.a The Interminable)
*Please feel free to click on links or pictures to see an enlargement*

Ah yes, the point was argued and discussed many times over between the last throws of 2007 and well into the infancy of 2008. Making a trip up to Oregon during the final week of January proved to require a great deal of speculation before our departure. What kind of speculation you might ask? Well, the kind of speculation that Dorothea and Jon are destined to disagree upon; (Jon) Do we take the quick and easy Interstate 5 during the winter months and chance poor weather and snow-covered roads? or (Dorothea) enjoy a much lengthier, scenic Highway 101 and avoid the stress of assembling tire chains for use on martini chilled roads? All this while pulling a U-Haul trailer filled to the gills with odds, ends, and nearly a half-a-ton of granite and tile (yes... half of a ton).

The strategy-anchored banter between Mr. and Mrs. Olin became a regular form of entertainment during the month of January and, in the end, we were blessed with the outcome of both previously discussed possibilities: The promise of snow covered roads and icy-dicey driving conditions with a twenty-three hour/3-day trek on highway 101 (side note: this driving event was later dubbed, unanimously, "The Interminable" by all the passengers, human and canine).

Albeit a beautiful and scenic route on the 101, it was definitely a test of the bonds connecting the three of us (as Doodah and Meg were not present in the flesh). Jon and Christopher glanced at gorgeous panoramic expanses of dark blue ocean, deep green rock, and a spectacular Kodachrome sunset near Crescent City, CA for mere seconds before returning our surgically precise attention back to the slippery road that lay before us.

Dorothea?... well, Mother doesn't recall any of this due to the fact that she lay in the back seat, white knuckled, eyes shut, whispering, "slow down, slow down, slow... down!" to us. After all, we were speeding at a dangerous 35 mph (I've just been smacked across the back of my head).

For those of you who are not too familiar with driving times up to Oregon, allow me orient you: It takes the Olin family, on average, 14 hours to drive from Burbank to McKenzie Bridge via the Interstate 5 freeway (done in two days). We estimated that it would take us and additional 3 hours if we drove on the 101 from Meg and Mark's house in Oakley (East Bay) in order to avoid the partially closed and snow-covered I-5 in S. Oregon. From the coast near Napa Valley to the border (Crescent City) it took the Olin family 7 hours to traverse. Normally this would have taken two and a half. It too, was covered in snow:

Despite our chagrin of The Interminable, we did arrive at our destination with no emergencies, accidents, falling-outs, or divorces (although Christopher did threaten to "TURN THIS CAR AROUND AND DRIVE BACK TO BURBANK IF YOU DON'T STOP TELLING ME HOW TO DRIVE!"). The drive was filled with lots of talk, listening to music and books on tape, and gazing, wide-eyed, at the allurement of an Oregon winter wonderland:

Shortly after turning onto our beautiful, snow-white road, Drury Lane, we got our trailer stuck and our wonderment was quickly usurped by a much stronger emotion, that of frustration and, possibly, anger. Good thing we had some company on the river to help us solve our problem. Ray Maurer show up to help us unload some of the contents of our trailer into a neighbor's house as Dale and David, who were working on our staircase (see Oregon in Jan - Part 2), used a pickup truck equipped with chains to pull our U-Haul to a safe spot off the road... where it would sit... become covered in snow and ice... the entire time we were there:

After some laughs and warm greetings the Olins settled in at Olinthewoods and quickly came to the conclusion that this winter trip may not go entirely as planned.