Friday, June 19, 2009

road trip

After these past couple of months I've almost forgotten how to blog, let alone paint. Yesterday I was co-jurying a chapter show for the FCA and the NEED to paint came rushing back in. Just a few more days to go ... and bodies to bury.

It's been three weeks since Sonya and I hit the road to collect Coco in Idaho and I have only now assembled the photos for blogging. It was a great trip, if rushed, as we had to cover almost 1500 km in three days. We didn't take the fastest route, mind you, and it was well worth it. We crossed into Washington state at Nighthawk, an itty-bitty crossing between the lake districts of British Columbia and Washington. The Canadian side of the border is fairly well populated (by western North American standards, that is) but we were amazed at how empty it was in that part of northeastern Washington. Miles of lonely roads and stunning vistas. This semi-desert region is definitely not what most people think of when they think of BC and Washington. And I totally revise what I said a few weeks ago about small-town interstate USA. The only indication of corporate America in beautiful, remote old towns like Tonasket and Republic is the Bank of America. These towns are a national treasure full of unpretentious charm and character. We spent two nights (both going and coming) in the gold-rush-era mountain village of Republic at a plain but pristine motel that was dirt cheap and had deer wandering by. We had dinner at the local tavern that night, surrounded by a Hog convention (and I'm not talking piggies).

Leaving Republic for Idaho on Day Two we drove over mountains dotted with Tamaracks, a conifer that loses its leaves in the fall (and is apparently spectacular) and is unusual in this part of the world. And we got pretty lucky in the wildlife-spotting department:

I was getting pretty anxious to meet my new dog and see Mary Ann, who I hadn't visited in several years, so while approaching Spokane, an hour west of our destination of Coeur d'Alene, Idaho, I picked up a state trooper and a $113 souvenir of the USA. I blame Sonya's Acura as it's so much zippier than my geriatric piece-o-shite.

Our visit with Mary Ann, Jim, and the extended pack was lovely but way too brief, and Coco has turned out to be a perfect fit. I adore her. She is quite different from our former dogs. She and Jesse spent a week together before I had to give the black clown up for advanced training and though he outweighs her by 30 lbs of flesh and at least that much of bull-in-a-china-shop-itis, by the end of the week she had him totally wrapped around her little paw. She's worked the same magic on the rest of us.

We retraced our route
home because it was so lovely, and hit Sherman Pass (1675 m/5500 ft), near Republic, at sunset. There are a lot of stark, dead trunks of trees throughout the dry pine forests of the region (caused, apparently, by 1988's White Mountain Fire), and I went a little crazy at the pass, trying to capture them against the incredible colours of the sunset. Call me trite and a shallow romantic, but it was real eye candy. More photos here.

Back home, the whirlwind that is June in the 'burbs just doesn't compare with three short days of freedom, and Sonya was an excellent travelling buddy. But I have me a new dog and all is well. (And we just missed Brad Pitt, right Louise?)


Blogger Ponita in Real Life said...

Wow! What a trip! Stunning photos, Andrea. And Coco is gorgeous. So happy for all of you!

19/6/09 6:54 p.m.  
Blogger Ellen said...

That eagle picture is Nat.Geographic material. Amazing! (the bear looks a little p.o'd, how close WERE you?) What a great little travel post.You're making me long for a road trip.

19/6/09 7:37 p.m.  
Blogger Peter said...

What an excellent tale! I really got a flavour of it! Road trips are the best, aren't they?

20/6/09 3:02 a.m.  
Blogger Heather Plett said...

I'm waiting to see that tree trunk picture appear as a painting! :-)

Looks like a lovely place to visit. Makes me long for a road trip.

20/6/09 6:27 a.m.  
Blogger Melody said...

Thanks so much for sharing the trip with us through words and photos.......and amazing photos they are. Great looking dog too!

20/6/09 12:12 p.m.  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yeah, I also want to know how close your were to that bear!! Amazing photo's. I really really want to do a road trip in Canada/USA!!! Some day.....

21/6/09 1:32 a.m.  
Blogger zIggI said...

FAntastic and your pictures are stunning. Coco is beautiful.

21/6/09 2:27 a.m.  
Blogger ValGalArt said...

What a wonderful travelog! The journey is amazing and your pictures are spectacular!!! You captured so much in 3 days and you show that the world is a beautiful place when you see :) Love that coco has one ear up and one down, very charming!

21/6/09 7:12 p.m.  
Blogger Laure Ferlita said...

What a fun trip! Would love to see this part of the country!

Looks like you and Coco were made for each other - yay!!

22/6/09 4:18 a.m.  
Blogger dinahmow said...

Yay! She's back in the saddle!
Hope all you other readers hop over to Flickr cos there some "gasp!" moments there, too.

23/6/09 3:14 a.m.  
Blogger secret agent woman said...

Wow, great photos, but that eagle who has nabbed a fish was flat astounding.

23/6/09 7:09 p.m.  
Blogger andrea said...

Ponita: She is a constant delight. Not sure how I got so lucky.

Ellen: Not too 'slide show boring' then? Phew. I took a lot of photos of the bear but I was still in the car...

Peter: You bet. I'm already wondering about the next...

Heather: It just may! I think I'll do a drawing first, though.

Melody: I got some really lucky shots this time. Thanks.

Laura: Just call ahead!...

Ziggi! No funnies! You disappoint me! :)

Val: There are breeders and dog showers who have surgery done to "fix" ears like that, too! How could they?

Laure: So different from where you are -- I think you'd love it.

Dinah: ALMOST back in the saddle. I do occasionally find pockets of time. It's already better, though.

SAW: I could not believe that I saw that eagle fly by just as I had my camera out. It was amazing luck.

24/6/09 7:44 p.m.  
Blogger Ian Lidster said...

Love your small town pics and I too really am often enchanted by smalltown USA. Maybe that comes from the movies.

25/6/09 10:41 a.m.  
Blogger nadine said...

Ditto, ditto and ditto.
Love both the photos and the story of your trip. Posts like this are why I still love the internet :-)

26/6/09 12:38 p.m.  
Blogger Jana Bouc said...

OMG! Coco is beautiful and looks so sweet -- both gentle and strong. I'm so happy that you at last have your "real" dog. Congratulations on all your hard work with Jessie and his successful graduation to the next level. These photos are astounding! An eagle and a bear in just a couple days. ANd that sunset is fabulous. You are so creative, even when you're not painting. Those little towns look like they'd be so fun to sketch.

30/6/09 11:54 p.m.  
Blogger Kikipotamus said...

Oh, wow, what beauty! I am a tad envious of your gorgeous road trip..well, except for the speeding ticket.

5/7/09 6:00 p.m.  

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