Gallery in miniature

For several years my husband and I enjoyed traveling on the highways pulling a travel trailer behind our small Mazda pickup truck. With an apt name of Scamp, the trailer was compact and easy to pull, on the highways or into campsites. Pulling the trailer did reduce our gas mileage but did not make driving at all difficult.

The trailer provided handy, comfortable quarters for short terms and was especially welcome for a potty break, a healthy snack, or a short nap at a rest area. There was no space for cooking a hot meal and because we rarely ate meals in restaurants, we did not eat as much or as often. That was an advantage because our waistlines did not increase (no noticeable decrease, however).

Shrub-Steppe Landscape

I am continuously amazed that the scenery over parts of California, Arizona, Nevada, Oregon, and Washington are very similar. The rock formations differ; not all of the outcroppings are basalt throughout the region, but the terrain is rolling, covered with sagebrush and rabbitbrush. For those who have never driven through such vast open country, it is difficult to believe there is desert between the forested mountains. Telling folks I'm from Washington state, brings up an image of cool green trees and gentle rain. Not where I live.

Some drivers might get bored with the brown landscape but I did not. The air was filled with the wonderful scent of sage during and after the rainstorms. It was especially present in Elko, Nevada, where the altitude is around 5000 feet and pollution did not yet exist.

The long stretches of straight roads are truly amazing in the wide open spaces of the western United States of America. One of the games we played to pass the time, was to guess the length of the straight part of the highway when one came before us. The odometer recorded reality and our guesses almost always fell short of it. Where but in our west could you find a ten mile length of highway without a bend?

Junipers exist as the most common trees, except in rain shadows where hardy pines grow tall, or at least they do until the loggers decide they want them. The altitude is often at five thousand feet, coming down to less than one thousand as we drive into Washington state.

Salmon River Country

Driving in Our Salmon River area is a different experience. There is no desert here. No sagebrush. No rabbitbrush. No basalt. Just green trees, flowering shrubs, and moss in all the dark places. Some not so dark. Never very long distances of straight roads. But it is true of Our Salmon River country.

Roads here are curved with many ups and down, gentle ones to be sure, but hills nevertheless. The added condition that requires caution is rain. Even overcast skies without rainfall reduces visibility, therefore speed might bring your destination closer, or might cause an accident that would brings delays of a tragic nature.

Smooshing a galloping deer will slow you down some, not to mention damaging your car. And I shudder at the thought of what the impact does to the once lovely animal.

Naomi Sherer


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Last Modified: Sunday, 29-Feb-2004 01:22:55 EST