|Pastel Art of James Southworth|
Zach On The Road
September 12, 2006
For the first time, Zach joined Annie and me on our annual summer road trip to visit family and friends in northern California. Jim and Taylor had to stay home for work and school, but Zach and Annie won’t start fall term at Oregon State until later this month. Before leaving, I asked Zach how he wanted to do the trip. All he said was, “I don’t want to get bored sitting around anywhere.” I did my best to accommodate him.
· Country Hills Motel near Cave Junction in southwest Oregon
Zach’s bed: A pullout sofa bed in the living room.
Zach quote regarding bed: “My head sat lower than my feet.”
· Oregon Caves National Monument
Zach on the caves: “It’s just pathetic. An extremely boring cave. There was nothing there. A desperate attempt as a tourist attraction. Everything about the Oregon Caves was just disgusting. I hope an earthquake just destroys the place. There’s just nothing there.”
· Out “N” About Tree House Resort near Cave Junction
This remote facility is a cross between a Boy Scout camp and a hippie commune.
Zach’s bed: A miniature bunk bed in the kid’s room of the Swiss Family Suite, about the size of a large outhouse.
Zach’s on his room: “It was a 6 ½ foot tall house. The bed was six inches too short. The bedding was just a sheet inside a sleeping bag—not really even a bed.
Zach’s take on the resort: It was cool to see the tree houses and structures, but it was incredibly dirty and boring, aside from the zip line. It was a bunch of hippies making money. The first night, I heard drums in the distance. I never wanna see it again.”
· Redwood National Forest
Zach quote: “I was mildly impressed that it has big trees still standing, but I can’t understand why anyone would want to spend more than ten minutes there.
· Aunt Melanie and Uncle Bill’s house in Sacramento
Zach’s bed: A comfy couch in their studio outbuilding.
Zach decided he’d rather watch Melly’s kids than go into San Francisco for the day with the girls. Mom was happy to switch places with him.
Zach on babysitting: “I watched Jacob (4) all day and walked around the zoo three times. Then I picked up the other kids from school and took them to get ice cream. We had a moment of complete doom. Cooper (6) hid behind a car. Jacob started crying for no reason. Suzanne (6) started skipping away. I worked it out from there. But I’m not gonna have kids for a long time.”
· Carmon and Steve’s house in the Sierra Mountain foothills
Carmon is Jean’s high school best friend, now a home-schooling mother of ten.
Zach’s bed: A comfy couch in the living room.
Zach’s quote: “I liked how all of Carmon’s family were chasing the Lord.
“The four youngest boys all wanted to talk to me the entire time, but they were polite and knew to take turns. ‘Stop hunting Zach!’ they told each other.
“Pieter (one of the older boys) took me to a cave where I got to slide into a crack in the ground with only two inches to spare. It was way better than the Oregon Caves because it was slightly dangerous and illegal, with water dripping off the ceiling and graffiti and garbage everywhere.
· Windmill Inn in Ashland, Oregon
We saw the Shakespearean play, “The Winter’s Tale.”
Zach’s bed: His own queen-sized. “It was a real bed that was quite comfy.”
Zach on the Shakespearean Festival: “Shakespeare makes me cranky.”
Where there any surprises about this trip?
“I didn’t realize that we’d be doing so much ghetto camping.” (At the tree house)
How was the food?
“It was like gourmet food. I’m normally lucky to eat three meals a day and not have one of them be a Power bar.”
What was the worst food?
“The waitress at the Oregon Caves hotel called me ‘Abercrombie Boy’ and gave me a poisoned malt.”
How was it being alone with Mom and Annie?
“Being alone with Mom and Annie is a very humbling experience because they’re so much alike. I can’t oppose them or what they wanna do.”
What would you do differently?
“It’s hopeless. It’s the nature of the beast. You guys freak out by poor bathroom conditions.”
Where might you have gone instead?
“Anywhere but the Oregon Caves. I would have rather slept in the car than gone to the Oregon Caves.”
What did you think of Mom’s driving music?
“Mom has good Christian music but otherwise vomit-inducing stuff: hippie-yuppie music. And too many female singers who try too hard.”
How were Mom and Annie as drivers?
“For a girl, Mom’s a pretty good driver. I was really scared when Annie was driving. Girls should not be allowed to drive unless it’s straight.”
What are the ingredients of a good road trip?
“This wasn’t really a road trip because we didn’t drive all night. This was more of a vacation where we went to weird hippie places.
What did you learn from this trip?
“I learned a lot on this trip: Patience, doing stuff you don’t wanna do. It was good to have some quiet time forced upon me for two days in the tree house in my little box room. You can take something that’s bad and flip it upside down to raise up to God. I always try to do that, and I really had to do that on this trip.”
Would you go on this trip again?
“Maybe, if it were shorter, with no tree house, caves, or drive across the mountains.”
How was the drive itself?
“I don’t know. I just wanna get a haircut.”
Zach: “My two to three days of watching or hanging out with the kids. It was the only thing that I really liked.”
Jean: When the waiter at Carlos’ Mexican restaurant in Cave Junction told me that for my age I “don’t look so beat up.”
Annie: “Rappelling off the platform at the zip-line at the tree house resort. I thought I was gonna die.”
~Zach wasn’t home when we stopped to pick him up in Corvallis. He hadn’t even started packing; he used department store bags for luggage. (Zach doesn’t see this as error. He considers the very existence of the Oregon Caves as error.)
(Jean’s note: I loved the caves. I don’t know what he’s talking about.)
~Last February, I ordered tickets on-line for our Shakespeare play. I thought I selected seats in the third row, center. We ended up in the third row from the back, center. I think I read the seating guide upside down.
~Annie wanted to show off her campfire building skills to the tree house hippies at the communal evening gathering. While hunting for matches, she locked our only set of car keys in the trunk. We got AAA to break into my Honda.
Overall, Zach was a wonderful traveling companion. He willingly drove all the difficult stretches of the road. He slept wherever we stuck him. He hauled my heavy suitcase up and down the ladders at the tree house. He filled the gas tank (well, he tried—we’re from Oregon, you know). He called AAA to come rescue us from the hippie woods. If he wanted to join us again, I’d take him. Next summer, perhaps we’ll stay in yurts and tour the Sea Lion Caves on the way to California…?