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In birthday celebrations we headed off, how! down the road through Oregon for a visit to Reno and Vegas. These sights lie off the road, as we drove, where we stopped. Starting out with long roads. The cloudy skies and fog vanishing at lookout point lake, the white air around us suddenly an unnatural blue – as if a diesel ahead of us had belched out all the days exhaust at once. But on the other side of that underpass we looked u to see the blue sky breaking through the fog. We continued up over Willamette pass.

There we stopped to look at Diamond peak, se the sign says so. But if you look at that range… is there just one diamond peak, or other names unmarked?

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Down into pine forests, a high flat desert of cold and dry aid beyond the cascades. Occasionally a peak to the west rising out of the cultivated trees – before or after crater lake I could not tell. A stop for gas, the side of an old general store staring down on the black pavement. Chipped paint on signs. mobile homes. A light dusting of snow At an RV park and men with beers around a fire.

Down a pass and the trees are snowy – No, frozen. The sky is blue and cold. On their southern sided the trees are dark green, in the dark shade they are black with frosty white gloves.

The lake of Klamath is frozen, yet it’s moisture rises into the air and coats the land. The trees are white with rime, summer pastures of wheat hold only ice, and even the mud is hard with cold. Do the train’s telegraph lines still signal?

Small towns, turns, giggly food stores, Merril, closed shell and new shell. long open roads between farms and the w(r)ong potatoes. Hills and stones thrusting up and swelling sensually between the rails of steel that built a nation. Rails left to gather hay as the trucks blast by.

we stop stretch and shoot.

The way is misleading, but upset voices talking set us right. Night comes for a full moon rise while the miles burn by and the hills glow as the stars fade.

In Reno friends are a cheerful sight accompanied by local brews (at grand brewery). We walk a maze of lights and bells and empty faces pushing buttons. But call it good and find a bed. Sleeping sound though a cat makes lots of sound and is a friend.

Next day onward, slowly, slow to get onto the road. Support from friends, welcoming hosts. shopping then making pint after pint of juice and toasting some rye. At last the hills build around us while the pavement rolls past and lakes come and go headed south again.

Grand cars are seen, more barns; the fields pass by. Wild hills roll, and rise up. With sensual shadows lengthening.

day fading we stop by iconic mountains to catch the sun’s last kiss along our scenic route towards bishop along the backside of the Sierra Nevadas.

And a little farther with the glow in the sky and spreading land below and thrusting up we pause again.

Night comes and we pass the towns, the bakery still open but not wanting to stop, press on, press on – to vegas. Turning onto a smaller road, still well kept it winds along and up. From california to Nevada past the bristle cone forest, whose sign we see emerging from the dark, then quickly gone. And driving, sitting in the back with head tilted to peer through the rear windshield. Two stars fall from that hazy milky way and all too briefly streak among the stars.

In the darkness of a high valley we stop again to marvel at the stars. Stumbling through the short dry bushes. The moon was briefly seen between the peaks but now stays hidden.

And we press on, driving, going, to vegas, to vegas.

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