Saturday, June 29, 2013

Casino, Tornado, Coprolite, Dinosaur

Went on a road trip the other week. Ever since my cousin Nancy moved back to California from Washington we’ve talked about meeting in the middle, and finally Nancy suggested we meet someplace on Interstate 5, which would be a straight shot for both of us. She knew just the place: the Seven Feathers Casino and Lodge in Canyonville, Oregon. I may have mentioned before that my cousin Nancy loves to gamble. She occasionally wins, and has the self-control to stop playing when she’s losing. This makes her a happy gambler. When she was moving from Washington to California she stopped at Seven Feathers and hit a largish jackpot, so she is prejudiced in favor of the place. She made the reservations. The day finally came, and we both set out, she heading north and me heading south. The radio the first day was full of news of Edward Snowden and discussion of his heroism or treason. I put in a book on CD and happily drove on. The first night I stopped in Vancouver to visit my friend Sonya; Nancy stopped at the Rolling Hills casino in Corning, California, and won another largish jackpot. She called me to say I could order whatever I wanted for dinner the next night. This is the difference between my travels and Nancy’s travels: she often comes out ahead on the trip. The next day, after listening to a profoundly depressing lecture by Noam Chomsky on Oregon Public Broadcasting (Portland has the greatest selection of radio stations! Chomsky says we’re undoing the Magna Carta!), I once more headed south. I stopped to visit my friend Pennie and her husband Tom in their new home in a small town in the Oregon mountains. They showed me a lot of the sun stones they had found the last couple of years in their searching up in the eastern Oregon desert, then handed me a petrified dinosaur egg. Yes, friends, I held a petrified dinosaur egg in the palm of my hand. On one side was the smooth petrified shell. On the other side, the shell was gone, and you could see tiny feathers and the hints of the limbs of the creature that coiled up inside the shell all those thousands – millions? – of years ago. It never hatched, but it lives on in stone and it is a marvel to hold in your hand.
Clockwise, left to right: dinosaur egg, coprolite, sun stones Tom also trotted out a coprolite, or lump of fossilized dung. Funny, but thousands of years later and with its organic matter replaced by minerals, it still looks exactly like what it is. I googled “coprolite” and soon was looking at a poster of a dinosaur taking a poop with the legend, “Coprolite happens.” Moving on to Seven Feathers, I met up with Nancy and we proceeded to do what we do so well together: nothing. By nothing I mean we talked about everybody and everything, which Nancy calls “solving the world.” So we solved the world, and we had meals in the casino restaurant, and we gambled, and we went swimming, and we slept late, for two glorious days. No large jackpots, no big losses. At the end of our two days, we sadly said good-bye and headed for home. I drove up the Willamette Valley in torrential rains and wondered if I might see a tornado and if I’d watched too many of those storm chaser shows. Apparently, though, there was an EF1 tornado that day in McMinnville. Don’t you hate it when reality bears out your paranoia?
Arrived home tired and ready to rest up from my break, but learned that when I went south, so did a lot of things around the house, so now I’m in the middle of dealing with all that. It’ll be a long time before I leave home again, but it was wonderful seeing my cousin and my friends, and holding a dinosaur in my hand. I never expected to do that.

1 comment:

sherrymoe said...

Having recently zoomed down the same highway to Chehalis for my new puppy companion, I can relate to that feeling of gliding freely along the ribbon to an adventure. Thoughts of living in an RV came to mind. No more of this stodgy residence stuff for me!!

I guess we do always come home again though. I'm glad you had such a good time and to hear they are doing well. Nice article, Mary.