Wednesday, August 11, 2010


As a person, I have a pretty strong sense of tradition; especially when it comes to family.  When I was young, my family twice drove to Joseph, OR (a small, once rural - now resort town in North Eastern Oregon), where my mother's family originally homesteaded as part of the great western expansion.  They were travelers on the Oregon trail, and their land claim put them on very fertile land, near a lake and traversed by a stream in this mountainous terrain.  It is beautiful and members of my extended family still reside in the community, one family just down the road from the original homestead site.  Anyhow, I digress...  On both of those drives north, my family travelled via the scenic 101 along the California and Oregon coast.  And on our way out of California, we made a stop at an kind of run down little attraction called The Trees of Mystery.  It's a privately owned property covered with Coastal Redwoods and displaying some of the wonderfully unique properties of these incredible, enormous trees (3rd largest species on earth, after the Giant Sequoias of the Sierra Nevadas and the Chinese Sequoias - the real name of which I cannot remember...)

This species has incredible survival potential.  One fallen tree remains sound without decomposition due to it's ability to be nourished by the root systems of other trees which have grown over and around the fallen trunk.  Another tree has 11 additional tress with root systems growing into its branches and feeding from it's root system.  The candle abra tree grew nearly horizontally, searching for light to photosynthesize and then it's neighboring trees dropped their cones on its side.  These cones put down roots into the sideways trunk and began to grow vertically.  (I didn't take many pictures of these, but Rhonda did...  They'll be up on her photog soon no doubt.)

Anyhow, even though it added about 5 hours of driving to our 2-day return trip from Seattle, I insisted that we take the 101 home just so we could take our kids... and Ruby... to this attraction.  Incidentally, there are several worthy roadside attractions along the northern 101 for a family trip...  I recommend it.  By doing so, my kids have continued a tradition that first was attended by my parents in their early marriage, before kids.

You'll notice that outside the trail entrance, we were greeted by Paul Bunyan and his blue ox Babe.  These statues were there when I was a kid, and I remember my parents commenting on them too.  I remember them with chipped and  fading paint, silently and ominously guiding us to the corny but wonderfully educational destination.  Well, on this trip, Paul moved his head to look around.  He waved, winked and held conversations with on-lookers.  Ruby and the kids had a great time climbing on Paul's boot and getting to know this giant Paul Bunyan, who came to rest here after the 1962 World's Fair (which he shared with the Space Needle as their original locations - the Space Needle still being in its original location).  He likes the St Louis Cardinals, even though he has an obvious Giants connection.  And when asked if there was a real Paul Bunyan, he told Molly, "you're lookin' at him sweety..."

Well, Ruby and the kids loved Paul, but I think he was more of a wonder for me than for them; and I feel satisfied that I have continued yet one more small tradition that connects my children to the generations before them.


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