Third try was a charm for my vacation to Oregon

Bob Rodriguez

Someone told me that I have a tendency to procrastinate. I was going to consider the matter but decided to put it off for a while.
With that in mind, it must be revealed that, although I returned home three weeks ago from my trip to Southwest Oregon, I still haven’t unpacked. Yep, still living out of my suitcase until I get a shot of gumption. Not referring to Forrest Gump. Maybe.
A friend asked if I’d like to borrow his sleep mask for my airplane rides. I told him that I already have a pair; they’re called eyelids.
Anyway, my third attempt at a vacation this year was enjoyable, although I did contract some sort of illness approximately halfway through the nine-day trip. Yes, I wore a mask (medical type, not Lone Ranger) aboard all four legs of the outing: Billings to Seattle, Seattle to Medford, Oregon, and the same again, only in reverse for the return.
 On my first fizzled try for a vacation in early April I was stranded for four nights in Evanston, Wyoming, due to a surprise blizzard. During the second fiasco, in early July, I was down for several days in Seattle and Darrington, Washington, with the dreaded COVID yuck for the second time.
Great friends during the most recent and successful excursion in early October (maybe I should begin leaving later) came through for me. Friend and former employee Zina B. picked me up at Jackson County’s Rogue Valley International-Medford and drove me to Cave Junction in Josephine County. There, I was picked up by Teri L., a friend from Brookings, Oregon, in Curry County.
The timing had to be precise due to the Smith River Complex Fire, which was causing periodic closures of Oregon State Hwy. 199. I was saddened while being driven through the Smith River Canyon and seeing the extensive, stark devastation to wilderness, mostly trees. Jedidiah Smith would be sad, too.
The tremendous group of 13 wildfires, which began in August, affected more than 95,000 acres of forestland in California’s Del Norte County. Called 95 percent contained as of last week, the wildfire caused evacuation of residents of Gasquet, several miles south of the Oregon border. Residents of O’Brien in the Illinois Valley of SW Oregon were on “get ready” status.
Teri and her husband, Steve, also a longtime friend, hosted me at their lovely home on a hill in rural Brookings. The place even has a partial Pacific Ocean view, so we saw lovely sunsets. Could not have had better accommodations with good times and good food. Also became acquainted with their diabetic cat, Jake, who requires two injections daily due to his condition.
Besides delicious meals by Teri and Zina, we went to four restaurants for meals. Good grub there, too, especially with Oregon coastal fresh fish.
Zina also hosted me for a night in Grants Pass the day before my return trip and drove me to Medford from Cave Junction because I wanted to be in Medford the night prior to the flight, as it was to leave at 5 a.m. That worked well except for my leaving my hearing aids at the hotel. I got them sent home (to me) for $46.
Overall, it was a fine trip. But (always a but of some sort), I found a $40 parking ticket on my car windshield at Logan International (in Billings, not Boston). Seems as though, even though I used my handicapped parking placard, I managed in the dark and rain (it was 4 a.m. when I parked) to stop atop the marking for a spot.
Advice: Don’t take too much clothing, like 24 pairs of underwear for a nine-day trip. Always wear a mask when flying (in a commercial aircraft). Beware of airport prices; it seemed as though the products were strongly marked up unless you don’t mind paying four bucks for a Hershey bar or $18 for a soft cover book.
And I’m pleased with happy landings, my least favorite part of flying. I cannot believe that the metallic tube can land on those tiny wheels at high speed. Whew, we made it so that I could stop hyperventilating and bending the armrest with my tense hands.
And it’s always good to pray a lot so that you can unclench your jaws.