Thursday, December 22, 2011

Be scared. Be very, very scared

After a holiday vacation that has already been filled with too much good food and not enough exercise—and yes, it isn’t even officially Christmas yet—the big-bummed girl is making plans. January, the season of goals, will be my month. I am preparing ahead to make myself suffer.
Behold the Big-Bummed Boot Camp! If I survive, I will be stronger for it. There will be more posts ahead as I prepare my master plan. 2012 Will be my year!

Monday, October 31, 2011

Halloween, Graveyards, and an Eerie Occurrence

Since today was Halloween and and weatherman promised a dry and clear day, I took my promised ride to the South Yamhill Cemetery. What better way to spend All Hallows Eve?
    Today started out absolutely stunning. The sun shone bright, the autumn colors were at their height, and everything was scented with fresh rain.  It was heavenly. I quickly made it to the cemetery with little trouble. I stopped to take this photo to prove to you just how beautiful the trees are right now.

For the first time, the cemetery was actually open. Usually I have to sneak around a chain across the road. I wonder if they specifically opened the cemetery just for Halloween? It wasn't open on Saturday, which would seem like a more realistic time to open it to visitors.
     Today I brought a handy little gadget that I picked up on Ebay for $40. It is a little Dano word-processor by Alphasmart. I thought it would be perfect for writing when I take little trips on my bike. It is small, light, and it fits perfectly in my little backpack. It also has a long battery life and it transfers my documents straight over to my laptop when I am done. It is extremely spiffy.
     I am always amazed at how much the cemetery can change in just a few days.  The beautiful leaves had already fallen off the biggest tree.

     The bare tree adds a creepy mood to the graveyard. It seems like winter is sneaking up on us.

     Speaking of eerie, check out these mushrooms! I love the black one.

     In the midst of the dead and decaying leaves, I did find a wonderful surprise. It was an abrupt reminder that even when surrounded by death, life will flourish. Look at these vibrant purple flowers that popped up around a grave.

After taking all my photos, I decided to get down to work and start writing. Wanting to be inspired by my adopted ghostly muse, I left an autumnal offering at the grave marker of Joseph Houck.  I hope he likes the baby pumpkin.
    In return, I slipped the little rock back in my pocket that I had left as an offering on his gravestone a few weeks ago. I had a reason for this; it has to do with my little ghost story that I am writing.
     I then sat down next to the marker and pulled my word-processor out. I spent the next two hours planning the plotline for my ghost story. I am pretty excited about it. It of course will include both my ghostly muse and the gravestone that sits next to him. 
This gravestone is completely unmarked. I can't find any information about it. But my imagination has run wild with speculation. This little grave marker will play a huge part in my ghost story.
    The minute I finished writing and decided that I should start to head home, the weather changed. As I put on my bike helmet, the sun disappeared behind a dark cloud and the air chilled. I shivered, and hopped on my bike. 
     As I left the boundaries of the cemetery, it started to rain. At first it just sprinkled, but the further I went from the cemetery, the harder it poured. Soon I was biking through torrential rain.
     That is when I decided that karma was getting even with me. I had stolen the rock that I had left as an offering a few weeks ago. I guess replacing it with a new offering was not good enough to appease the nasty weather.  I got back to my house seven miles later completely drenched and frozen.  
     I was selfish too, I didn't return the rock. It is sitting in a box in my bedroom along with Teddy Bear. Don't be surprised if some of this winds up in the the ghost story  :D

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Melancholy days

Autumn is here! I have a love/hate relationship with the season. I adore the beautiful colors and the crisp air, but I hate knowing that winter is coming with its cold, dreary days of constant rain.
I decided to take advantage of the decent weather to go for a quick bike ride.The weatherman said it wasn’t supposed to rain. So I hopped on my bike to take some photos of the gorgeous autumn colors.   Click on any photo to enlarge it.

The trees are spectacular right now. Photos don’t do justice to the vibrant colors.

Of course, the weatherman was wrong. A soon as I got about 3 miles into my ride, it started to rain. It was only a few sprinkles, so I continued on. 
I had to stop and take this photo. The monster looks creepy staring down at me from the window.

While I was taking this photo, a fellow bicyclist snuck up behind me and said hello. It scared the snot out of me. I’m not used to seeing many people on Old Sheridan Highway and I didn’t hear his approach.
 Yes, I almost screamed; the biker seemed very amused by this. With my adrenaline pumping, I continued on my ride. I wanted to show you this view because it is so beautiful. This is what I see when I bike down Old Sheridan Highway. It is so green and the hills look tranquil.

Here is another view off those hills, this time with thistles in front of them. There were lots of tractors out working the fields today.

I have meant to post a picture of this barn. It was here that I found the teddy bear.

Right next to it is this contraption thingy with Fargo written on it. I don’t know what it is, but it looks rustic with the trees behind it.

My next stop was the South Yamhill Cemetery. I was hoping the trees would be colorful here. It didn’t disappoint me. Everything looked somewhat spooky in the autumn weather.

While taking pictures, I saw some dirt fly up from the ground. I admit, my first thought was “ooh, zombies”. I have been watching too many zombie movies lately.
It ended up being a gopher digging, not nearly as exciting as a zombie.

The rain was starting to really pour, so I decided to head home. I think I will come back on Halloween. That seems like the perfect day to visit the dead.

Monday, October 10, 2011

A Klutz and a Hero

In the world of klutzy people, I am the clumsiest. I am living proof that anyone can ride a bike. If you don’t believe me, as the hubbyman, he will gladly attest to my lack of dexterity.
Because of my extreme ineptitude, this post is sadly lacking in photos. You see, for the umpteenth billion time, I dropped my camera while biking. But this time, I was idiotic enough to not even realize I dropped it until half-way through the ride.  Waaahhh!
It was such an awesome ride too. I went with my biking buddy Adrienne who is the best person to ride with if you want a completely insane, off-the-wall, spontaneous experience. On this ride, we decided to go to a couple of the cemeteries I visited on my last ride.
We took Old Sheridan Road out to visit South Yamhill Cemetery and McCabe Chapel. The church was decorated with a pumpkin for Autumn.

Here is Adrienne sitting next to the pumpkin.

And I had to have a photo too.

After leaving McCabe we set out towards Oldsville Road.  I had to stop and take a picture of this Llama because you know how much I adore the little buggers.

And I loved these sheep out in the field. It looked so pastoral.

Check out the size of these pumpkins! I love Autumn because of the leaves, pumpkins and sunflowers.

We also passed by a beautiful Vineyard.

The grapes are dark purple and hanging off the vines. I was so tempted to try one. But I was a good girl.

Further on, we got distracted by some apples growing on the side of the road. Since they didn’t appear to belong to anyone, and they were literally falling off the tree and going to waste, we and stopped to fill our backpacks.

This is the last time I remember using my camera.  We went merrily on our way, oblivious that my camera lay hidden deep in the grass after falling out of my pocket.
We rode on to the United Brethren Cemetery where Adrienne wanted to take a picture of me riding up the lone wagon type track with my backpack on, and teddy bear waving to the bystanders. But, to my horror, the camera was gone!
So we had to visit the cemetery sans camera. It was heartbreaking. I was also afraid that I would never see my beloved camera again. It has been through so much and has survived some serious spills while still taking beautiful photos.
At the cemetery, we again picked apples, this time determining to make Persephone pie and crisp out of all the apples we had picked that day. 
Riding back, we searched along the roads. We stopped where we picked the apples, and found nothing. I was in the depths of despair, but Adrienne would not give up. She was determined to find it.
And she did, because she is awesome. So if you ever lose something, ask her to help!
Here is where she found it.

We rushed home and even made it back in time to pick up the kids from school. What a fun ride! We even put in 28 miles that day. Hurrah! 
When I made the crisp, the kids freaked out after learning that the apples had come from a cemetery. They were afraid they would eat essence of dead people.  Funny thing though, it didn't stop them from eating massive amounts of the crisp . 

Monday, October 3, 2011

6 Cemeteries in 6 hours and 60 miles

I have been trying to actually stick to my new motto of get busy living or get busy dying. Because of this mindset, I was recently seized by what was a clearly an insane idea. I decided to do a bike tour of the nearest cemeteries.
Google maps provided me with my destinations: 6 cemeteries within a 60 mile radius. Click on any photo to enlarge it.

Knowing that this ride would take me a long time, I armed myself with the necessary tools. I loaded my backpack with Teddy, bagels and Nutella, my camera, a notebook, and a cutting from one of my favorite roses. I figured that I could do anything if I had enough Nutella with me.
I left the house at 8:30. The air was brisk, and I felt ready to face anything.
My first cemetery was the one I was most familiar with, the South Yamhill Cemetery.
I wanted to place the rose at the headstone of Joseph W. Houck, who I’ve been doing a bit of research about. I learned from the1880 census that he was either crippled or maimed. Because of this, he was never able to go to school. It seems so tragic. I wonder what happened to cripple him? There was no listing of diseases like polio or measles.
I figured it had been a long time since someone had left something like flowers at his grave.

Here are some other photos of the cemetery.

I love the rusty gate that leads to the cemetery.

Knowing I didn’t have a lot of time to dawdle, I proceeded on to my next destination: The United Brethren Cemetery. You may recall that Hubby and I attempted unsuccessfully to locate this cemetery on a prior ride.  This time I was determined to find it.
Heading down Oldsville Road, I stopped to take a few more photos.

These wild turkeys caught my eye and I had to take a picture. As I stood there taking the photo, this friendly horse came by and see what I was doing.

I also wanted to take a photo of this roadside memorial. Since I was visiting so many cemeteries, I thought it fitting to also add this to my photo collection.

I cheated going to the United Brethren Cemetery. I didn’t take Muddy Valley road. I couldn’t bear the thought of facing all of those hills on such a long ride. I decided to take Delashmutt Ln instead. (Yes, I checked how to spell it, I can’t even pronounce it right). Since I'm an idiot, I missed my turn off and ended up on Highway 18 instead.
Bad, bad, move because I seriously dislike cars. I was passed by 3 semi trucks on that short trip down highway 18. It was completely unnerving!
After my nightmare of being blown all over the road by the trucks, I stopped behind the Fresh Palate Café in Bellevue to eat my bagel with Nutella.
 I sat on this beautiful bench.

And looked at this statue of a dragon while I ate.

What a cute little place. I want to come back some time and taste their food. In someone’s backyard, I saw this spiffy tree and had to take a photo.

So this time I found the United Brethren cemetery thanks to this sign.
It was an interesting trip to get there.  I had to ride my bike up this little rut in the hillside.

As I rode the trail with my skinny little tires, I contemplated what I would do if I got a flat tire from one of the blackberry thorns along side the trail.
As I turned and headed up this part of the trail,I admit, I started thinking about zombies. Blame it on the dark forest that was right next to the trail. But I realized that no one would know what happened to me, if I was attacked, unless they found my little pink backpack with the teddy bear in it covered in blood.

With such useless thoughts running through my head I reached the top of that long trail ride and found a cemetery worth risking my brains for.  Here is the view from the top of the hill. That little line way in the back is the paved road to find the cemetery.
This is the United Brethren Cemetery. It is amazing, and completely overgrown!
Here are a bunch of photos.
 I love the apple tree in the center of the cemetery. Yes, I ate an apple off of it. That’s just the morbid kind of thing I like to do. I suddenly wondered if I would be like Persephone, unable to leave the home of the dead.

I saw this headstone and for a second thought it was awesome, until I realized that it said ODOM, not DOOM. How disappointing.

I also liked this little fence that housed Mrs. Payne.

This headstone caught my eye. It was for a brother and sister who died a year apart. One was 19, the other 18. So many young people died back then.

I didn’t get attacked by Zombies, and I continued my ride to the next cemetery.  Again, I was topographically challenged and couldn’t find Deer Creek Road off of the Bellevue Highway. 
I ended up at my next cemetery destination in Amity. There I called my parents to get directions to the Deer Creek Cemetery.
The Amity Cemetery is well-cared for and large. I’m drawn to the cemeteries that are overgrown and less visited. So I only took a few pictures.

Once again, I hopped on my bike in search of Deer Creek Cemetery.  Deer Creek Road is an unmarked dirt road. Not fun on a road bike but at least the road wasn’t full of thick gravel. On this road was a picturesque barn.

I looked for any signs of the cemetery, and again missed my turn off. I reached the end of the road and had to turn around.  The turn-off is just a little bit of dirt. There is no other indication that there is anything back there at all!
But, the cemetery is neat. Whoever first buried someone there, didn’t think of the consequences of building a cemetery next to a river.

Every head stone was leaning over, and the graves were all sunken in. It looked like something from a creepy horror movie. 
In this photo, I am honestly standing up straight!
I liked this headstone; it is simple but beautiful.

Another touching memorial.

It was getting late in the day and I had to hurry home in time to pick up the boys from school. I rode as fast as I could so I could reach my final two cemeteries that are luckily right next to each other.
Anyone living close to McMinnville has seen these two cemeteries. They are on highway 99 just as you enter the city.  The first is Evergreen memorial Park, a well-manicured, modern cemetery.

This cemetery is St. James Cemetery.  I love the angels standing guard at the gate.

This is my favorite headstone.

And this statue is stunning.

As I took a photo, a man came up to me telling me that I was the first person to see the new flagpole that had just been erected 15 minutes ago.  So here you are: the first picture of the new flagpole.

I then hurried home, getting back just in time to pick up my little buddies. I didn’t even have time to take a shower. Poor kids!