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4th of July 2014: Redmond, Oregon…

Posted by on July 4, 2014

JULY 4, 2014. We’re been in Redmond, Oregon for a few days, after driving east from Eugene, across the Cascades and through the Willamette4 Forest.  Redmond is in the high desert, just 15 miles north of Bend. The drive was breathtaking: we traveled alongside bright blue streams rippling across the rocks and meandering through the trees. Our route was lined with tall trees on either side for almost the entire trip. We saw a half dozen tempting National Forest campsites and enough goats and cows grazing in fields to fill a 4H Club barn!  This is our last stop before starting our long trek to the East Coast.  We’re staying in the RV park at the County Fair and Expo Center, because there is a huge fireworks display tonight…right here at the fairgrounds. All we’ve got to do is have a seat on our camp chairs and we’ll have the best seats in the house! Whoo whoo! I love fireworks. We’ve even got some of our own to display…there were fireworks stands all around Washington State when we were there and I couldn’t resist the temptation to buy some. It brought back memories. I remember growing up in San Marino when fireworks-at-home were still legal there…that’s one heck of a long time ago. On the weekend before the 4th, I’d go with my Dad to all the stands in nearby San Gabriel, picking out the fountains, spinners and rockets I wanted. I even remember the best brands: Black Panther and Red Devil. On the day of the holiday, we’d barbecue with neighbors, churn homemade fresh peach ice cream and then when darkness fell the show would begin, right in our own back yard. Memories…


Florence buying sparklers at the End of the Trail fireworks stand. The lady behind the counter told us she and her husband had been selling at this location for the past 20 years. It’s legal because their little stand is on land that’s part of an Indian reservation.  A Laissez-faire environment for sure. 


The inventory at these roadside fireworks stands was huge! I didn’t buy nearly as much of this stuff as I wanted, ’cause I didn’t know where we’d be on the 4th and whether I’d be allowed to light ’em up! It now appears that fireworks are permitted here in Redmond…they were even selling them inside the Albertson’s grocery store this morning!

FOURTH OF JULY AT THE FAIRGROUNDS. We’re parked at the Fairgrounds, where most of Redmond’s Old Fashioned Fourth of July events will be held today. What a coincidence. (Those who know me well understand my fascination with magic tricks and fireworks, so there’s really no coincidence at all.) We’ll be right here for all the action. This is a small town…only about 25,000 folks live here, so the festivities are all pretty home-grown. That’s cool. There will be the obligatory parade downtown, where the high school homecoming queen will probably preside and ride in a convertible. Little kids with painted faces will pull red wagons with their pets aboard and the local Kiwanis Club will have rented a clown to make animals from long, skinny balloons. You get the idea. Later, back here “in our front yard” at the fairgrounds, there will be pony rides, train rides, bounce houses, archery, a petting zoo, a water obstacle course, games, prizes and “much more.” I’d bet my bottom dollar there will be hot dogs, corn dogs, ice cream and soda available. The fireworks begin at 10 pm, and I’m going to try to get some pictures. I’ll give myself about a 50/50 chance of getting a few good shots.


Florence with a sparkler on the 4th of July…she really lives on the edge!


Fireworks at the Fairgrounds in Redmond, as seen from our campsite on the Fourth of July, 2014.


Who says you can’t prepare a nice dinner in a motor-home? We had steak, shrimp skewers, baked potato, asparagus and salad.

MAKING FRIENDS ON THE ROAD: I met some folks today, about our age, who are camped with their huge 5th wheel right near us at the Fairgrounds. As is always the case when meeting other full-timers, we “swapped stories” with them. What that means is you each tell the other about how and why you decided to live in a 400 square foot space moving from place to place as you drive all over the country and sometimes even into foreign lands. Why you left the large, comfortable home you loved to take this trip, use laundromats to do laundry and sometimes even wear the same shirt two days in a row.  It’s kind of like basic training in the Army: If you never went through it you’ll never really understand it, no matter how hard someone tries to make you understand. Interesting…this couple had the same identical discussion with the same catalytic results we had before we decided to depart San Diego for our Great American Adventure. They, too, wanted to break out of their mold…kind of disturb the inertia that comes with being in your 60’s and do something that would make enough memories to last them a lifetime. And I thought Florence and I had thought this up ourselves! Not.

BEING AWAY FROM HOME: One thing that’s difficult for me right now is being away from old friends and family…the sense of not having a community environment. On the other hand, something that’s really neat is how easily we make friends on the road. I think it’s because we all have so much in common, by definition, that there’s never an awkward pause in conversation. We’ve met lots of nice folks along the way so far, but the friendships have been fleeting, ’cause one or the other of us packs up and moves on down the road. So, we’re going to snoop around a bit and see if we can find some like-minded folks who’d like to tandem travel for awhile. We’ll see…Anybody out there wanna head toward Maine to see the Fall colors and eat some lobster?

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