Steve Cotler

Steve Cotler

Blue Highway Travelogue–Crater Lake

“Continental Breakfast Served” is written on the doorposts of my motel room, so I venture down at 8 a.m. to sample their cuisine. Two styros of hot dark coffee substance and three ping pong ball-sized poppy seed muffins later, I am back in Room #244 embracing my belly wondering whether liquid poison or bad baking will undo me.

A half-hour further, as I load up the wagons in preparation for our journey northward toward the Oregon Trail, I notice a glistening, reddish smear reflecting the morning sun off the parking lot from beneath the front of my van. Closer inspection under the hood and beneath the car informs me that the rear seal of my transmission is leaking and that I am a full pint low. Galvanized by this direct assault upon my dignity, I scan the horizon for invisible demons or hostile forces. Ann smiles benignantly, wondering silently whether this is annoying or merely catastrophic. Lurking directly across the street–an auto parts store…a purveyor of Quaker State ATF. I top off the reservoir, drive 20 miles, then recheck all fluids, which includes yet another watering of a lonely oak (see previous post). Buoyed by a steady-state universe of our own making, we drive to Crater Lake, an awesome globule of blue hung high in the volcanic detritus of erstwhile Mount Mazama. Round, azure beyond all lakes, and almost 2000 feet deep, it is worth the small detour. Here again we meet flocks of Germans, one of whom, a whiskered, long-haired hippie of 35, squats facing away from the lake, apparently aiming his video camera at a spire of rock towering a thousand feet above us, but instead shooting a minute of Ann asking him whether the tune he is humming is the old Johnny Mathis standard, “Wonderful, Wonderful.”

This day is an interpretive dance.

Wonderful…at least twice..

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