Waiting and Not Waiting

When I visited my daughter in Oregon a couple weeks ago, we went to the ocean for three nights. When we were about 30 minutes from the ocean, we got stopped by a police barricade. My daughter, Tami, got out of the car to find out what happened. It was a car crash fatality up ahead. In Oregon, there has to be an investigation and it would be a three to four hour wait. She hopped in the car and said she was going to follow a logger across the pass on a gravel road. By the time we got turned around we were fourth in line.

The caravan took off and the lead car started falling behind. The logger continued on. The road was completely unmarked and we had made several turns, going up a mild grade. Apparently a “local” took pity on us and waited for us and began to lead us down the other side. Things were going along fine until a loud noise started coming from our car. Tami said there was a rock in her brakes and she was going to have to motion for the others to go around. Then she started backing up. Nothing happened and she backed up again. She said:  “I heard the rock fall out. We’re okay now.”  By then we couldn’t see the other cars and kept winding down the hill. She said she thought we were almost to the blacktop because the road was getting wider. After a few minutes we saw the tail end of a car turning left. Tami said he instead should be turning right because water flows downhill to the ocean. Sure enough, it was a blacktop. We found some fishermen near the road and they said yes, you should have turned right. They gave up exact directions to Tilamook and there we were, near the ocean! We had NOT waited three to four hours!

On the last night of our stay at the beach we were returning to our beach house after spending the day at Newport. It was after sundown and we had about 30 minutes until home. We came to a flagger and a huge light, driven by batteries. We were second in line and could see that a road crew was repairing blacktop at nighttime. My daughter is a forester at the Mt. Hood National Forest. She is a silvaculturist and her degree is in maintaining forests. Our government does not fund the Forest Service adequately and about ten years ago, she took a road maintenance assignment in order to stay at Mt. Hood instead of being transferred to an unknown area in the United States. The job lasted for about two years before she could get back to planting trees which she loves.

I never knew too much what her job had been at that time, but as we waited in the dark, she was able to talk about the walkie-talkies, directing traffic, why being a flagger was a dangerous job, and all kinds of things about road building and maintaining that I had never heard about!  Mostly on Mt. Hood, they were closing roads and taking logging roads out. After we had been sitting there for about twenty minutes, all of a sudden the flagger jumped out in front of a truck that had had the hutzpah to get in the line of asphalt-bearing trucks and was going to try to push through!  I could see how dangerous that was. Tami said the truckers had probably alerted the flagman by walkie-talkie and he was ready for the interloper!  Well, the flagman made him pull over and he would be the last to go. Also, there was a good chance he would get a ticket. On the other hand – the man in a camper in front of us had given the flagman some cookies!

I must say, the 30 minutes we spent waiting gave me a chance to understand my daughters work for that two years of road management while she was waiting for a job she loves – planting trees.