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Cayman Blogger
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I am in Portland now. I left foggy, rainy Mendocino yesterday morning headed for Eureka (via Rt.1 to the 101). When I got to Eureka (where I was contemplating spending the night), the rain had picked up and wasn't supposed to let up until this afternoon, so (after some barbequed oysters and chowder) I decided to keep trucking to Portland (via 101 up the coast to 199 east through Six Rivers Nat'l Forest to 5) so I could get here one night earlier than planned and be in the same hotel for two nights in a row. A very exciting notion these days...totally worth twelve hours of driving in the pouring rain. The rain was coming down so hard for the last few hours before I hit Portland that I couldn't see the road for most of the time, but I just kept telling myself, if there is a big truck in front of me (blinding me with water spray), I must be in a lane...

This afternoon I visited the Lan Su Chinese Garden and had Jamaica on the brain the entire time I was there, mostly because while I resisted the "flower freak" label she tried to stick me with our final night together, I can't really deny it anymore. My moment of truth was at the Peony blossom exhibit when I found myself taking close-ups of my favorite blossoms without anyone forcing me to. When Jamaica and I were on the road together, I was all about my scenic and/or car shots and would only takes close-ups of blossoms when Jamaica dragged me over by my elbow and made me do it.

As I took shot after shot of my favorite blossoms this afternoon, I couldn't help remembering our last night together when we rolled in the door around midnight (after the showdown with ice, ice baby) and I immediately sat down in her living room and started tearing through each of her flower books to come up with the names of the only two flowers we had seen our entire trip that she didn't know the names of. After I had done my frenzied page flipping through one book, then another, then another, I looked over and saw a fourth flower book in her lap and said (probably with a little crazy in my eyes), "are you done with that? Can I have that? I need to look at that." She looked over at me slowly with one eyebrow raised and said, "well, my dear, I think you've become a bit of a flower freak." To which I immediately responded (enjoying a nice big scoop of denial with a little bit of rationalizing sprinkled on top), "No, I'm not! You're the flower freak around here, not me. I'm just a curious person. I just don't like not knowing things." Prompting her to inquire (still studying my slightly crazed face with one eyebrow raised), "Really, sweety? Really? Because you seem very much like a flower freak to me. You look like a flower freak (gesturing to the flower books strewn around me), you're acting like a flower freak (I think she was basing this on my refusal to go to bed until I figured out the names)..."

Finally, I cracked (though I told myself I was just appeasing her), "Fine, fine, I'm a flower freak. Now will you just help me? Please?" Satisfied that she had made her point she took a couple of the books back and we spent over an hour reading through them all to no avail because these two flowers weren't in any of the books. We finally gave up and went to bed, but first thing in the morning she got the names from a friend...because she's devoted like that. So, I am posting two pics of my two favorite peony blossoms because I know they will put a smile on her face...and because, thanks to Jamaica, I am a certifiable (probably in more ways than one) flower freak.

Hall of Brocade Clouds (houses the Peony exhibit)

Peonies and Poetry

More Peonies...

"Cora Louise"

"Color Magnet"

For those of you who prefer redwoods to peonies, this is the redwood I drove through in Leggett...

...and these are some redwoods that I drove past as I worked my way through the Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park (via scenic old 101 north of Orick)

On the 101 somewhere between Eureka and Crescent City (where I picked up 199)​

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