Heading down the long, boring stretch of 97, I noticed a strange phenomenon. People slow down to about 45 (the speed limit is 55, unfortunately) when there's no passing. Passing lane...they hit at LEAST 75. Seriously. And I'm not talking about the passing lane being downhill, or just the usual relief of congestion now that faster cars can pass slower ones. The actual SAME car, toodling down the highway at 45 like it's a nice Sunday drive down a country road, speeds up to faster than I was comfortable going when I finally get the chance to pass. Over and over again. Same car in different places, and also a few other cars. What is UP with that?
We made it to the Crater Lake turnoff, had more of the same on THAT tedious stretch of straight road, then finally got to the fun part--curvy forested roads west of Crater Lake.
Our first destination of the trip was the House of Mystery near Gold Hill, OR. Their big thing is that they're located on a "vortex," which of course is unexplained. Nathan and I went in skeptical. The tour guide made a big show of proving that the platform was level, the posts at each end of it is plumb, etc. etc. I wondered if the level was rigged, but she later let a volunteer use a level (which if it WAS rigged, wouldn't work if they flipped it around the wrong way), and they claim that they'd let you bring your own level, plumb bob/line, etc. Now, I didn't actually BRING my own level, but if we assume that they're on the up and up with that, I don't know how they pull the trick. Two people stand at opposite ends of the supposedly level platform, seven feet apart. Naturally, one is likely taller than the other. Then they switch places. The difference in height between the two people will either have been reduced, increased, or reversed, depending on the height difference between them to begin with. They do various demonstrations with a stick, tape measures, etc. Nathan and I were the pair on the platform once, and indeed, he did appear significantly shorter than me (which he is) at first, then when we switched places, seemed to be closer to my height. Weird. Here are some photos. Of course, I can't guarantee that my camera is level, I wasn't standing exactly centered between the posts, and my lens doesn't zoom out enough to get their heads AND their feet in the same shot at this spot (my lens doesn't actually zoom at all), so take it all with a huge grain of salt.
|The woman on the right is slightly taller|
|The same woman, now on the left, is about the same height|
Next, the guide led us up to the actual "House of Mystery," which was just like many around the country, such as the one I went to as a kid as Knott's Berry Farm. Nothing is level or plumb, no angles are right. So of course everything feels all wonky inside.
The guide talked about how even when you think you're standing up straight, it's not really straight (see her, above, and the plumb line behind her?). She attributed this to the "vortex," something to do with magnetic fields criss-crossing. Or, you know, overcompensating when in a weird environment, and the fact that people tend to lean uphill a little.
She also did a demonstration about height changes again, inside the "house," but this time did attribute them to optical illusions rather than the vortex. And she showed us how a glass bottle will roll "uphill," but again attributed that to a simple optical illusion. Lastly, she rolled a golf ball what appeared to be downhill, but it rolled right back to her again. This one, she didn't try to explain one way or another. Just let people (mostly the kids) ooh and ah.
We went into the gift shop (either barely air conditioned or just vigorously fanned, bu it felt good regardless), Nathan bought both a little vial of gold flakes and a knife, I bought a cold drink, and we hit the road again.
We headed to a grocery store, changed into our swimsuits in the restroom, and bought some cold drinks and ice cream.
Nathan is SO WEIRD (how weird is he?) that he doesn't like Drumstick ice cream cones. He says they're too sweet. Whose kid is this?
Then we headed to the end of town, where a bridge crosses the Rogue River, and there's a swimming area. I didn't bring my camera or phone down to the river, so no photos, but it wasn't super picturesque anyway. Sand, water, and both a road bridge and a train bridge that a few people jumped from while we were there. Nathan thought that looked like a bad idea. Good kid--always think that, and I'll be happy.
The water was COLD. I honestly expected it to be quite a bit warmer. It wasn't so cold you couldn't get used to it, but just cold enough that it never stopped really tingling your skin. I played with the idea of swimming with Nathan across the river, just to say we did, but he was fighting the current pretty hard just to get to a log that wasn't even out in the worst of the current. So I nixed that idea. He also played in the sand at the shore quite a bit, and I chatted with a woman who had some suggestions on things to see on our route the next day. It was a pleasant afternoon.
When I got back to the car, I snapped this shot with my phone quickly: