Northwest Roadtrip 2015

{On the road, hills covered with pines, firs, and oaks}
{On the road, hills covered with pines, firs, and oaks}

First the bad news: I got absolutely no writing done during these two weeks. I had hoped to pick up writing my last chapters of the upcoming book, but between being busy from the time I got up in the morning to the time we quit, and being completely exhausted (brain dead) after that, it didn’t happen.

The good news is that my daughter-in-law (who I will call Susan) and grandson (I’ll call Stanley, which is actually his middle name after my dad) are safely in Iowa and reunited with my son. His new job seems to be going well and hopefully they’ll be able to make a good life for themselves there. I’m already brainstorming the best way to visit them and wondering if I can book tour along the way.

The first week started off with my youngest daughter’s official move to her new digs. Not that she would let me do very much to help her, but I was completely distracted anyway. She didn’t physically move into her new place, however, as she had agreed to stay with Buu while I was gone.

I hit the road a couple of days later, glad it was overcast and rainy almost the whole way there.

{Dark clouds over parched California hillsides}
{Dark clouds over parched California hillsides}

Mount Shasta is one of my favorite landmarks on this trip – the last one before passing into Oregon. Seeing snow on the slopes in summer is always a welcome sight. It has been so dry for so long, I was afraid there would be no snow left.

{A glimpse of snow on the flanks of Mt. Shasta}
{A glimpse of snow on the flanks of Mt. Shasta}

The mountain was difficult to see because of low cloud, but I needed to stop for gas so pulled off the highway to Mt. Shasta City, a nice little mountain town (elevation approx. 3,600 ft) nestled into the southwest flank of the mountain. Close up, it was easier to just make out the stripes of white. I’d stopped there for gas before but never driven around the town, so I took a few minutes to explore. That’s all it took – it’s a very small town. It’s the kind of place I could imagine retiring to – very relaxed, small town vibe, somewhat touristy but quaintly so, a definite hippy element reminding me vaguely of Northern Exposure for some reason, and not too crowded. I have a feeling it’s more of a happening place in winter when the ski slopes are open.

Then on into Oregon. Grants Pass is a favorite stopping place and that’s where I spent the night.

Oregon is pretty but, just like California, almost completely dry right now (notice the grass in the first photograph). One of my problems with Oregon is its dearth of Starbucks. After several years of doing this trip, I’ve figured out where some are by now, but I’m always glad to get through Portland and into Washington. Then on toward the Canadian border to my destination.

Susan had already done a lot but there was still an enormous amount to do. Over the next three and half days we sorted, boxed, packed, threw away, and cleaned. Pretty much non-stop (and she did most of the cleaning). I rented a 15 foot U-Haul truck and took loads to the dump and recycle center, the thrift store, and the storage unit. I was sure we wouldn’t be able to get everything into the unit, but we almost did – using logic, spatial analysis (non-mathmatical, of course), and a little bit of physics. It also helped that I’m very good at puzzles.

Throughout this, two-year-old Stanley was amazing. Not perfect, but amazing. In spite of not seeing his dad in two weeks, watching his world dismantle around him, and enduring long days without much fun or close interaction, he remained (for the most part) sweet and happy. I guess he takes after his parents!

My original plan for this trip was to help my daughter-in-law get things done and then see her safely off on the road. Then I’d take a leisurely drive back home. I especially hoped to spend a day or two exploring the Olympic Peninsula. However by the time we were done with everything, I was exhausted and aching and all I really wanted to do was go home. She had heard of a town in the eastern Washington mountains, Leavenworth, that she very much wanted to visit. What with one thing and another, and sharing her curiosity, I decided to go with her.

{Blue sky, whilte fluffy clouds, mountainsides covered in evergreens, craggy mountain tops}
{Blue sky, whilte fluffy clouds, mountainsides covered in evergreens, craggy mountain tops}

{Evergreen covered mountainsides with craggy peaks beyond}
{Evergreen covered mountainsides with craggy peaks beyond}

We convoyed (all two of us) up the mountain road, her with a car completely loaded with the things she thought she’d need for the next two months or so – including Stanley and Ellie, the cat, of course – and me with my own things including a few things that didn’t fit into the storage unit (my son’s cello, a comforter, etc.) and bottles of my son’s delicious homemade wine.

{A tabby cat with white markings enjoying a rest stop}
{A tabby cat with white markings enjoying a rest stop}

I’m glad I went. The drive was very pleasant and the landscape beautiful. I was able to help her a little, keeping an eye on Ellie (another award-worthy trooper) while we took a break in a park and Stanley played. Then we drove on into Leavenworth, a cute “German” town in the mountains. It was already getting late and many of the shops were closed, including this book store, A Book For All Seasons, that I would love to go back and explore one day.

{"A Book For All Seasons" book store in Leavenworth}
{“A Book For All Seasons” book store in Leavenworth}

{Shops in Leavenworth, Washington look like they belong in the Black Forest of Germany}
{Shops in Leavenworth, Washington look like they belong in the Black Forest of Germany}

{Shops in Leavenworth, Washington look like they belong in Germany's Black Forest}
{Shops in Leavenworth, Washington look like they belong in Germany’s Black Forest}

Susan (of partly German heritage) had her heart set on German food, but time was an issue. We couldn’t afford to spend too long looking for a restaurant or waiting for food. We found a pub, which probably wasn’t exactly what she had in mind, but we were able to order sauerkraut and bratwurst and get on the road soon after. We had parked in different ends of town (parking was an issue) and I ducked into a gift shop on the way back to my car, not wanting to leave empty handed. I bought a pretty ornament for my son’s family (for their first Christmas in their new home) and pretty copper earrings for my daughters.

Copper and black earrings with butterfly and flower design
Copper and black earrings with butterfly and flower design

We spent the night just off the I-90 near Moses Lake. In the morning we filled our cars up with gas together before hitting the road. That’s when I saw the smoke. It was obviously back in the direction we’d come from, so Susan’s journey wouldn’t be affected, but mine might.

{Billowing black smoke from the fire off the I-90}
{Billowing black smoke from the fire off the I-90}

And so it was; a huge fire closed the highway in both directions and caused me to detour back to Moses Lake and many miles around (after dithering, stopping for snacks, and getting Starbucks!) In effect it cost me a day’s travel, but all’s well that ends well. After three days driving, I arrived home safe and the next day Susan, Stanley, and Ellie arrived safely in Iowa.

Two days later my youngest daughter moved to her new home. Leaving me the cat. Yay! Now to finish that book. . . .

Currently writing: Finishing TGJ Book 2.

Listening: Speak – Pedals

Reading: American Gods by Neil Gaiman and The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland by Catherynne M. Valente

Watching: Sherlock Holmes and Midsomer Murders

The Glister Journals: Bronze can be purchased through any bookseller, or purchase now at New edition coming!

Reviews for The Glister Journals: Bronze

More Glister info and excerpts at the book’s website here:

All original text and materials by or commissioned by B. B. Shepherd are copyright 2012-2015 B B Shepherd and China Blue Publishing.

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End of Summer Update.

My goodness, I never meant to go this long without posting. I’ll try to get back on track! I’ve been writing, writing, writing, but I’ve also been reading much more than I have for quite some time. I will be adding occasional mini-reviews of books I can recommend as well as my occasional music reviews.

First off, Glister Journals news. My original plan was to release the Kindle version of Bronze this summer but, as it hasn’t been promoted or marketed much before, I want to really get it out there this time before the second book in The Glister Journals series is released. So the plan now is to do a book tour in October with the help of I Am A Reader, Not A Writer, one of my favorite book bloggers who also does tours (her button can be found in the sidebar). I’m feeling mighty blessed right now.(Edited–plans have changed slightly)

Details to follow!

Road Trip

Drayton Harbor

I was able to take a little trip north again this summer to visit my dear family. It was a mostly uneventful trip, I got some writing done, enjoyed my time there immensely, and came back with a major observation: next time, I need to figure in extra travel time to explore! Other observations:

    1. I’ve never seen Mt. Shasta so snow-less, even in the middle of summer. There are places I’d like to explore in the area, mines and caves and falls and such. 🙂

    Unsnowy Mt. Shasta

    2. On the way up on my second day of driving, I found myself quite a bit ahead of schedule and decided to drive through Olympia, Washington, just to see what was there. It’s the capital after all. What I saw was charming (if there’s a seedy side of town, don’t disillusion me!), the section of town I saw reminding me strongly of downtown Santa Cruz, and the capital building shining in the distance across water which must have been Capital Lake. Clever name. I though of parking to walk around and take pictures, but I was expected by a certain time by family. I determined to make a stop on the way home instead.

    Unfortunately, on the trip back, although I was watching for off ramps as I drew near I never actually saw one and was way beyond the city by the time I realized I had passed it. So, sorry, no pictures this time. 🙁

    3. I’d also love to explore the Peninsula, but I figure that will require at least a day of its own.

    4. There are a wealth of national and state parks begging to be explored. I was determined to at least visit the Peach Arch Park, (Canada and us being such great pals and all) but guess what. Still no passport.

    5. Did you know that Linn County was the grass seed capital of the world? Neither did I, but apparently they’re very proud of it.

    6. There is a town called Battle Ground in Washington. Surely this deserves some writerly investigation. Apparently “The city is ironically named for the absence of a battle.” The reasons behind this lead me to number

    7. There are a lot of tribes in Washington. It would be interesting to plan a trip around visiting reservations or at least the visitor centers and doing some first person research. Just because.

I was able to get some writing done while there, though not as much as I would have liked. I even had a substitute editor.
My substitute editor

After a nice restful week I started home, but soon ran into thick smoke. It began soon after I’d left Roseburg, Oregon and mile after mile it continued.

Smoke, not fog

I stopped for gas and asked the attendant about it. He said that he’d just heard over the radio that there were at least seven separate wild fires burning through Oregon and northern California. Sure enough the smoke continued well into California and I guess there have been many more since then. A bad fire year. 🙁

If you have any recommendations for western Washington trips or have a trip blog entry you can link to, I’d love to see it. It’s a region I’ll be passing through at least once a year.


I have quite a few albums I plan to share with you soon, including the ones I listened to on this trip, but I’d like to cover one that I had on my trip last summer but never got around to highlighting. It’s too good to not mention.

El Camino by The Black Keys is my second favorite album of 2011 (the first being Chevelle’s Hats Off To The Bull). The first time I heard them was through the song “Tighten Up” in 2010 and I loved it, but didn’t hear anything more until “Howlin For You” which I included in last year’s road trip post.

Curious about their beginnings, I looked into their background a little to find that Dan Auerbach (vocals/guitar) and Patrick Carney (drums) had known each other since they were eight or nine and became friends in high school “though they were part of different crowds—Auerbach was captain of the high school soccer team, while Carney was a social outcast.” (Wikipedia reference. A more interesteing and possibly more reliable biography is here) I couldn’t help LOVING that! If you’ve read Bronze, you know why.

I love this whole album, but my favorite is most definitely Little Black Submarines, the album version (NOT the radio version which is shorter and ruins the build-up).

I love blues based rock (though not so much straight up blues) and The Black Keys have a raw edgy sound that I adore. I listened again to the whole album trying to decide which other track to pull out for you, but seriously, I love this whole album. Great road trip music too! “Money Maker” is probably my other favorite but I couldn’t find a video, so I’ll leave you with the other hit off the album.

All original text and materials by or commissioned by B. B. Shepherd are copyright 2012-2013 to China Blue Publishing.

The Glister Journals: Bronze can be purchased through any bookseller, or purchase now at

Reviews for The Glister Journals: Bronze

More Glister info and chapters at the book’s website here:

The first chapters can also be read here at the top of my blog. (and also in a menu in the sidebar!)

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Artwork, Road Trip, Music (Part Four)

The Glister Journals: Chris and Merle

This is Chris and Merle from The Glister Journals as imagined by artist Katelynn Chambers, the last of four pieces commissioned from her to coincide with the release of the hardback edition of Bronze. I absolutely adore her style and her sense of color. All her work affects me quite deeply. I look forward to commissioning (and/or working with) her more in the future.

The Road Home (A continuation)

As usual for me, I didn’t get on the road until much later than I had planned, but still wanted to try to make it to Roseburg, Oregon for the night. It began to rain steadily soon after I left my friends and Blaine behind. By the time I reached Mount Vernon, it was pouring so there wasn’t much to see and I was preoccupied with just seeing the road ahead. But beyond Olympia the rain subsided, the sun came out, and all was green and beautiful.

Around Kalama, a large body of water to the west sparked my curiosity and I began looking for possible offramps to get closer and explore. Keeping in mind how far I wanted to get today (and how far I still had to go) I didn’t want to get too far from the highway. Unfortunately nothing presented itself until Woodland. There, signs for the mysterious ‘Port of Woodland’ and the even more exotic sounding ‘Dike Access’ proved too alluring, and I had to strike off in search of whatever I could find.

Adding to the sense of adventure was what appeared to be a fair sized fire not too far distant.

Fire in the Distance

Considering how green everything was, and that it had been pouring all morning, I felt relatively safe and determined to find water, if not the source of the smoke.

What I didn’t realize then (but see now that I am looking at a physical map) was that the river, the Columbia, is actually the border with Oregon, though it lay north to south (or vice versa, I don’t remember which way the water was flowing) and that the other side of the river was in fact Oregon and had been for quite a while. Isn’t geography wonderful. Anyway, it was very pretty, but I couldn’t find any free river access so headed back the way I had come. I sorely wanted to stop and take pictures of all the emergency vehicles and the almost completely burned down house, but wasn’t sure whether that would be okay. It was obviously a training exercise, but I wasn’t sure how they’d feel about my taking pictures. Sometimes I don’t mind risking a little trouble, but trouble takes time and I still had a long way to drive.

I finally found a place to take some decent pictures just before turning back onto the Dike Access Road.

Columbia River, Washington

Having quite a way to go before reaching Roseburg, I pulled over at a rest stop somewhere in Oregon to stretch my legs and snooze for a few minutes. It was an extremely pretty area and I wish I had written down the name of the place (if it had one).

Somewhere in Oregon

Somewhere in Oregon

For this leg of the journey I listened mostly to Keane’s latest album, Strangeland. It wasn’t until I had got it home from the store and ripped it onto my computer that I found that it was a Japanese release with bonus tracks. Goody. The bad part of that is that all the track information is in Japanese, which meant manually renaming everything. Luckily the song titles transferred just fine to my MP3 player so at least I could see what they were while I traveled.

Now, I have to say that, if you like Keane’s sound, you will probably like this album, but I can’t say there was anything that surprised me or bowled me over right away. The opening song, “You Are Young,” is nice but the second track, “Silenced By The Night”, jumps out as definitive Keane:

The following track has an even more distinctive sound. Keane utilizes very similar (sometimes exactly the same) interval patterns revolving around 2, 3, and 5. For example, “Disconnected” uses the pattern: 5-3-2-5-3-2-5-3.

This same pattern can be heard in “Day Will Come.” Past Keane songs you may remember with distinctive 2, 3, 5 patterns are:
“Is It Any Wonder” (2-2-3-3-5-5-3-2)
“Nothing In My Way” (2-3-2-3-5 2-3-2-3-5 2-3-2-3)
“Crystal Ball” 5 3-6-5 2-3-L7 2-3-L7 5-5-5-3-2-3-L7
There are other motifs Keane uses, but these are the ones that jump out at me and make the songs so darn catchy.

“Sovereign Light Cafe is another that took hold of me immediately but for a completely different reason. The opening melody is exactly like a song I wrote eons ago. No, you’ve never heard it and you never will, but it took me way back to days when I spent my time writing music instead of words. The lyrics grabbed me next; so evocative. It took me back to days and nights spent in Santa Monica, along the beach front, on the pier; it also took me back to England where I lived for several years, and time spent at Brighton, Southampton, other seaside towns. When I got home and saw the video, it resonated with me even more. It’s now one of my favorites.

I enjoyed the whole album, some tracks standing out more than others, and even the bonus tracks are good. My favorite of these (also reminding me strongly of England) is “The Boys” but I couldn’t find a video for it. I guess you’ll just have to buy the album!

I will leave you with this, set to beautiful locations and subbed in Spanish, “Somewhere Only We Know” (3-2-3-5-3-2 LOL)

All original text and materials by or commissioned by B. B. Shepherd (including music reviews) are copyright 2012-2013 to China Blue Publishing.

The Glister Journals: Bronze can be purchased through any bookseller, or purchase now at

Reviews for The Glister Journals: Bronze

More Glister info and chapters at the book’s website here:

The chapters can also be read here at the top of my blog. (and also in a menu in the sidebar!)

And please “Like” us on Facebook!

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Artwork, Road Trip, Music (Part Three)

Yes, I know it’s taking me weeks to write up a trip that only took me days, but what can I say? I’ve really been very busy and tired too!

I would just like to mention first (especially for those of you following over there) that The Glister Journals giveaway is still on over at Goodreads. Four hardbound copies of Bronze will be given away there. You can sign up HERE. Yes, I really like the look of the giveaway widget on my blog and the book’s website, but it only shows as script on the Goodreads site, which is very strange. So I’ll put the widget at the end of this post so it doesn’t mess it up!

On to ART!

This week I am featuring the third of the pieces created for me by Katelynn Chambers (a.k.a. Nettlebeast)

The Glister Journals: Dave and Remmy

This is not my favorite, though I love the ‘feel’ of it if you know what I mean. I just don’t see Dave at all like this. He also looks much too young here. But I love the freedom it projects, and the colors and technique are beautiful, as always.

I’ll be posting the last of Katelynn’s pieces soon. Guess who it is?

On to the Road Trip:

My time spent with my loved ones was precious, quiet, and (I hope) understandably private, so I’m not going to dwell much on it other than to say I enjoyed it immensely. There were a few things that stood out so I’ll touch on them.

The first day, after having slept in a little, was mostly taken up by a tour of the area. I had been once before, quite a few years ago, so some places were at least vaguely familiar, but the whole area is absolutely beautiful. Blaine is the northernmost town off highway 101, on Drayton Harbor, about 25 miles west of the Cascade Mountain Range, and about half an hour from Vancouver, British Columbia (Canada). I would certainly classify the surrounding areas as rural, though the southern community known as Birch Bay has both a quaint seaside feel and the resort area, Semiahmoo, has a golf course and spa, as well as the harbor.

Unfortunately it is now necessary to have a passport to go back and forth over the border. This seems fair considering our (the USA’s) stance on Mexican border crossings, but is rough for those of us who would just like to revel in a bit of British/Canadian culture and perhaps have a sausage roll. I can see I’m going to have to get my paperwork in order before I return.

One of the things that stood out to me while I was there, was the emphasis on peace. Indeed, several of the roads leading off the 101 near the border are “Peace Portal” roads. A welcome sign at the northern entrance to Blaine informs you proudly that it is the Peace Arch City. And right there, as you enter that fair city, is Peace Arch Park, a wondrous place where magical things happen. Like peace and stuff. I came this close to exploring the park, but didn’t. I wasn’t sure if I’d be accosted somewhere in the middle with demands for my passport. And then where would I be? Hauled off to Canada and never heard from again! Perhaps it would spark an International incident and put our precious peace in jeopardy. I wouldn’t be able to live with myself. There’s an anthem for heaven’s sake. Just add it to the list of things to do the next time I visit when I’ve got my paperwork done.

On the second day, I took my trusty bicycle (which had weathered the trip on the back of my car nicely) and parked at the end of the Semiahmoo Parkway, a lovely area of easy, mostly paved trails that extend through the Semiahmoo Spit to the small harbor. There is a resort and spa there, but check the reviews carefully before you reserve a room.

Now, this was a momentous day for me. I don’t know exactly how long it had been since I’d ridden a bicycle, but long enough so that I couldn’t remember. Actually I think it would be safe to say that the last time had been over half of my lifetime ago. That’s long enough. Not to mention how impossiby out-of-shape I am. So it was with a little trepidation that I mounted and, wobbling slightly, began my ride.

Guess what…it’s true! That old saying about doing things you think you’ve forgotten because it’s been so loong? Just like riding a bike!

I was glad I had brought my camera along. The weather was hazy and cloudy, so visibilty at a distance wasn’t great, but it was cool which I appreciated more.

I had been made aware that there were bald eagles in the area and sure enough, as I reached the marina there was one perched on top of a pole. This is a zoomed shot…I wasn’t that close to it, but it was cool anyway.
Bald Eagle
Wild flowers were abundant too. I took more pictures, but don’t know what happened to them. 🙁
Flowers 2
Flowers 1

This is Semiahmoo marina. Not particularly impressive or quaint or even picturesque, but quite nice, especially with the mountains on the horizon (looking north or east).

Seniahmoo Marina
And one more reminder of the great friendship and love between our country and Canada.
America Loves Canada
Yes, I’m so comforted to know we are at peace with them. Now if we could just work on that with the rest of the world.

I’ll cover the other two albums I mentioned in (I promise)shorter posts soon, but I’ll leave you with a Black Keys song as there is so much good stuff on that album (El Camino). Hope you’re not easily offended…

LOL. See you soon!

Goodreads Book Giveaway

The Glister Journals by B.B. Shepherd

The Glister Journals

by B.B. Shepherd

Giveaway ends August 11, 2012.

See the giveaway details
at Goodreads.

Enter to win

All original text and materials by or commissioned by B. B. Shepherd are copyright 2012 to China Blue Publishing.

The Glister Journals: Bronze can be purchased through any bookseller, or purchase now at

Reviews for The Glister Journals: Bronze

More Glister info and chapters at the book’s website here:

The chapters can also be read here at the top of my blog. (and also in a menu in the sidebar!)

And please “Like” us on Facebook!

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Artwork, Road Trip, Music! (Part two)

I’m very pleased to present a piece created by an exceptional illustrator and comic artist, Jeff Stokely.
Jeff has, since doing these pictures for me so long ago, worked on some pretty impressive projects, including illustration for one of the first stories and the first cover of the new Fraggle Rock comic, as well as work for Mattel and TokyoPop. I am especially fond of his “Wonderland” take on Alice’s world, and his “Labyrinth” piece which was recently chosen as design of the day by Tee Fury. Among many other things, he is also doing the illustration for a new comic, “The Truth About Dragons” which is looking great! It will be available through Archaia in 2013.

Jeff did two commissions for me a couple of years ago, but I wasn’t quite ready to share them. And now with the release of the hardbound edition of Bronze I am! I was originally going to defer artwork for this post as I was hoping to perhaps lay some color on this, but the way things are going it won’t happen soon, and I’ve waited too long as it is! This first piece is Jeff’s concept for Dave and Chris from The Glister Journals and I really love it. I don’t quite see them this way, but that’s the point! They could look this way! Those of you who have read the book (or at least the online chapters), what do you think?

The Glister Journals; Dave and Chris

Back to my Northwest road trip:

Knowing how to give good directions should be a requirement of people who work front desks of hotels. After all, if you’re staying in a hotel, it would be reasonable to assume that you might not know the area. At all.

On asking the hotel clerk if there was a Starbucks close by–wondering if, in the wilds of Medford, Oregon** they’d even heard of Starbucks–the nice lady said, “Oh, yes, of course! There’s one right over in the plaza by Fred Myers.”

She might just as well have said, “It’s over in the blahblahblah by the blahblahblah.” Who or what the heck is Fred Myers? More importantly, where exactly is he/it? I headed out in the direction she had vaguely waved in and eventually saw the big “Fred Myers” sign. I guess it’s like a WalMart or something? Enlighten me. I didn’t venture in. I was on a mission.

Fortified with my caffeinated substance of choice (black tea), I hit the I-5 again.

Roseburg is where I decided to stop for gas (and more tea). Buying gas in Oregon is a strange experience. It feels weird to let someone else pump my gas for me; makes me feel guilty as if I’m being selfish or acting entitled. I’d forgotten about “no self-serve” in Oregon, but I could probably get used to it. Especially the gas prices! At least fifty cents a gallon cheaper than what I usually spend. Apparently it costs MUCH more to transport gas into California. You know, because it’s so inaccesible and everything.

I love California, but Oregon is, of course, gorgeous. Most of California (that I had passed through) was brown already, or almost brown, but Oregon was emerald still. I appreciate that.

Somewhere north of Drain (yes, Drain–one of the things I love about road trips is noticing place names!) I passed a pasture where a horse was lying down and standing behind him, obviously nuzzling or licking the crest of his neck and mane, was a small calf. Was this a random occurence? The calf just happened to wander over to the horse and, curious about a different creature, start nuzzling? Or is the calf actually a minion of the horse, subjugated to serve it? Or is it a symbiotic relationship: you scratch my back, I’ll scratch yours? I can’t help but wonder about these things. I wished I could have stopped to take a picture, but it’ll make a cute drawing if I ever get around to it.

It seems impossible, but Washington is even more lush and green than Oregon. I have to admit that, so far, it’s my second favorite state (I’ve only been through fourteen). Just from a driver’s point of view, some of the things I noticed:

    The “keep right” law. We have signs in California that state, “slower traffic keep right,” but few people pay attention to it and I’ve never heard of anyone being pulled over for blocking faster traffic in the left lanes. I wish I had! It’s one of my biggest pet peeves (that and people not using indicators…grrrrr.) In washington it’s LAW. Awesome.

    Signage stating, “Litter and it will hurt,” a vague, non-specific threat that kept my imagination endlessly occupied and made me smile every time I saw it.

    Washington Highway Patrol is on the job. Noticeably. The only reason I mention it is because driving through Washington was also noticeably pleasant with people (for the most part) yielding and merging respectfully, using their indicators, driving an acceptable few miles over the speed limit (instead of ten or twenty under or over) and driving on the far right whenever possible unless they were overtaking. An amazing system that actually works.

For the first part of the journey through Oregon I listened to Gotye’s Making Mirrors. By now I’m sure everyone’s heard “Somebody That I Used to Know” which I still like in spite of it being overplayed, but just for the record, I do NOT like the remix version. Whose idea was that I wonder? Wally’s or a producer’s? The song was fresh and original and they took and made it sound like every other pop tune on the radio. Thankfully the remix is not on the album.

Wally DeBacker (Gotye) has one of the most versatile voices I’ve heard in a long time, not just in range–there seems to be quite a lot of male singers out there right now with incredible range–but in quality and tone. He really works his voice, which I can appreciate. I also love his tendency to use tribal rhythms in much of his music rather than straight-up rock drumkit or electro-dance rhythms. I guess that’s why i don’t like the STIUTK remix. Ah well…

One of my favorite tracks on the album, and which I’d already become familiar with through the video, is “Eyes Wide Open.” This took on even more meaning as I drove through Oregon’s gorgeous pine forests and over blue rivers.

Another track that I really enjoyed on the trip was State of the Art. I admit it took a little while for me to really uderstand what he was talking about, but then I had to listen to the whole thing again and laughed quite a bit. It may not mean much to a lot of people, but it reminded me strongly of someone I actually knew, who had one of those keybords that have rhythms and whatnot programmed into them. It probably cost about a hundred dollars. He thought he was a pretty good musician. He also only used the one-finger chord setting and sang in a “lounge”-y style. Hahaha…oh, memories. Anyway, I like the song better than the video (I think it’s ugly and annoyingly repetitive) so gave you the link in case you want to check it out, but I don’t expect it would mean much to most people.

“Bronte” had me driving through tears, thinking of beloved pets, past and present. When thoughts of people creep in too it’s almost overwhelming for me. I have posted it before here, at the end of the post, so I won’t post it again.

I will leave you with this song which is another favorite. The video is kind of repetitious and annoying too, but the animation is pretty cool (though very simple) so I like it anyway. Haha. Enjoy and I’ll see you next time!

**No offence is meant to Oregon or Oregonians. It’s just my sense of humor. I LOVE Oregon and find the people warm and friendly, even when they know I’m from California!

Note: All original text and materials by or commissioned by B. B. Shepherd are copyright 2012 to China Blue Publishing.

The Glister Journals: Bronze can be purchased through any bookseller, or purchase now at

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More Glister info and chapters at the book’s website here:

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Artwork, Road Trip, Music! (Part One)

Sorry again for the hiatus. I had hoped to post before now, especially as I am officially on vacation, but life’s been go, go, go!

First of all, another piece from wonderful Katelynn Chambers. This time it’s Robin and her horse, Gali. I don’t quite picture Robin this way myself, but I love the picture anyway. The relationship implied between the characters is perfect, and I love her jeans! The colors and artwork in general is amazing. I just love her work so much!

Robin and Gali
Robin and Gali from The Glister Journals: Bronze

On to the road trip.

On Monday I headed north, destination: the northernmost part of Washington (state) to visit a person very dear to me. I got a very late start due to errands that needed to be run, and tried to get as far as could without stopping. I don’t often get further north than Sacramento, so, especially once past Redding, I began to be a little more interested in the scenery. I was also looking for a potential Starbucks stop, but didn’t want to have to go looking for one. There were no signs, so I kept going.

I admit to being tempted by the little city of Dunsmuir (apparently “Home of the best water on earth” and, according to the city’s website, “the small-town home of 2,000 you wished you had grown up in.”), but eschewing the potential delights of the Dunsmuir Historical Gardens, I continued on. It was probably closed anyway.

I wanted to take pictures along the way, but there are very few places to actually stop, especially not where there’s anything interesting to photo. Here’s a picture of Mount Shasta, northern California

Mount Shasta

Not a terribly good picture; it’s much more impressive in person. By this time I was in need of tea and ready to venture off the beaten track in search of it, but this mountain town (I didn’t write down the name)

didn’t look like it would have a Starbucks. Just finding the way back onto the I5 was an adventure. Of course that could be said of most large cities too.

I took some better pictures of Mount Shasta on my “good” camera (which I will add later–I have to wait to get home to download them) some place north of a town called Weed. Yes, that’s right, Weed. There’s actually a South Weed, a Central Weed, and even a North Weed Road (or something similar.) Weed is obviously a Very Important Place.

I was struggling to keep my eyes open by the time I crossed over the border into Oregon, but finally rolled into Medford about 10 p.m.

To finish off with MUSIC:

I had picked up three new CDs for the trip: The Black Key’s El Camino, Keane’s Strangeland, and I finally got Gotye’s Making Mirrors, which is wonderful. But more about that next time. For now I’ll leave you with Keane’s Silenced By The Light which is on the radio quite a bit right now. I got to listen to the CD once through, but I’ll listen again and have more to say about it on the trip home. I hope you enjoy!

Note: All original text and materials by or commissioned by B. B. Shepherd are copyright 2012 to China Blue Publishing.

The Glister Journals: Bronze can be purchased through any bookseller, or purchase now at

Reviews for The Glister Journals: Bronze

More Glister info and chapters at the book’s website here:

The chapters can also be read here at the top of my blog. (and also in a menu in the sidebar!)

And please “Like” us on Facebook!

Continue Reading