"Sour Milk Gill" Oil Painting by James Swanson

"Sour Milk Gill" Oil Painting by James Swanson
"Sour Milk Gill" From the award winning painting series.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

From Beloit, WI to Portland, OR

The first Traveler in this painting journey is Jerry from Portland. Jerry's wife Jackie was starting a new job that required them to move from Beloit, WI to Portland Oregon. Jackie had gone on ahead while Jerry stayed behind to sell the house. After the sale, Jerry would then drive with their St Bernard, Winnie, to their new home on the west coast. An adventure in and of itself but made more exciting when you’re in a wheel chair.

The Traveler story:
Jerry's From Beloit, WI to Portland, OR

"When I mapped out the road trip from Beloit to Portland it was going to take 30 hours behind the wheel. Considering I am in a wheelchair and I am taking my St. Bernard, Winnie, with me it sure seemed like a road trip from Hell. Winnie had never been for more than a half hour car ride so looking at 30 hours was kind of frightening for me. But it was better than flying her out and driving by myself. I wanted to have my van when I got there since the movers were not going to be there for a week or more. So we figured it would be 3 days before I arrived in Portland.

I spent a week before the trip getting everything I would load into the van together so that we were ready to roll when the movers drove off. So Tuesday at 2 p.m. our adventure began. I had mapped out the trip and decided to take I-90 most of the way which was a good move looking back. It turned out to be a beautiful drive. Winnie turned out to be a real “road dog”. We would drive till I needed gas or she needed to relieve herself. I had brought a long leash that I would use so that I didn’t have to get out of the van when she needed to go potty. I just pulled over and let the ramp down and she did her business and we were back on the road. She soiled every state we went thru. She is pretty proud of that fact.

So we left at 2 p.m. and drove thru Minnesota, South Dakota, and part of Montana before I finally pulled over at a rest stop at 4 a.m. to get some shut-eye. During the night, as I drove, I had noticed what looked like low lying clouds. When I woke up at 6:30 a.m. I saw that they were actually snow-covered mountains and when I looked around the scenery was unbelievable. When I was a kid the scenery all seemed to look the same and I never really noticed it. But since I’ve grownup and seen lots of different places, it is the first thing I notice about a place, that is why I love Portland so much.

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After seeing what I was driving into it gave me a big boost and I couldn’t wait to see what was coming up after each turn or hill that we came up to. Wisconsin is Beautiful but it is really flat compared to the m
ountains and valleys we were driving thru on this trip. Montana was beautiful but it was also the longest part of the drive. Once we got thru Montana and Idaho by 3 or 4 p.m. I knew we could make it the rest of the way without stopping for the night. So we took I-90 to Spokane, Washington, then we took I-84 to take us to Portland. Once I-84 got us across the Columbia River to Oregon the ride got even better.

It was like scenes from a National Geographic movie and it just got better the farther we went down 84. As we head west toward Portland we are following the river and you can see Mount Hood thru most of it. At one point in the drive the road looks like it is going right into the mountain and Mount Hood takes up the whole windshield. It was just an awesome site and I wish I had a camera handy at that moment. This whole area is called the Columbia Gorge and it is the best part of the whole trip. On the right side you have the Columbia River and the state of Washington and on the left you have the mountains and cliffs of the Gorge. Every once in a while you could see waterfalls pouring out of the cliffs. There is a huge waterfall called Multnomah Falls that has a special exit near Portland and you can see the falls from the interstate. It’s one of the coolest things I have ever seen.

We arrived at our new home in Portland at 9 p.m. on Wednesday, so a 3-day road trip took Winnie and me a day and a half. I didn’t need a bunch of coffee or caffeine to keep me awake. The scenery alone did that. I look forward to making the drive again some day, I'll make sure to have a camera ready at all times for that one.

"Artist's Notes:" When Jerry sent me his photos my jaw dropped. I was and am, so jealous because of where he lives. From what he been telling me, the only problem with Portland is they don't know how to drive when it snows. But hey, not many places do. He also says that the town is beautiful and is surrounded in even more natural beauty. For me coming from a place were they call us Flat landers and to see those mountainous landscapes was really inspiring.

This first painting I'm starting is of a mountainous highway scene in tribute to Jerry and his St Bernards trip. The 1st Traveler painting will be of medium size 20"x 24" on linen canvas. Here is my rough sketch of the painting. These kind of sketches or usually for my eyes only , but since we are friends you can take a look. I will post my progress on this painting along with my comments so you can see what's been happening with it. I already now how it's going to turn out in my head, so watch here and see it unfold. Thanks again little Bro.

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Have a good travel story and some fun and interesting pictures and we can get started on a painting journey.E mail me here with
name, place, and a few pics of the spot,and I'll get back to you.