Saturday, November 17, 2012

Roll on Columbia

Did you know that Oregon's official state song was written by Woody Guthrie? Pretty classy, eh? Here are a few lines to get you revved up about exactly why Oregonians love their state song:

Roll on, Columbia, roll on.
Roll on, Columbia, roll on.
Your power is turning our darkness to dawn,
Roll on, Columbia, roll on.

Other great rivers add power to you,
Yakima, Snake and the Klickitat, too,
Sandy Willamette and Hood River, too;
Roll on, Columbia, roll on.

We don't burn coal to make power. We use our amazing waterways to produce hydroelectric power. My home city's electric company (EWEB, a publicly owned entity) also offers wind power as an option. Costs a few cents more, but wind is a good thing, eh?

In honor of Oregon's commitment to clean energy and just being an all-round cool place to live (yes, I was born here), I've got a couple of Oregon-based books to give you a tour of a some of those really cool places, or really hot if it's summer.

Set in the eastern high desert of Oregon (yes, Oregon has a lot of desert), this mystery is about a young woman dragged into a probate hearing of a distant relative she didn't even know she had. She begins to get hints that not everything is as it seems when people start trying to kill her. But she's got moxie, Kam does. She doesn't let the threats stop her from finding the truth behind her distant relative's disappearance.

When Kameron McBride receives notice she's the only living relative of a missing man she's never even heard of, the last thing she wants to do is head to some half-baked Oregon town to settle his affairs. Her suspicions rise when the probate Judge isn't really a judge and tries too hard to buy the dead man's worthless property. Kam probes deeper into the town's secrets and finds almost no one she can trust. She must find out what really happened to her dead relative before someone in this backward little town sends her to join him.

And she thought Oregon was going to be boring. 

Set in the Klamath Wildlife preserves in Southern Oregon, this book is about the Bald Eagle flyout area in Bear Valley. Yes, we have Bald Eagles like they were pigeons in the park around Oregon. And we're danged proud of our big birds. The cover shot was taken by Coralie, a professional wildlife photographer and my long-time friend. See her work on her website at http://mrsroadrunner.com/ 

Fiona, Hap, Billy, and Mitch make an odd set of friends, as different from the usual high school crowd as they are from each other. Mitch, the oldest of the four, is a half-breed Native American, adopted by white parents. Troubled that he doesn't know his tribe, he avidly studies Native American history and lore. 

Learning the nearby Bear Valley Wildlife Refuge is a bald eagle nesting site, he wants to add an eagle feather to his medicine bag and explore the refuge as a site for his Vision Quest, a Native American rite of passage. He and his three friends get far more than an overnight campout as they encounter a black bear, an old man living in the refuge, and a pair of eagle poachers. Bringing the poachers to justice, they test their courage and gain confidence in themselves and each other.