Friday, September 14, 2007

Grizzly Boy

Dude, so like, I woke up, totally dishevelled, squinting like hell, had a total meltdown when I realised the car was due back yesterday, so I shook De Campo, said get your things, baby, we gotta roll like a scene out of Badlands, hopped in the convertible blasted the soundsystem up to high heavens like Dick Dreyfuss in American Graffiti and proceeded to go like hell down the interstate as if racing furiously would alter the fact the car was 24 hours late, heading into the airport lot, saw a car turned upside down on the divider, continued on to the Hertz end where my brother and his wife were already awaiting us. "Hey I thought that was you back there," Dirk sniggered. I hugged the crap out of him and legged it into the office, told the dude at the counter my situation and he was like 'don't worry about it'. Next thing you know it's before lunch and I’m sucking down cans of Coors in the parking lot of a Motel 6 in Grants Pass, Oregon like they’re frigging Coca-Cola.

Jet boat cruise on the Rogue River that afternoon. The wildlife roll call:

4 bald eagles
6 river otters
1 deer
7 osprey (two of which had fish in their mouths, one of whom dived into the water before , prompting the river guide to chime: ‘you don’t see that everyday!’)

In Winston, Oregon the next day we came face to face with a hungry grizzly and the camera shook from the absolute danger/life-threatening nearness!


Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Ashland, Oregon

Ashland, Oregon, site of my dishevelled enrollment in the journalism program at Southern Oregon University from 1994-1997 was the next stop on our whirlwind tour.

Here I reunited with my old housemates Scott and Terry. Had arranged to meet Scott on the deck at the old Rogue Ale brewery. Figuring I'd recognise the guy even though it's been ten years I was strangely drawn to a guy in RayBan wayfarers with his hairdo superglued into devil horns. It was the longest few seconds I've experienced in my entire life. The guy I was fixated on may have even snapped his fingers a few times. Scott showed up subsequently, accompanied by his wife Lisa, who instantly reverted back to calling me Shaner in her own sweet way like I had never left at all.

They had a newborn baby with them and a Boxer. I met them both, the baby and the boxer, the boxer from the back of scott's truck parked under the bridge. The dog suffers from such an extensive underbite that it used to use its lower lip to fling food into the air until scott came to the conclusion that that was no way for a dog to live and designed a food pedestal for him (Scott's a carpenter).

Terry I've known for ages. We played basketball at Mt Hood Community College together from 1991-1993. After that he moved to Ashland and I moved home to my parents, disaffected and riddled with angst, before joining him there in the beginning of '94.

These days Terry lives comfortably in a suburb north of Ashland with his Mexican wife and the beautiful Guatamalen girl they recently adopted.

We partied until we were violently ill. The food of choice were Jalapeno pancakes and a slimier version of Oysters Rockefeller than the ones we had in Monterey. Food was washed down with local Rogue Ale's Nutbrown Nectar, several tall Snakebites and several rounds from a ridiculous sushi place that pumped death metal and specialised in mojitos.

Scott and Terry said my technique of combining a box of macaroni and cheese with a can of chili is now available in stores, I told them that that's great but the original idea came from a guy I went to high school with who had this amazing knack of combining those unexpected ingredients into a delicious late night snack.

Ashland is a really pretty city. I arrived there in '94 a total tragedy and left with some of the polish of the man that I am today.

Thursday, September 06, 2007

The Redwoods

Exited Frisco spectacularly via the Golden Gate fuelled on French Toast and a Dead set live from the Oklahoma State Fair in ‘72. Nearly ran out of gas at the point where the wine country ends and the artichoke farms begin, managed to gas up at a remote outpost where I rather severely needed to use the toilet of which there was only one and happened to time it perfectly as the second I opened the door a whole throng of people were waiting. Almost left the seat up by mistake, until I saw that the person next in line was a woman, who happened to be of tremendous girth, and I quickly corrected myself and she cried ‘what a gent!’ which was kind. I then went out and traded places with De Campo who badly needed to go and she didn’t return for a very long time, I was quite concerned, turns out she was waiting for the lady to conclude her business, so when she came out De Campo was a little frightened and she hasn’t been the same since. Somehow I feel like I contributed to her state by putting the seat down like I‘m an accessory to the fact or something.

Didn’t get to our cabin in the Redwoods until after dark and the place was deserted save for a silhouette inside Cabin A craning for a better look at the latest arrivals. We drove down to check out our cabin, situated in a row of other equally cute ones. No note or indication of what to do whatsoever. We walked back up where we came and found the office. The sign on the door said SORRY. We tried the general store next to the highway. ‘After hours try Cabin A’ it said on the door . We got back in the car and drove to Cabin A. The room was lit by the blue light from a TV. A man with a porn moustache took his time getting to the door. “The key…is under the mat,” he drawled. I don’t think he had any pants on.

“Do you know where we can get something to eat at this time?” asked De Campo.

He mumbled about two restaurannts, both of which he couldn't, not for the life of him remember the name of, I figured he was on the grass. We ended up going to the place where the directions made the most sense to us, down the road a quarter of a mile, located opposite the world’s largest Paul Bunyan (lumberjack du jour) we even got a picture of the big feller the next day in case you didn't believe me.