I made it to Eugene! After the drive from Portland and some directions over the phone, Michelle and I were greeted by some old friends, Jeff and Jesse (riotworthy.com maker of-ers.) So far they win the award for best hosts upon arrival, thanks to the large steins of PBR offered as we walked through the door. Way to be, guys! Eugene's a funny town ... a strange mix of college students, hippies, and retired folks. I thought this poster from my hosts' bathroom would sorta sum up the town's vibe.
Anyway, It's really nice here, but also boring. We got a taste of Eugene's *hoppin'* nightlife our first night at one of our friend's neighbor's barbecue. The neighbor's name is Ham, and he is this burly glass-blower dude. He had two young daughters that were really sweet that we hung out with around the barbecue and they showed us magic tricks. One of the adults dropped the "weed bowl" in the dark and they even helped look for it... All of the adults talked about exciting things like BB guns, blowing glass, and hunting. Oh, Eugene ... Later we went back to our friend's house, where this guy named Lorq showed us some of his flashy feather tricks.
Pretty weird, huh? After that he kicked it up a notch and "spun fire!"
What really shocked me was how loud it was. Basically, the guy had these big metal, mesh balls on the end of chains that he soaked in kerosene, lit on fire, and then spun around (as you can see.)
He also does contact juggling with glass balls, sorta like David Bowie does in the Labarynth. He would have been a real hit were it medieval times. Also, while we were there in Eugene we ate a good hippie breakfast (twice) at a cafe very reminiscent of Sunlight, called Morning Glory. We also went to a rad farmer's markets where Michelle got Aricana eggs. She was stoked. Sadly, Eugene is full of pollen and hippie stank and both mine and Michelle's allergies have been through the roof, and we were more than glad to get out of the Benadryl haze once we left. I guess it's like, the worst place in the world for people with allergies. So bad in fact that the Native Americans avoided it back in the day 'cuz they thought there were evil spirits that would make 'em all congested and stuff. So says one of the native Eugenians anyway. Still though, thanks to Jesse and his roomies for letting us crash at their place. Ya'll are funny, and I'll miss ya. After Eugene we were headed off to the Redwood forests in California. On the way we stopped for gas in Grants Pass, where they had this huge caveman...
Vweird. They also had one of those painted bears. They seem to be the trend for small towns these days. In my hometown they had grizzlies or somthing, but I've seen ducks and beavers and moose ones all over the place. Does your town have them?
We've been taking the 101 and the 1 down the coast, and the ocean keeps looking better and better. By now I think we've crossed the California border. God bless this State! Time and again I am reminded of why this is the greatest state in the Union. You can walk into any grocery store and purchase hard liquor, everyone [not me] drives 80MPH on the freeway no matter what, the beaches are beautiful, the forests are breathtaking, the people love exploitive celebrity reality shows, and they have the best darn governator in the country [who apparently is running for re-election].
We've been passing through a few patches of the Redwood National Park by now. The trees are so flippin' huge and they smell so good! We saw all the famous stuff ... one-log house, Paul Bunyan and Babe, etc. etc.
Babe's blue tipped dongy dong-dong. We later found a place to camp in the redwoods. I'm not sure if the campground had a specific name, or if it was just the Redwood's National Park. Whateva.
We saw a campground presentation put on by the rangers about park flora and fauna and learned some crude bird and frog calls that would probably cause Mr. Audubon himself to roll in his grave. At about 7PM that night we decided to run into the nearby town of Orick, CA in search of some night time munchies. The only place in town I could find that was open was the Lumberjack Tavern. The name and neon sign which depicts a lumberjack splitting wood were enough to indicate how great this place was, so Michelle decided to go in and ask if they knew about any stores that were open (that would sell booze.) I parked our little car next to the biggest truck I have seen in my life, complete with a huge "GET 'ER DONE" decal on the back window and the requisite NRA, W'04, and Calvin-peeing-on-the-Chevy-logo stickers, and Michelle headed in. After she came out she said she was the only person in the entire tavern who was female, under 40, and not wearing flannel. Though they looked gruff and were probably all toting loaded shotguns, the crowd was really nice... and much to our dismay the only store in town had just closed. Ah, well. The loggers wished us well on our trip, and Orick will bear a special place in my heart.
We trekked on down Highway 1 the next day, through some amazing sea cliffs and more ginormous trees, to Fort Bragg, CA. You bike nerds will be pleased to know that we saw dozens of bicyclists going down the 1. You beer nerds will be pleased to know that we stumbled across and stopped in to the North Coast Brewery, makers of such fine micros as 8 Ball Stout, Old Rasputin, Red Seal Ale, and the like. The guy was nice and we picked up a sampler 6-pack to try some flavors we don't get up in Seattle. Yum. Aside from that, Fort Bragg was bursting with excellent people-watching opportunities, particularly at the Denny's, which was full of large families of sort- of-inbred-looking obese people. You gotta check it out if you're ever there because it is a true slice of Americana. I didn't take any pics of the brewery, but for some reason this water tower behind the place was calling to me.
After that we drove a few more miles down south to a campsite at the Russian Gulch State Park. It was right off the beach and was so so so awesome.
The next day, Tuesday, we explored the beach a bit more. The water is bright turquoise and begs to be swam in even though it is biting cold. We climbed a bunch of rocks, saw some really cool tide pools full of fish and hermit crabs, ate some shrooms, and got so insanely sunburned that we can hardly move. Seriously, I look like a lobster and my entire body is crazily sunburned because I forgot what happens to people who spend the entire day in the sun, on hallucinogens, without sunblock in an area closer to the equator than Seattle. Alas.
There was also a bunch of funny chalk drawings underneath the bridge. We didn't draw the fungus, but it couldn't have been any more appropriate.
Those are the rocks we "fried" on.
We got such a huge kick out of this. Right when the shrooms first started to kick in, I was scaling this one huge rock along the water. It was actually kinda dangerous, but anyway, once I scaled to the furthest point of it, sitting on a rock, was THIS!
It totally made the trip! So funny. We spent hours joking around with it, pretending that it was left out by some coastal gang to ward off others from their turf. It's now are trip's mascot and has replaced all other cutting tools we had originally brought. Anyway, I guess you had to be there...
Well, that's all I've got for now. I'm actually a lot further along into my trip than this post makes it seem like, and so I have a lot of blog catching up to do. Hopefully this one will keep ya'll amused for now though... As usual, send your best wishes and advice my way as I go on my cross country voyage, and also stay tuned for next time, when I pull into central California to ride rollercoasters!
Picking up where I last left off, I'm now drivng through central California.
The plan was to meet up with friend Porous Walker in his town of Napa, but unfortunately he was busy with his own schedule and we weren't able to meet up :( Not knowing where to stay, we panicked for a short bit, shared a Slurpee, and went over our options. The next day we were supposed to meet Michelle's sisters at the Marine World amusement park, so we drove down there to find some accommodations. Eventually we ended up settling on a Motel 6 that would't put too much of a strain on our back pockets, and from there we explored the fine city of Vallejo, CA. AKA, we bought booze at a grocery store, I ate pizza/cheeze for the first time in 3 years (breaking vegan edge!), we watched "hella" hotel cable, and had our first detailed grooming session since we had left Seattle. After a comfortable night's rest, it was time for Marine World, where we met up with the blondes and headed out for a day of riding rollercoasters, watching fat American families bicker in line, over the top animal stunts, and some crappy overpriced food. Check it out.
We got to go upside-down, backwards, sideways, super fast, etc. etc. We also learned why orcas and dolphins were put on the Earth: to entertain us! They had a pretty entertaining whale/dolphin show for all the Six-Flaggers, where the animals jumped through hoops and bounced balls around and splashed the audience while loud "pump-up" music played. It was slightly amusing in a "we're on vacation!!!" kind of way.
There was a super humid but super rad butterfly greenhouse at one end of the park,
and also another area where you could play with the parrots.
But they'll bite.
Michelle and one of her sisters, Mia.
Chuuuubby girl with a huuuuge cast.
After 9 hours of outrageous American entertainment, it was time to split, but not before jumping some ropes and checking out the rollercoaster graveyard.
From there we were supposed to drive a couple hours down to San Francisco to stay with FecalFace proprietor John Trippe. Turns out John forgot we were coming in that night, and so we had to improvise again. After going through my list of contacts I remembered Theo the Oakland Eastsider who helped secure another floor for us to crash on. He put us up for the night, showed us a great taco shack, and put in that one movie about Gator the skate murderer for us to fall asleep to. Thanks Theo!
A tiny fragment of his extensive nerdy toy collection.
The next day we grabbed our friend Amy Friesen and took our San Francisco natives back North to the Jelly Belly Factory where we could eat enough sugar to cause us to become instantly diabetic.
On the way there we saw a truck with some pretty cargo,
and this hansome butch of a broad. And here's the moment you've been waiting for, the Jelly Belly Factory. There's no photography allowed, but here's some sneak peaks anyway.
Michelle hopped up on sugar, running past one of the dozen jelly bean Reagan portraits.
Appearently he's the dood who made the sugary morsels so popular.
I'll leave you with this last creepy photo of Theo, being molested by this uncomfortably five fingered plush bean. Stay tuned later for the rest of my stay in SF, where I'll continue the trend of visiting the most ridiculous American tourist spots ever. Wish me luck on my travels everybody, and I'll post next chance I get. Thanks!
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