Saturday, October 27, 2007

Oregon Trail

What happened to Salt Lake? And... Idaho... And... the wasteland.



Information on cisco:

where i camped out:

cliffs on the way

this is my favorite picture of the desert

This is great... the crack in my wind shield matches the weirdness of the landscape, and the camera phone image quality ads the finishing touches.

The river otter was fast so his picture was not to be taken, but I have photographic evidence of river otter tracks:

This is someone else's up-close picture of the north american river otter


I guess this part of the trip was the least exotic one... so much of the way here looks familiar to many of you, so instead of taking my own pictures I just went to for other people's pictures of the stuff I saw.

This is the Travel America center where I started out to buy some supplies:

I had to leave Decker behind as he was simply consuming too many of our dwindling resources. I felt bad about it, but out here in the deserts and the fields choices like that are unavoidable.

You might think me a bad person for doing it... but everyone else got here fine.

South pass was awesome, very senic.

Camping out can be pretty senic. Here's my camp from two days ago:

Some camp sites were less glamourous, but you take what you can get. This is just after getting rid, I mean, out of Idaho, in the morning.

So whatever happened to Salt Lake?

Well, getting there was ok, despite the capitalist propaganda and meth. But I was at Area 51, the goth industrial bar or whatever, when suddenly, it hit me: this place is kinda fucked up. It wasn't just the "Your country is dying from political correctness," billboards on the way in. Sometimes, it's what's unsaid that sends the strongest message. This was found chicken scratched on the back of a flyer for "filter therapy/deviant " in my left inner coat pocket:

Notes from SLC. Thursday.
-Net cafe and book. Drove around trying to find club, but it was damn confusing given the way these ppl'r bent on naming the streets around here. Maybe logic gets a little fucked up generally when you're in the desert this long; because it's a big desert. This bar has got like 5 or 6 different areas to be at and only some of them have alcohol bars and you can't go from 1 area to the other. I feel like... this is weird. Also... drove around a lot. Final parking place 1 block further away than the one I left from. Are bar people friendly here as they are in Denver? Hard to tell cause they are so damned spread out from one another.

(this place was all like, tables to sit at, not a long bar to sit next to other people at)

They play generic VNV here, like everywhere... where to spend halloween? Probably at a rest area in Idaho. At this point, something about the bars... these clubs, drinking getting drunk enough to dance, and waiting for them to fill up, is getting old. This place is a barn, few bar stools, but many tables, make things less socialable. Here in SL, you can't have your drink with you on the dance floor. What the heck is up with that?

How do you dance with out a beer or mixed drink in your hand?

Also, everyone dancing is mad underage... What's up with that? At least they played Michael Jackson... male heavy and Jailbait skewed. What if I straight dragged otta here, ate the stacker 3's, and did halloween in Portland? Could it be worse? I got stacker three's!

Did I need another omen, or was my being prompted to write "At least they played Michael Jackson" enough? Well, ok, how about this: you know how lisence plates are three letters and three numbers? Well, the only lisence plates I have ever seen where the numbers have been 666 or the letters have been "WAR" were in Salt lake city. Also, I never before saw a sign anywhere that said "support your local police". Where I've been that people make the most sense the police, despite the occassional "good guy" cop like Mad Max and the guy with the dog from "Chips", are always to be distrusted, and insofar as possible, avoided.

The above quoted lines and experiances do I think speak for themsleves. Indeed, it was incredibly impressionistic of me, to extrapelate so much judgement of an entire city- indeed the capital of a state as well as only metropolis of its size for hundreds of miles around. But this may have been precisely what was needed.... Halloween weekend is this weekend and this is the first time in years I haven't had to work during it... so I better make it count. I simply knew at that very instant that I either had to leave, or else I'd keep drinking Hennesy, get to drunk to drive, put on some clown happy face makeup and dance with these underage kids, and wind up spending the whole damn weekend in that one decidedly un-cool metropolis.

So I ate this stuff

which of course does horrible things to your body, I recall from reading on the internet, after my waiter friends fed me three in one day during an evening shift. I almost passed out, was talking at 90 mph, went through gallons of iced tea, and got more compliments on my waiter skills than I've ever had before in my life. If three can do all that, then one at least outta get me through Idaho.

To the credit of stacker three's, I did actually start to midly hallucinate during the last 65 miles to the rest area on the border, seeing these funny little purple, yellow trails around all that was lit and glowy. Also, occassionally people who did not exist would jump out of the shoulder and into the lane I was driving in. However, at the same time, I hadn't slept in many many hours, and did drive from central utah to oregon in like 18 hours, so it may have just been sleep deprivation after all.

I know Idaho is a state, and like all of them, worth seeing and absorbing... at the same time though, I've also heard a bit about it, and some from people who have lived there, none of which was too good... if the United States has anything like the concept of "vast, endless steppes", it's probably gonna be found in Idaho... no where else have I ever been where there is so absoulte zero quanitiy of development or habitation in between cities, scattered about the place. However, I did absorb enough of the state to recall these observations:

-In Boisie there is a bird of prey museum that looks pretty cool
-While it is a distinctly "AMERICAN" practice to shoot guns through interstate street signs, it is is IDAHO where I've seen the largest caliber bullet holes through any one sign.
-They have signs about snow chains and not stopping in the middle of the interstate if there is a dust storm in Idaho.

So I did it straight through in one night with no problems, other than that it was a little cold, and wound up in east Oregon.

When I heard that east Oregon was a desert, I guess I assumed it would be like utah. But it was an entirely different kind of desert... weird, empty hills, just, nothingness, and grass and sagebrush. The photos (these are mine from here on out) speak for themselves:

However, as wastelands go, this probably did have the single most incredibly awesome wasteland-oriented location I have ever visited or driven past:

Old crumbling concrete plant looking stuff, but crumbled to the point of medieval looking ruins, particularly the surrounding smaller buildings... AND, blending in perfectly, exactly the same tint of desaturated, sun-blanched, yellow, as the surrounding hills.

That was near the city of Lime, Oregon. Someone really needs to shoot a film there or something.

Stopped in Baker City for gas and to do laundry. This is weird, full service only at gas stations in Oregon... umm.. okay. I also spent $0.75 to read a newspaper and "catch up" on the "important facts" of the "world" I have been missing. These included:

-A bookstore owner in Houston paid $100,000 for a lock of Che Gueverra's hair, because "some of his writings are still quite relevant".

-An old couple, one of whom was 71, committed suicide, taking their four dogs with them, by flooding the house with carbon monoxide from their car which was turned on in the garage. They had just experienced their third bankruptcy, and their home had just been foreclosed on them.

-Bush is preparing to veto another law that would give some health care to poor children.

Does that make you a cynical son of a bitch? Does that make you wonder why I'm reading "Existentialism vs Marxism" instead of "Existentialism"? Well, how about this? Two things occurred in a parking lot:

-A cute chihuahua who is very small was barking and scratching at the glass window of a beige, wasteland painted pickup truck.

-In the check out aisle of the Baker City Safeway at approximately 2:54 pm on Friday, October 26th, and old man returned to a cashier a red purse he had found in the parking lot, where a lady customer had evidently dropped it.

How about that? I guess you may not know for sure which event helped the most to restore my faith in humanity, despite the headlines.... but that is your problem, and not mine.

The road continues to a tall hill overlooking the valley.

The hills, nude but for the grass, roll down for thousands of feet like the gentle curves of fingers lying flat upon a bed.

I still say that windows vista GENERALLY sucks. However, it did let me do this:

That's right, damnit. I'm Gary Numan's tears for fears

The sunset happened. I stopped at the rest area to cook pita pizzas. Before and after that these shots were taken:

Hey umm, you wanna know what else is cool about Oregon?

Perhaps you need a close-up:

Check the brightness on your monitor. That's forty goddamned ounces of PBR! Woohooo!

So then what happened? A totally ludicrous, completely unenforced, "65 mph" speed limit on I-84 along the columbia river.. this ment a practical speed limit of 85... however, not even this could get me into portland in time. For you see, as scientific as I have things worked out, it does take TIME and ENERGY to naviage through a strange downtown, change into fashionable clothes, meet people, and find the bar and all, plus it costs money. So.... i stopped 20 miles outside in troutdale where the city is on a steep hill that almost stalled out the subaru. crazy. Anyways, I found a dark side street and slept.

Woke up the next day for hot water to do some of this freeze dried chicken with rice at the travel america. I tell you I am getting damned tired of freeze dried chicken with rice. Even the mexican flavor with pinto beans is starting to let me down; and don't even talk to me about BBQ or Teriyaki. This close to a major city though I wasn't sure where I could really go to cook something real.

Last thing? I met a friendly, talkative ex-alcoholic truck driver guy who questioned me about my existance and offered me advice. This included:

-Do it now while you're young (this was seconded by another truck driver)
-Get a 21st century skill as well as an 18th century skill
-You need rocks under your feet
-Don't half step. You gotta do it all the way.
-Our society is based on the glorificaton of the 7 deadly sins. Pride is what people w/ no love come up with. Therefore; hustlers/politicans, pornography is the net's biggets money maker, and titty-bars.

It was like BADITUDE isself turned into a truck driver and walked into that washroom to brush its teeth and tell me just that. Maybe this guy was one of the disembodied spirits I've been told to listen out for; but I'm pretty sure he was real.

Portland has yet to be experianced, but I got a good omen comming into here, so we'll find out.

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