Gorging Ourselves (BBB Edition) #PDX #ColumbiaGorge
Last Friday my wife and I left the PDX zone and carved our way up the Columbia River Gorge. This is our humble travel blog.
Why is this called the “BBB Edition?” The clever reader will find three “B” words carefully hidden within this post that will illuminate. See if you can find them all.
Bloat To Self
There came a startling knocking sound…
“That’s odd,” I grumbled to myself. “What the hell is that?” I looked around and it seemed to be coming from a mysterious object I had once named, at random, a “door.” Found upon the door was a piece of spherically-shaped metal which I brilliantly intuited could be used to pry the bloody thing open.
Gazing through the gaping portal I saw a most hideous thing standing on the go-away mat. “What the hell are you?” I gasped.
With an eerily familiar voice it replied, “I’m you from the future.”
My mind reeled. “How far in the future?”
“Tomorrow, to be exact.” God, it sure was ugly. It looked irritated and menacing, too. “Are you going to invite me in?”
Once inside it looked around the living room as if with the eyes of a child. “You’ll have to forgive me,” it said. “This sure brings back memories.”
By now I was feeling pretty damn irritated. My normal routine had been severely disrupted. “I’m feeling damn irritated,” I said. “You’re severely disrupting my normal routine.”
For a second it lost it’s composure. “Don’t you think I know that?!” it snapped ferociously. It took a deep breath and slowly exhaled then seemed to go limp in resignation. After an awkward silence, it finally continued. “I’m here to help you,” it said softly. “To help both of us.”
“Go on,” I barked.
“A few minutes from now,” it said ominously, “something is going to happen. Something completely out of the normal. Something disastrous. I’m here to stop it.”
Suddenly I noticed a gun in it’s hand. That’s odd, I thought lamely to myself. We don’t own a gun. What the hell had happened to me?
Bang. The gun went off. I fell to the floor while clutching my stomach in pain. He had shot our most prized possession. He had just shot our LCD 42″ flat screen TV.
“You son of a bitch! You die!” I screamed as I felt my life oozing away. “Why??”
“Poor little idiot,” he said, literally looking down on me. I couldn’t help but notice he was starting to twinkle, almost as if he was slowly dissolving away. He smiled.
He looked at his dissolving hand in wonderment. “It worked, it worked,” he said, forgetting the question that was currently pending on the floor. Then an expression of fear gripped his hideous face. “At least this time.”
His expression changed to one of resolve then went soft as if he had reached some sort of climactic decision. “What I’m about to say may end the space-time continuum as we know it, everywhere, everything, but fuck it. It might be our only chance.”
“Shut up!” he hissed. “We have very little time.” By now he was about fifty percent translucent, much like the time I had tried to Photoshop a profile image using a real picture of my own face.
“I don’t know what I was thinking,” he said to himself, ignoring me completely. “I never watch broadcast TV. I never even turn it on. I hate the commercials. I avoid it like the plague. But I was supposed to be working. So, yeah, I guess that might be how it happened.”
He turned and looked me in the eye. “I turned on the TV,” he said. He was starting to scare me. “I did it on purpose. It was showing the CBS morning show. God help me, I don’t know why, but I watched.” I was stunned to see tears streaming down his face. “They called it ‘Note to Self.’ Oh God, why did I watch?”
He was almost gone now. He sparkled like a glinty trick of light and I had to lean and strain to hear what he had to say.
“Don’t do what I did. Don’t ever, EVER,” he hissed, “make the mistake of watching Note to Self. It’ll be the death of you.”
And with that, he was gone.
Dazed, I slowly got to my feet and swayed. Wow. What a trip. And what an idiot. How the hell was I going to watch anything with a bullet in my TV? And how the hell was I supposed to avoid doing real actual work?
More importantly, who was going to clean up that mess of ectoplasm where the bastard had been standing?
We drove from Portland to Spokane taking a route that paralleled the mighty Columbia River. If you’ve never been this way you’ve missed out on some amazing and breathtaking views. It’s an incredible drive. The Columbia Gorge was carved a few years ago, maybe more, leaving geological formations that have to be seen to be believed.
Meanwhile, somewhere along the trip, there’s a nice stretch of highway that was level and straight. So I put on the cruise control. We were in no particular hurry so I set a leisurely pace. Everyone was passing us, even the RVs and the pickup trucks hauling horse trailers.
We then had a couple Cruise Control Events that boggled my mind more than the Gorge itself.
One is called the Go and Stop. In this scenario you see a car in your rear view mirror. Gradually they gain on you. Eventually they ride your bumper with about six inches clearance. Finally they reach a decision point and make their signature move.
They pass and cut me off. Again, with six inches of clearance.
And then, somehow, the unthinkable. They slow down.
I’m forced to turn off the cruise control and wonder why my Ford Pinto didn’t come equipped with rocket launchers.
Stephen Hawking himself would be unable to explain this behavior.
The second event involved a car merging on the highway in the middle of nowhere. Again my cruise control was set and I was minding my own business. I became aware that someone was merging. I became aware it was a sheriff’s patrol car.
We were two cars converging on the same spot. Closer and closer he moved towards me. I could feel his hot and sticky breath on my neck. With amazing grace he matched our speed. This must be what docking in outer space is like.
Closer. Closer. Our cars were about to kiss.
Finally, I screamed out in anger and frustration. I hit the brake and he slid smoothly in front. The moment was lost. I had to admit it was a bit anti-climactic.
Bonus: During this trip I came up with my latest invention. It’s a holographic projector for your car that creates a three dimensional image of a vehicle exactly two car lengths in front. This causes other drivers to stay the fuck out of your personal space. I anticipate this invention will make me several trillion dollars.
This post was written on an iPad. I hope you appreciate my sacrifice.
Amazonian Space–Time Continuum
Who likes to wait? Not me! That’s why I went back in time to write this post. Ah, here it is! What took so long?
Once upon a time I was in a serious quandary. I wanted some cheap, plastic, materialistic consumer shit made in China and I wanted it now. What to do, what to do?
As I saw it, there were two choices.
I could haul my fat ass up and out of my chair, somehow make it to the car, drive to a big-box store, somehow make it inside and navigate the maze to (hopefully) the right section where the object of my desire might be found. All the while being blasted by a tasty mix of songs scientifically designed to make me spend more money. (The mix is a rotation of two songs. Happy, by Pharrell Williams and anything by Mumford & Sons.)
I say “might” because I’ve tried this in the past and it didn’t quite work out. Ever go to the store to buy one specific thing? After expending incredible effort (see previous paragraph) you learn it isn’t even there. Out of stock. I do not believe there is a worse feeling in the entire universe.
And that other choice I mentioned earlier? Amazon. Duh.
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Paddle Me Canoe Edition
Sauvie Island by Canoe
A Year Ago
Have you ever wanted something? Which do you think is preferable? Achieving it or remaining an interminable infinite loop of denial?
One year ago we moved to the big city of Portland, Oregon. Soon after we stunned by the sheer number of outside things to do. Tucked away here and there amidst the urban sprawl were remarkable natural areas to explore. I no longer remember how but somehow we became fixated on the idea of getting a canoe.
Owning a canoe became a frequent topic of discussion during the next year. We imagined the places we would go. We envisioned it as easy and inexpensive way to enjoy our new home. Need something to do? Just throw the canoe on the car and hit one of the many interesting places: rivers, lakes, sloughs and more. Viola.
I’d been in a canoe one before, but that was at church camp like 30 summers ago. I didn’t recall any bad memories so it must have been easy and fun. Right?
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