Mt. St. Helens –
I for the first time in my life got, what I call now, “Northfaced up”. This is when you have to wear waterproof clothing, or run risk of frost bite.
I really enjoyed having this thought on that mountain: “I am 5 miles from the truck, on top of a volcanic ridge, in sub-freezing temps with 50 mph winds, right in the business.” I also love the idea that mother nature has control over our circumstances and even our lives. The vulnerability that is felt in the elements is exciting. I took of my shirt for a few seconds up there, in order to get “Northfaced up”. Not a good idea. Felt very alive though.
I summited. My hands went completely numb for about 30 minutes around the top. I know this because I had to concentrate very hard to open my victory High Life, and it took about 2 minutes of strenuous effort. I can usually open a beer while doing a host of other things (e.g. working, reading, biking, skating, swimming, cooking, running, fishing, anything really) with little or no effort. That beer was different, it was difficult. You can be certain that it was absolutely worth the struggle.
After I drank my champagne of beers for victory, I ran down that mountain. When you get moving coming down, you can jump and the wind pushes you sideways before you land. It is sandy for the top mile or so of the hike, so you can jump away from the mountain and catch some real air! Shred the gnar, you know?!?! I love that.
The visibility was minimal when I summited, but on the way down I was able to get some shots of the landslide that I hiked up.
Before St. Helens, I was in Astoria. The people are nice there. I really appreciate that little town. There bartender at Rogue Pier 39 owes me a pint, for summiting St. Helens. She is very pretty, I want my pint.
I spent a couple of days there, fishing for a fishing job. Talked to a bunch of people. One guy in particular had a really small boat, in poor condition. He goes out for 4-5 days at a time, 40-50 miles off-shore. Not safe at all, exciting though. That is the job I need.
In Astoria, they have had 3 days of sunshine this summer, not in a row. It rains there all day long. Different types of rain:
Foggy, Misty, Milky Rain – It doesn’t fall like drops, it just sort of hangs around. This type of moisture is of no consequence if I stand still. At best it will make my beanie a little wet. Driving through this requires a 5-6 second interval of the wipers.
Drizzle Rain – Actual drops now, medium pace. This is just enough rain to get wet. Not terribly wet, just enough to make you not want to be in it. I run in this rain from truck to door, door to door, whatever. 2-3 second interval of the wipers used here.
Tree Rain – This rain is sneaky. This rain gets its name from its source. When the sky clears (no rain but still overcast), I take my beanie and jacket off. Ahhh, how nice! BAM! Rain off of the tree, TREE RAIN. Big drops – directly on the head, down the shirt. I shake my finger at the tree. Well done tree and rain, well done.
Business Rain (my favorite so far) – Actual drops at an alarming frequency. Run the wipers full speed, baby. Drive by feeling, no sight, rubbing is racing boys! This rain is really the most enjoyable. This is because it has the ability to defeat you. It also gives you the opportunity to defeat it. Follow: I park at the coffee store. Mmm coffee. I watch out of the window of the truck. I wait for the rain to subside just enough, 10 or 15 seconds, so that I may traverse the parking lot. It doesn’t subside. Mmm coffee though. I make the leap. I start at a run. No use. I am soaked and running now. The rain has won the fight at this point. But then it happens. I reach the point of indifference. I stop running. I start walking. I look up. I am soaked. I stop in the middle of the parking lot, completely wet. I stand there, looking up. I stop caring. I am soaked but willing to be soaked. I go in the coffee store after a while. I get a coffee. Mmmm. I win.
There are other types I am sure, but I haven’t discovered these yet. Give it time. I also think that in Astoria the rain will mix with wind soon. Different types of rain with different types of wind. Combinations!! More stuff to enjoy!!
* I wasn’t able to get picture of Astoria yet. Best Buy gave me a two-year warranty on my camera. The one thing not covered is full-submersion in water. Astoria is fully submerged in water. Google Astoria if you want pictures. *
Before Astoria, I was in Newport. Pretty scenery there:
I picked up a hitchhiker there. His name was “Jimmy the Rail”. He offered me $40 dollars for a ride to Corvallis. I have never hung out in Corvallis. I gave him a ride for free. He was stoked.
Jimmy the Rail said he was a gangster. He looked like an old fisherman. One of his fingers was bent. Broken probably and never fixed. He reminded me of my Uncle Mike in Tucson. What’s up Unc?? I get along with those kind of dudes really well. I got along with Jimmy.
He wasn’t a gangster, he was just a drunk. Nice guy though. I found out later that he gets 86’d a lot from bars in Corvallis. He got 86’d from a few while I was there. He went home. I made some friends. We were hanging out, drinking beers. One guy asked me what school I went to. He then informed me that Thee, University of Arizona was a piece of shit, University of Northern Mexico, etc. I asked him what school he went to. Oregon State University. I forgot OSU is in Corvallis. I offered remarks of reciprocity toward him. I said some things I shouldn’t have culminating in me yelling, “F&*# the Beavers, BRO!!” Everybody heard that…. Yikes!
That started a small riot. The bouncer helped me out of there. I ran down the street, jumped a fence, ran down another street. A couple miles later, I found a Safeway. Bought a sandwich. Took a cab around looking for my truck. Couldn’t find it. Got out of the cab and walked through downtown Corvallis. Hid in bushes when people would come near. Walked about 10 or so miles in circles. Found the truck though!!!! Slept in the truck behind the Beaver Tail Brewery. Slept with my shovel, J.I.C. Left promptly from Corvallis upon waking.
A girl I was hanging out with that night called me the next day. She said the situation was funny, I should come back and hang out sometime, funny guy, etc. I told her Corvallis is probably a good place not to go again for a while, or ever.
I drove north. Northern coast.
Somewhere along the way, I was in Tillamook. They give free samples of cheese. I went through the line voluntarily once. 12 or so pieces of cheese. I took the tour, all roads there lead to rome, got stuck in the line again. 12 or so pieces of cheese. Both times, I had greedy people behind me, pressing on. I had to hurry. If the chance to eat 24 cubes of different kinds of cheese at a rapid pace ever comes your way, pass it up. They have a cheese there called squeaky cheese. I think I am lactose intolerant now.
Somewhere else along the way was Woodland, WA. I call it Woodbridge, fits better. * I am looking for a job like Lewis and Clark had – naming things. I would be good at it. I would work hard at it.*
The Ricker met me at the Safeway there. I taught him how to play guitar and dance in a parking lot. We went to the restaurant Burgerville. Really weird place. They have “burger spread” for sale there. If you shake the jar it comes in, it makes you want to not eat there. We ate there. The burger-lady kept trying to keep our attention, she would hardly let us eat. I think she was in love with me. I felt not the same for her. I love the Ricker instead, let me explain.
The Ricker speaks of such things as the “Uncle Bone and the Donut Dance”. He drives small import cars with loud bass and listens to “Bass Music” while wearing penny loafers. He does work almost constantly. He is from Nebraska. He had a seizure at Arriba’s, ambulanced out. He is the man.
We went to what an 85 year old lady at the gas station next to Burgerville said was a “biker bar”. It was the only place in Woodbridge open passed 10pm. It wasn’t a biker bar. It was called Merwin’s. Perfect name.
Picture this please:
One biker in the bar. He has two canes. He uses one to walk, one he just carries in his other hand. He has a red bandana. His shirt is an airbrushed thunderstorm. His necklace has a bear’s tooth. His girlfriend is horrendous. She does some incredible dance move to a Nickelback song and Ricker almost dies laughing at her.
The bartender has potbelly. She is a girl. She keeps ending her sentences in -izzle. She says Ricker and I are born in seventhrizzle and eightyfizzle. She says that she is older than both of us put together for shizzle. She is 29, she is bad at math. She gets us two Pabst Blue Rizzles. She gets annoying quick.
They have open mic night there on sundays. I told the bartender to expect me this sunday. She asked what I played, which gave me an open-ended opportunity. I immediately explained to her that I grew up in the church, I play mostly hymnals and prayer songs. I told her I can bring my all-black choir and tear the roof off of that place. See you sunday. She believed me.
The rest of the bar is what you would expect. Men shooting billiards, very poorly. Some dude in there had very long arms, very short torso. Another guy says to his wife before going out, “Hey woman, I aint gunna wear sleeves tonight!!” He sits in a wife-beater shirt, at the corner of the bar. He is drunk as hell. He is watching Jeff Gordon race radio controlled cars on ESPN.
One hot girl there. Nevermind, she wasn’t hot. A mid 90’s honda in good condition looks like a Ferrari, when you put it in a junkyard.
Everybody knows you are not a Woodbridgean. This is because your body is proportionate, you are not a mouthbreather, you are wearing sleeves, and you don’t have the blank gaze of a Woodbridgean.
I am running out of steam. I am running out of things to summit. I am out of work.
I am going to go to the south coast for a few days and crab, clam and fish. Fish for fishing jobs as well. I have to contribute soon, as I am feeling restless.
On the list: I have to finish writing my epic tale Walter the Crab – Beast Beyond Measure: The story of Garret Zuppiger Day. I also want to see a Mariner’s game. Lastly, I must put an end to the endless question. Bear Claw or Maple Bar?
Peace and Love!!!