Sunday, July 16, 2006

I still can't quite believe...

...that I actually live in Oregon.

When I was in my twenties, people I knew who'd traveled to the West Coast came back raving about Oregon. It was the most beautiful place any of them had ever seen, they told me, and I yearned to see it for myself.

Back then, I'd only been on an airplane twice. The first time I'd flown to Boston on a prop plane, flying student stand-by for something like $60 round-trip, to visit a high school friend who was going to Northeastern University. The second time was on a jet (finally!) to Arizona, to visit one of my college professors who hadn't gotten tenure at my east coast university, and ended up the head of his department at ASU, where he went when he moved back out west. Travel wasn't a big part of my life back then (and continued to be a non-event until I began to travel a LOT for business), so I figured I'd never see Oregon, except, maybe in a movie.

In 1995, I moved to the San Francisco Bay Area with a fifth-generation Oregonian, and we drove to Oregon and Washington State in the spring of 2000 (mainly to see his father, who turned 90 a week after we visited him in Wenatchee, WA). I fell in love with Oregon on that trip, which was way too short, and finally began to understand what all the hype had been about back in the 1960's.

Still, I never thought I'd be living in Oregon (but I have my Oregon driver's license to prove that I'm now an Oregonian!).

Today, we made a spur-of-the-moment decision to drive to Mt. Hood and have lunch at Timberline Lodge. Timberline is one of those astounding, beautiful WPA buildings, filled with incredible wood carving and iron work -- a real testament to the good stuff government can do if it chooses (a much better way to spend money than war, in my not-at-all-humble opinion). We didn't take the tour of the Lodge, since MS-fatigue made it clear I needed to get home and sleep after we drove there and had lunch, but we're going back, for sure, to spend more time in that amazing building.

It was so cool seeing people skiing in mid-July, and to see that there was still some snowpack left on the mountain, even this late in the summer.

I love it here.

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