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Published: June 26th 2017
Geo: 42.1947, -122.708
On the road in my new home. Ahh! I was surprised to see that Honey Lake is actually a lake. Of course, it probably doesn't get more than 4 inches deep, but whatever. Susanville is just as depressing as I remember. Northeastern California is more beautiful than I remember. It's funny - most people think of CA and all that comes to mind is San Francisco, Los Angeles, or the big hot valley full of fruit and assholes. People from southern California have it in their heads that San Francisco is northern California. Not sure if you guys have looked at a map recently, but there's a couple hundred miles above that. But you probably don't care, anyway, which is fine, cause I doubt they really care about you, either.
Oregon! A couple times as a kid we would drive up to Sunnyside, Washington, to visit my grandparents on the apple orchard. All I remember of Oregon was trees. And trees. And trees. And trees. And then that place with all of the dinosaur statues. Then more trees. And trees. And trees. For hours! Just a two-lane road cutting through an ocean of trees! I took a slightly different route,
so I did not get to see the dinosaurs, but my memory otherwise did not fail me. There are a lot of frickin trees.
I got started too late to make it to Bend at any decent hour, so I spent the first night in Klamath Falls. I was in desperate need of a haircut, and I somehow did not find time in Reno to use my clippers and a friend to trim it up myself, so I stopped at a Great Clips as I entered town. It was cheap, the barberette was friendly, and I was on my way. But, as with most haircuts, it's not until a few miles down the road that you see your reflection or run your fingers over your head and realize that they did not do such a fantastic job. You know how baby birds look - they have the big PHHT poof of little feathers sticking straight up on either side of their head? Well, I kinda felt like that. Right at the crests of my slowly-growing McDonald. I had them. Did she just forget to buzz that part? Did I forgot to look at it in the mirror before I left. Bah.
I had gotten directions to a local coffee shop in town, pulled up, put my clippers in my backpack, walked in, went straight to the bathroom, and proceeded to touch things up. I used the same length guard as she did, but it was amazing the amount of hair that came off a few spots on my head. Much better. I cleaned up the mess, brushed my teeth while I was in there, nonchalantly reentered the coffee shop, and had an iced chai. And I have no shame.
Klamath felt very sad to me. Old. Stagnant. Barely hanging on. Gasping for air. I was surprised at the abundant homeless population, or at least those who appear homeless. Even in the city center, a number of buildings and shops are closed down and boarded up. I didn't feel comfortable there, almost got in trouble a couple times for being my normal wandering curious self, and it was probably just projections, but I could imagine people feeling trapped there.
The lake and the surrounding area are beautiful, however, and that evening I had a pleasant drive out of town to find some National Forest land (got some cool silhouette photos, below). Out in the
middle of nowhere, a near-full moon peacefully illuminating my camping area, I still peed a circle around the truck to mark my territory before going to bed. I doubt any kind of animal would even give a shit, but it's fun to do, and all of you men reading this can relate, and all of you women reading this are secretly jealous, I am sure.
After a day of wrapping up some work at various Klamath coffee/bagel shops, I rolled in to Ashland the next evening. I had been there 10 years earlier to play a show on campus with Tomorrow's Eve - the Christian Rock band I played bass in. Ah, memories! The area has a touch of that mid-California look, with rolling hills covered in dead but pretty yellow grass, clumps of lush vegetation here and there, all backdropped by larger mountains of solid pine. I had definitely forgotten how beautiful that area was! And the town itself. And the girls. Yeah, I'm a sucker for things of beauty. I immediately found an open mic to play at - located at a fancy-ish Italian place. I was walking up the stairs when the gorgeous brunette hostess saw me and
immediately said, "What are you doing later tonight?" Not really. But she did, without hesitation, ask, "Are you here to sign up?" "How did you know?" I smiled. "I can just tell," she smiled back. I made some quick jokes about my lack of hygiene, got a little laugh out of her, and proceeded to the sign up sheet at the bar.
In the meantime, I stumbled across Standing Stone Brewery - fantastic beers, and more beautiful hostesses. After enjoying some brews, I retrieved my trusty Washburn from my truck and returned to the restaurant to find it bustling with activity. An odd mix of people. A few hippies, proudly boasting their finely manicured dreadlocks, most likely trustafarians due to the clean, fair appearance of their skin and "hippie" clothing that looks like it is replaced on a monthly basis. Go back to Boulder, hippies. A few "normal" looking people, such as myself. Bbut mostly dolled out women in their black dresses and heels and guys in their shiny black shoes, suit jackets, and silly little hats. What are they called? Pompador? Troubador? The one with the pinstripe and short brim? You know, the hat that says "I'm a hipster! I'm
unique! I'm cooler than you and women want to sleep with me because I'm cool and I'm wearing this stupid little hat, even though every other douchbag in this place is wearing the same stupid little hat!" 1 out of 10 people can actually pull it off and it works for you. The rest of you, well, try a beanie or perhaps the equally as trendy (and equally as stupid) golf-style cap. It's the same with all of the identical cute blonde girls that wear the short-brimmed hats, just a little bit cockeyed, all thinking they're cute and original and distinguishable from the 6 girls surrounding them like a house of mirrors.
But I digress.
The music was good, though. Very lively and energetic. Lots of dancing. I kinda wanted to relinquish my spot since people were having such a good time and all of a sudden the bitter love song dude is gonna get up there and kill the mood. Typical bar open mic - people yelling and laughing and hooting and mostly not even realizing that music is going on. But there were a couple groups of people who were intently listening to the musicians, and I made it a
point to approach and thank them afterward. And they weren't wearing stupid little hats.
Speaking of stupid little hats... there was one man in the crowd, maybe early 40s, dressed in that 1940's style, who was apparently trying to dance with everything and anything that had estrogen. He wasn't a bad dancer, but he was kind of creepy, and once a girl was in his grasps, he would fling and spin them nearly to the point of regurgitation. At one point, he was dancing with a very attractive redhead (I'm a sucker for those, too), who was a good dancer and moving along quite nicely, but had this clear look on her face saying, "My God, help me." Like Penelope Pussycat, helplessly entrapped in the clutches of Pepe Le Pew, frantic and frightened while he remains hopefully and hopelessly oblivious. I know she saw me more than once observing her predicament, watching them and smiling as she spun by, but unable to rescue due to my left foot (I don't even have two left feet - just one).
Later that evening, she came right up to me, took my hands, and next thing I knew we were dancing. Perhaps she was trying
to escape stupid hat man, or perhaps she just wanted a dance with a handsome stranger (I'll keep telling myself this). "I just want to dance for the sake of dancing!" "What?", throwing in a hefty dose of sarcasm, "who would want to do a thing like that?" "Yeah, I know!" I suck at dancing, but I do like to dance. I did my best to move around the floor with her, not step on her feet too much, and even throw in an occasional little spin (I can usually pull the spin off, it's more the recovery that screws me over...). Apparently, dancing for the sake of dancing meant dancing with someone who had the slightest inkling of what to do with their hips and feet. Within a minute or so, she abruptly left (probably when I failed to recover her from a spin), and started dancing with a somewhat older woman who was doing her best to stumble around the dance floor, despite a noticeable physical disability. I gotta say - that hurt a little.
Unable to rescue her, unable to retain her, unable to retrieve her. Drowning in a sea of stupid hats - me and my stupid feet.
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