Saturday, June 23, 2012

Candide's return.

By the time we got to Cheyenne, we were ready to get home. We didn't really explore at all, though it looked like they had a grand old railroad station.

Stopped in Rawlins, Wy. for lunch, and there were antelope grazing in the middle of town. Had some grand old Victorian style houses. Supposedly, there was a bookstore called Off The Beaten Track, but when we stopped and asked, the antique lady just shook her head: "They've been gone for 15 years! How did you know about them?" They're listed on the internet. "They need to fix that internet..."

We got gas in Rock Springs, and I have to say, it was by far the ugliest town we'd seen on our entire trip. We drove through a very rundown downtown, were I was astonished to find a "comic" shop filled from top to bottom with action figures; old comics and sports cards, and a ton of other pop culture stuff; I felt like I had stepped into a store from 15 years ago.

We were told there was a bookstore in Green River, so we stopped there at the tourist center and contemplated going through the Flaming Gorge area, but it would've added 3 hours to the trip.

(We were constantly tempted by sights that would have added 2 to 3 hours, but if we'd planned just a tad better, some of them would've been achievable. Next time.)

It was a very nice town, though we went on a wild goose chase trying to find their bookstore.

Here's the thing I've learned on this trip; locals are useless when it comes to knowing about their own towns. Distances and populations are far beyond them. They can't give simple instructions. But worse -- they don't seem to know whether bookstores or comic shops even exists.

Drove on to Ogden. (which I proceeded to call Provo the whole time we were there...)

Nice little town. About the size of Bend, but has Weber State and an interstate. Had two comic and game stores, but only one small paperback exchange type used bookstore. There was a Hastings, and I went in to see their comic section, which was actually pretty extensive. No independent bookstore....we could find. (Again, this is after asking around... see above about locals cluelessness.)

I could see living there.

Drove into Boise, and after stumbling around for awhile, found the 'riverwalk' which was very pleasant. We were right next to Boise State, so there were some nice sights to see. I think maybe Bend would look very similar (minus the co-eds) on a summer day; lots of people walking the paths by the river; but then again, we live here. I tend to try to find quieter spots. Boise is nice.

I could see living there.

Drove on into Ontario, and it was like we were home. It just felt different somehow. The people are nicer, the signage is better, the sights are familiar. (Sorry, Bruce. I know this is provincialism, but it's the way I feel.)



For our entire two week trip, I don't think the mid-day temperatures ever dropped much below 90 degrees. I remember getting out of the car in Albuquerque and feeling like I stepped into a blast furnace.

It was near 100 degrees most of the time we were Oklahoma. (Hotter than usual for this time of year.)

So, ironically, the only time we saw cloud cover and or lower temps or rain was -- yesterday, when we were met with a deluge just east of Bend.

It was refreshing.

It feels so good to be home. Our cat couldn't decide if she was out of her mind happy to see us, or angry at us. The garden has bloomed in our absence.

Traveling makes you appreciate what you got. I can't really imagine it as a lifestyle, like all the turtle people we saw on the road. There were times when I looked into a hotel lobby and saw nothing but old couples -- obviously they're the folk that have the money and the inclination and the time to do it. But, even though I joke about joining the "old folk tribe" I don't feel much like them.

I've decided that I don't like the weight I'm at. When I'm home, I'm either in a big fluffy bathrobe or dressed. But in those motel rooms, I saw a different sides of myself. So I'm going to drop the 15 or 20 pounds I "let" myself gain. Also get in some walking exercise for sure.

There is no doubt whatsoever that flying is actually a cheaper option. But then, the trip itself was pretty much the point this time.

I found that Linda indulges my whims maybe a little too much. I'd find myself thinking out loud and or making a suggestion, and she'd take it as a command. Hard thing to correct, because then you get into -------

Sorry. You say you're sorry too much. Sorry. Quit saying you're sorry! I'm sorry that you think I say sorry too much.

----- type territory. We were pretty good about most things, and only lost our tempers a few times when we were lost in finding our motels.

Even though we pretty much only touched the surface along the way, even that much gives some perspective on Bend. As I mentioned before, I'm not in a hurry to want an Interstate in Bend anymore, because they're ugly. I also wasn't terribly impressed with some of the industrial areas we saw. Bend is a tourist area -- so maybe it's cross purposes to wish for industrial growth.

There are a number of towns I could see living in -- if I had to. But why would I? I'm already living in the best town in the best state in the best country in the whole world!

16 comments:

H. Bruce Miller said...

"So, ironically, the only time we saw cloud cover and or lower temps or rain was -- yesterday, when we were met with a deluge just east of Bend. It was refreshing."

It sucked. But I have to admire your capacity for rationalizing away all unpleasantness. You are a true Bendian.

H. Bruce Miller said...

"I'm already living in the best town in the best state in the best country in the whole world!"

Hallelujah, Praise Jeebus and let the heavenly choir burst into song, for truly we are in paradise!

(Or at least that's the unbiased opinion of Duncan McGeary, Bend Lifer.)

H. Bruce Miller said...

"The people are nicer, the signage is better, the sights are familiar. (Sorry, Bruce. I know this is provincialism, but it's the way I feel.)"

I can totally relate to that. Once my family took a vacation in Quebec. As soon as we drove across the border into that "foreign" country I started lamenting about how the signs were different, the grass wasn't as green, the houses weren't as pretty, etc.

Of course I was 10 years old at the time.

H. Bruce Miller said...

"But worse -- they don't seem to know whether bookstores or comic shops even exists."

That's probably because they couldn't care less.

Carl said...

Boise is nice. We gave up on Bend and picked Boise for our Summer home. Bigger with more diversity in every way, including people.See more blacks, Asians, and foreigners who have come to the US (legally, than we ever saw in Bend. Boise is a city picked by the Immigration Service to relocate foreigners who come as refugee. Have met some black people from Africa at church; some of the most beautiful people (inside and out)who happen to be black.

Cost of living is cheaper and weather is better in almost all seasons. Of course, it is a thousand feet lower. Landscaping is kept up here as water seems to be unlimited. The HOAs pay for irrigation water so we are not charged on our household bill.

Anyway, Boise is a great place to live.

H. Bruce Miller said...

"I remember getting out of the car in Albuquerque and feeling like I stepped into a blast furnace."

It's true; Oregonians are like delicate plants that wilt if the temperature gets much above 70 degrees. I definitely am not cut out to live in this state.

H. Bruce Miller said...

What this series of posts about The Travels of Duncan proves is that people tend to like things they're familiar with and dislike things they're not familiar with. This tendency is more pronounced in some people than others.

Duncan McGeary said...

Some places I like to visit, but I wouldn't want to live there.

Duncan McGeary said...

“All that is very well,” answered Candide, “but let us cultivate our garden.” ...

H. Bruce Miller said...

The story about the trip to Quebec is completely true, by the way.

And "Candide" is the most devastating critique of "positive thinking" ever written. I sometimes wonder what choice words Voltaire would have had for the Dr. Panglosses of Bend -- "Everything is for the best in this, the best of all possible towns."

Anonymous said...

" As I mentioned before, I'm not in a hurry to want an Interstate in Bend anymore, because they're ugly"

Yes, absolutely! That is why in the Valley, Albany is ugly, and Corvallis is not. Albany has I-5 running through it, and Corvallis has only 20, running to Newport (the coast). A nice contrast.

Anonymous said...

Here is an example of what not having an interstate through Bend does.

Was talking to a local healthy foods type business owner tonight who also has a facility in Eugene. Both facilities were making the same products. Then the Bend facility started experimenting with a new product. Said new product was picked up by a national chain.

The owner needed to expand production and wanted to do it here in Bend. The large national chain offered to pickup the product using it's own trucks if the plant was located on the I-5 corridor, other wise the business man would have to foot the bill to ship it their warehouse.

The new product and its increased production was shifted to the Eugene facility because of shipping.

These were some of those "traded sector jobs" that makes products here then ships them out of the area and bring money back in.

That Jack Elliott said...

Duncan wrote, "[...[ locals are useless when it comes to knowing about their own towns."

That's been my experience, too. At least in tourist towns. I attribute this to the fact that things in touristy sections of tourist towns are pricey, but the people working in the shops aren't paid much, so they don't shop there; ipso fatso,* they don't know where anything is, or if it even exists.

============
* Archie Bunker

Carl said...

"Yes, absolutely! That is why in the Valley, Albany is ugly, and Corvallis is not. Albany has I-5 running through it, and Corvallis has only 20, running to Newport (the coast). A nice contrast."

You might want to also contrast the economic activity in Albany v. Corvallis.Albany has some real industry with family wage jobs, few in Cornvalley, other than the U.I know a lot of U. employees who live in Albany and environs because the cost of housing was cheaper.

I don't think the I-84 through Boise is ugly, probably one of the cleaner interstate environs in the west.

Duncan McGeary said...

See what I did there?

Start with Candide in the title, then wait for H.Bruce to react and then finish with the Candide quote?

Anyone?

H. Bruce Miller said...

"See what I did there?"

Yes I did, Dr. Pangloss.