We Make Unique Sweaters!
by Jeff Lewis

(Editor's Note: Mr. Lewis is currently touring the western United States with his wife, Lynn.  From time to time, he will be sending in notes from their travels.)

The Paris Hilton Collection
At a gas station in Northern California, I couldn’t help but stare at a man in his late thirties with a permed mullet, tight white tank top stretched over his beer gut and cutoff jeans showing off his bird legs.  This is exactly the same outfit that Paris Hilton wore to marshal a celebrity racing event, although it hung differently on her.  He gave me a squinty Clint Eastwood stare and puffed out his chest, but I already knew not to mess with a man with a perm and cutoffs.

The I-5 Slalom
The orange cone lobby must be very strong in Oregon.  Along the entire I-5 corridor, lane closures forced us to make lane changes every five to ten miles.  Thanks to the Gold Rush and some subsequent other events, the lane closures didn’t cause too many delays.

Cedar, Chickens and Jasper’s Stink Eye
Portland is lovely in the summer.  Our friends inspired us to BBQ salmon on a cedar shingle, husband chickens and collect rainwater in a holding tank when we return to Oakland.  We’ll do at least one of those things, no doubt.  We stayed with Brett and Lorie, who have a young lad named Jasper.  Lynn, he liked.  I got the stink eye all weekend long.

It’s the Law
Based on a small sample of anecdotal evidence, it is my opinion that there is one characteristic that differentiates Oregon from Northern California.  Self-service pumps are against the law in Oregon.  I don’t know the purpose of this law, but the result is that when you get out of your car to pump gas, everyone in the gas station checks out your plates and gives a knowing look.

Funky Bird How’z
Signs viewed on the Oregon and Washington coasts:
1.  Fine Food, Bait, Herring
2.  Boring Next Exit
3.  Paradise Cove Resort Laundromat
4.  Sometimes Only Good Lotion
5.  Funky Bird How’z
6.  Prevent Truth Decay: Brush Up On Your Bible!
7.  Kids For Sale--Goat Farm
8.  Square and Round Dancing Hall
9.  The Sweater Store:  We Make Unique Sweaters!
10.  Welcome Vacancy Kris Did It

Chris’s Advice
Chris Kennedy’s advice, as always, was spot on.  He told us not to stop in his father’s home town, which has seen better days or has never seen a good day.  The Chevron didn’t have a credit card reader yet; it did allow me to revisit the halcyon days when you could fill your pump before paying, though.  Chris advised us not to eat at Lake Quinault Lodge. We had to see what we should have missed and it was well worth it:  $13 got Lynn a chicken vinaigrette salad, with Worcestershire sauce substituted for balsamic vinegar.  Chris also told us to rent a canoe and paddle down to the right-hand side of the lake, where the bald eagle lives.  We saw the eagle chase an osprey that dove and caught a fish.  Unfortunately, because we rented inferior boating technology—a rowboat—our trip to and fro was arduous.

Copyright Jeff Lewis, 2004