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Vintage Outlandish!

This Content From 2003 (or earlier) see index

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Hymn for Eugene

Eugene, OR 97401

A city by a river

Eugene is a city by a river on the I-5 corridor. To the East are the mountains and to the West is the sea.

I was born here on May 10th, 1979 at Sacred Heart Hospital. It's where my mom lives.

It's a college town, a cosmopolitan burg of 100,000 stories, a place where the VW van/tie-die and pickup/gun-rack sets rub shoulders. Racially, it's white as all hell, but full of lip service honering diversity. It's a bike friendly town, probably the reason I gravitate to that mode of transport.

It's a place with a lot of natural beauty. I remember staring out the window in 3rd grade to look at the treeline on top of a hill a few miles off. There was an enormous Douglas Fir tree that was crooked, falling, like mother nature's own leaning tower of Pisa.

When I was a high-school radical, I used to hang out with Timber protesters down at the Federal Courthouse. The girls I knew were very impressed with a man named Tim who was on a hunger strike. Later on, when things got even more radical, Eugene became a nexus for anarchists, and I watched police move like an army to beat a bunch of longhairs.

Coming back from New York City the first time, my initial re-impression was, "quiet, smells nice, not a lot to do."

Bars here have bad lighting, and if you're young or look wrong they might not want to serve you, or you could get suckered into a terrible game of pool with a drunk forrestry worker who carries really sharp tree shears on his belt: the pickup/gun-rack factor again. Better let him win.

All in all, the simplicity of life and the ever-present reminders of nature's total mastery of beauty can make this a very pleasent place to exist. It can also make you slow, and the wet climate can rust you up if you don't stay active, lubricated, juicing. The summers, though, are hot and dry and glorious as the winters are mild, deep and wet. It's a place with air worth breathing and room to do so, the bucolic west meets comopolitan metropolis sandwiched between the living rock of the mountains and the deep forgiving sea.

For more factual informtaion, you might try planeteugene.com

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Trips in Space and Time 8/02/03

Big Wheels in Berkeley
I scored a set of west-coast wheels today at the Ashby BART station flea market. It's a very tall schwinn road bike, black, deceptively heavy but smooth-riding. Thirty-five dollars to boot. I oiled and cleaned the works, dialed in the bakes and took it out for a shake-down cruise immediately. Nice riding on a beautiful saturday, realizing how out of shape I am as I wheezed my way though the hilly area behind the Berkeley campus.

After about an hour I started to get the swing of it. Made some minor mechanical adjustments (including a free wheel truing at the bike collective on Shattuck), drank a few liters of water and started finding my groove, cruising up and around and ending up with a beautiful view of the whole bay. The roads here are not kind to the speed inclined -- too many stop signs and crosswalks and lights -- but it was good to get out and proj for a while. This changes my summer dramatically.

...older trips...


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