“I don’t think I’m gonna go to L.A. any more…” –John Mayer
The Contrarian went on a road trip out west this week. A real one. There were no wives, girlfriends or children. It was just four grown men and their golf clubs. It was the kind of trip that was historically memorable and exhausting. It was one that had a few great big features, and a lot of little ones. And I described the trip more than once, while I was still on it, as a trip that I went on so that I could tell people about it almost as much as I did to enjoy it. That’s a little weird. True, but weird.
Any way, the four of us spent a few days on the Pacific Coast of Oregon for the stated reason of playing golf in a new holy shit place. Well, it was new to us. Bandon, Oregon is that holy shit place. Look it up. It is easily the most beautiful place I have ever been. If you don’t play golf, you still might agree with me. If you do play golf, my earlier crowning of the place is open to any challenge. I am committed to seeking out places to dethrone it with very little confidence it can be done. Enjoy the pictures this week.
“If this isn’t good, I don’t know what is.” –Kurt Vonnegut
This week’s blog is a little about golf but not just golf. It is also about a few generally insignificant little experiences of this road trip before I forget them forever.
First, it takes a painfully long time to get to southwest Oregon. A four and half hour flight to Los Angeles, a two and half hour flight to Portland, and then a four and a half hour drive to Bandon makes for a long day on both ends of the trip. I could bore you with stories about LAX (which sucks) or PDX (Portland’s airport which is great), but I won’t.
Road trips wouldn’t be complete without some people experiences:
On the way to Portland from LA, I was seated next to a young African American woman. She was about thirty years old, dressed in a business suit, and was frantically writing notes in a bound notebook the entire flight. She never even noticed I was there, and only looked up from her notes long enough to hit her call button to tell the flight attendant it was hot in there. I noticed she was holding under her notebook a one page printout that had the header “job description” on it. She kept pulling it out and putting it back on bottom, in between pages of notes, and she filled about ten pages of handwritten notes in two hours in reference to the one page job description. She was clearly heading to a job interview. And she was nervous enough to be making me nervous for her. Here’s my dilemma: she was wearing a rather large, sparkly wristwatch that would not possibly go unnoticed in the interview. It had stopped right before take off. I so badly wanted to tell her “ditch the broken watch and just be yourself” but I didn’t say a word to her. I wonder how it turned out.
Next one. On the drive down the coast from Portland to Bandon, we stopped at an overlook area to get out of the car and take a picture at our first sight of the Pacific. Right after we got out of our awesome Toyota Sienna, a couple in a convertible pulled up and parked down the way. One of our guys approached the car and asked the woman if she would take a picture of us. In exchange, we offered to take a picture of her and her male companion. Uh, neither of them wanted any part of that. It was more than a little awkward protest. Hmmm, I wonder how that turned out almost as much as the job interview.
Gasoline is not self serve in Oregon unless it is a classic vehicle, a motorcycle, or a Diesel engine. Having a trained professional pump our gas saved zero time, I learned no new gas pumping techniques or strategies, but the blonde teen aged girl that filled it up did successfully make me feel like Walter Matthau in “Grumpy Old Men.” He was great in that by the way. Also, the maximum speed limit on interstate highways in Oregon is 65 mph, not 70. When I break this law, I feel better breaking it less like I do when I ignore the limit back home. And finally, they do this kind of stuff out there to help disguise or mitigate their wireless communications towers:
We saw a herd of elk. We saw countless deer. We saw several wild turkeys, and yes I mean the birds, not the whiskey. We drove through the Willamette Valley, one of Oregon’s famous wine regions. You are likely mispronouncing that–Willamette rhymes with “damn it.”
The flight home this morning was the first true “red eye” I have ever taken. If I could learn how to sleep on a plane, red eye flights would be an awesome way to travel. Since I don’t, I feel like I just got back from Mars. For those few of you that have read this far, below is how I feel today–and I knew I would.