Friday 22nd August. Corvalis,Oregon --> Eugene,Oregon, USA
Ryan dropped me into town early and I caught the bus back up to Salem. Rose, my host in Salem, had mentioned some nice waterfalls out of town that I might like to visit. She had the day off today so could drive me there. They were really worth the trip too, although I guess they were less impressive than usual due to the recent dry weather. Nearby Silent Falls were quite interesting, too- not your usual noisy, crashing, splashing cascade of water at all. I had the feeling that Silent Falls may be a little noisier after rain, but for the moment there was not a sound to be heard.
My next host was Tim, in the town of Eugene. Tim and his girlfriend Rachel met me at the bus station and started by giving me a quick driving tour of town. They're both quite proud of Eugene, I think. "There's lots of musicians and hippies and tree-sitters and artists and all sorts of activists around here" Tim explained as he drove. "They like to demonstrate, which keeps the cops on their toes!"
Tim's street had a very neighbourly feel to it. A hand painted van across the street, a mural on the wall of a nearby house, sunflowers growing in the front yards. I liked it. In fact, I've been surprised at how much I've liked Portland and Salem as well.
Home for Tim is an upstairs studio apartment with a very cool head height bed that folds up towards the ceiling when not in use. It's only a small space, but Tim said they can sleep up to four or five people, with the futon sofa folded out and a sleeping mat on the floor just inside the door. While we chatted over a couple of Pabst Blue Ribbon's, Tim and Rachel received a string of visitors. Tim's in a band and one of his bandmates dropped in for a while, as did Jason, a friend from another local band. I was curious about Jason's tattooed forearm. "Never lend your ex your razor" it read. I never did find out the exact meaning behind that, but Jason did explain his theory on drugs, which I thought was priceless.
"Acid is a gateway drug" he explained "and people just don't realize what it can lead to. I started doing acid when I was sixteen, started smoking pot at seventeen, drinking alcohol when I was eighteen, got onto cigarettes when I was nineteen, and drank my first cup of coffee when I was twenty. Giving up acid was easy, but you try to quit cigarettes and coffee once you're hooked!!"
Tim asked if I wanted to go out for a beer, but I'm always happy to stay in unless my host really wants to get out. Settled, he said. "We'll have a fire in the backyard!" Jason set off for supplies while Tim and I started a fire. Okay.. Tim started a fire and I shone my flashlight while he split some kindling. A few of Tim's neighbours and friends turned up, and it ended up feeling like a relaxing evening around the fire with friends. There were two cans of beer left when I called it a night, but Jason and another guy were still up so I left them one each. Generous, aren't I?