Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Batman and Alex On The Road To Portland (Part 2)

I like nonsense, it wakes up the brain cells. Fantasy is a necessary ingredient in living, It's a way of looking at life through the wrong end of a telescope. Which is what I do, and that enables you to laugh at life's realities.”
~Dr. Seuss~

So the last we heard, our intrepid adventurers had faced the treacherous Tim and his pleather palace, and stepped fourth once more onto the road of destiny....or maybe we should call it the road of wonders...I guess take your pick. Now on with the show! 

Zach the Garlic Farmer: (Tremonton, UT to Pendleton, OR) This was by far the longest ride I caught going to Portland. I spent 8 hours riding approximately five hundred miles with Zach. He was an extremely laid back individual who had two new born baby businesses. A pest control business in Salt Lake City and a garlic farm in Washington on some land that he had inherited. So for Zach, picking up a hitch hiker was a blessing and a half, as the ride to and from his entrepreneurial endeavors could be quite lonely. One of the methods he used to pass the time along the way was to smoke copious amounts of pot. He was nice enough to roll down the window, though I wasn't as concerned for myself as I was about the possible effects on Batman... I imagine Batman getting a contact high would be entertaining to say the least, but I wasn't sure I wanted to do that experiment on the road in the middle of Idaho.

Ned: (Pendleton, OR to B.F.E., OR) I don't actually remember his name, but Ned will do the trick. Short ride with a nice guy. Had a dog that looked like it was in a comma. It did not move once, not even when Batman jumped in and began sniffing him.

B.F.E.: If you don't know what B.F.E is, (In my best Mr. T voice) you better educate yourself, fool!

Ray the Disgruntled Railroad Worker: (B.F.E OR to Cascade Locks, OR) So there was very little traffic pulling off the highway in B.F.E, but luckily I encountered another road warrior named....well I really don't remember. He informed me, that in Oregon you can hitch hike out on the highway and the police officers don't give a "rat's fat ass". So after about 3 hours of waiting, I walked out onto the shoulder of the highway with my thumb held high. I probably walked for a half an hour before a kind gentleman pulled off to the side and offered to give me a ride to Cascade Locks (about 100 miles or so) for twenty bucks. It was very hot outside, so I opted to pay and ride. Ray was an interesting fellow, and by interesting I mean he was angry about everything. This character trait of his shown through most clearly by the fact that his favorite word was "fuckin". The fuckin government, the fuckin railroad, my fuckin brother, my fuckin ex-wife. There was a lot of fuckin in this man's life and he was happy to tell me about it....wait that didn't come out right. Anyways, other than the immense amount of complaining he did, he was nice enough to Batman and I and offered to go a little out of his way to get us closer to Portland.

Cascade Locks: A really beautiful location, even at night when I arrived. There was a minor artifact here called the Bridge of the Gods. I'm not sure the bridge was worthy of the name, but the river it spanned and the area surrounding it surely was. Totally lush and a wonder to behold in the moonlit hours as we looked for the next locale to catch a ride. Sadly, this was not meant to be. Late night hitching is quite challenging as I think most drivers have visions of horror movies as they see me standing on the side of the road with my grizzly beard, my ferocious cross-eyed pitbull, and my chainsaw. So I decided to splurge on a hotel room, as there were no truck stops to sneak into. I tied Batman to a tree a good distance from the Hotel, which was wise as he quickly decided to bark and whine like a banshee as I walked away. I got my room key and went back to retrieve Batman, not having not told the lady at the front desk that a dog would be staying with me. Batman and I covertly made our way up to our room on the third floor, avoiding all of the security cameras, barb wired fences and the pressure sensitive floor tiles. Batman had to kill a security guard, but I'm sure he deserved it. Once in our room, we spent the night lounging on our queen sized bed and watching HBO. It was a glorious occasion. In the morning I made sure I woke early enough to partake in the continental breakfast. There were quite a few people who shot me an odd glance as I piled up three plates with food and carefully took them back to my room. It was Batman's first time eating biscuits and gravy, bacon, waffles and scrambled eggs all in one sitting. I know that might be a bit much, but I'm sure he deserved it. There was only one maid on the way out that managed to catch a look at Batman, but I used my mannish charms to sway her into not telling on us. And by mannish charms I mean crying a lot and begging for pity.

Michael: (Cascade Locks, OR to Troutdale, OR) This was a quick, half an hour ride that was pretty uneventful...."But why not spice it up with the power of imagination?" you ask....Well kids, imagination can be dangerous. Sure, you're a kid and you're running around the yard, a cooking pan on your head and a blanket doubling as a cape tied around your neck. Life is grand...but try getting away with this as an adult! Make no mistake, you will be ostracized and looked down upon for engaging in this type of activity. Trust me, I know. "But Alex!" you cry, "Can't you please add just a little creativity to this part of the story? It's so boring. It makes us want to cut our eyes out and impale ourselves on a fence post just so we'll feel something!" Okay, okay, fine! I'll make something up about Michael, but read on at your own risk....So Michael was obviously a werewolf. His clothes were torn up and dirty from the full moon the night before and his face and hands were covered in dried blood. Boy did he have some interesting stories to share. I was also surprised to discover that werewolves can speak to dogs. So for most of the ride, it was just Michael and Batman, chatting it up. I really felt left out. At the end of the ride I mustered the courage to ask him if he would bite me so I too could be come a werewolf. He then said he normally would, but after the things Batman had told him about me, he didn't think I would be a good fit for the werewolf community....There are you all happy now?! See what happens when you make me use my imagination!!! Bad things. Really bad things. No one enjoyed that! Why would a werewolf pick up a hitch hiker? That makes no sense at all!

Mary and Pattie: (Troutdale, OR to Portland, OR) This was probably the most unexpected of all of my rides. Mary was a 62 year-old woman and Pattie was her 84 year-old mother. As I got settled in the car, they quickly began explaining why they had decided to pick me up. It just so happened to be Mother's day and that morning they, both being mothers, had agreed to go a little wild, jump in the car and see where it took them. "We're on a Mother's Day adventure!" Mary exclaimed proudly. Both of them were delighted to hear my story and went out of there way to find out where the nearest hostel was located in Portland. They dropped me off in the Chinatown district of Portland and my first hitch hiking experience came to an end. Wow. The world wasn't as scary as I had been led to believe...maybe talking to strangers wasn't such a bad thing after all.

A shiny building in Portland...I like shiny things. :)

Some more wicked art that was on display in Portland.