Olympia is FULL of hippie punks and queers. It was delightful. We ended up going to a cafe to soak up some wi-fi and reading time while waiting for the Good Luck/Break Your Heart/Olympia Free Choir/Kimya Dawson show. Which ended up being awesome and totally worth the wait. I think that Kimya Dawson is the Patti Smith of our generation. And she almost never leaves Olympia these days because that's where her family and best friends are. Also, apparently my friend Ginger was the first person outside of her family to see her child after it was born. And the line "I've never met a Tobey that I didn't like" is about Matt Tobey, the guitarist in Good Luck, and I would assume the rest of his family. I graduated next to his sister/my friend, Erin Tobey. Erin and Kimya are also very close friends. Weird. The world is really just an extended Bloomington, I think. I couldn't approach Kimya Dawson, though I really wanted to. I'm too impressed with her.
We left Olympia right after the show and got to Portland late in the evening, where we promptly passed out in our room in Ramada. We woke up and drove downtown to get ourselves some Voodoo Doughnuts. I highly recommend them to anyone that visits the area. Then I found a Crass shirt in a punk store around the corner that was desperate to be like SEX. Then we went to Powell's: City of Books and whatnot. Walked around and all that jazz. Deanna accidentally broke the driver's side mirror in the parking garage. I felt bad for her and duct taped it up afterward. We ended up getting bored with the town and leaving shortly after, hitting up The Grotto before getting out of town entirely. The Grotto is a Catholic sanctuary full of statues that rests on a mountainside. My guide suggested it. It was peaceful. From Portland, we went to Shelley's in Roseburg. We went to Shelley's preferred bar, getting cat-called by a few hobos outside of the "Wild Rose Saloon," which Shelley dreads Wimpy's trashman-style. There was some argument with the waitress over happy hour selections, but delicious fresh salmon. In the morning, we went to a safari, which was a drive-thru zoo. We saw an ostrich mating dance and mating act. And bears. And yaks. And turkies. There were a lot of strange animals. It was great.
Then we went to the coast, which was actually somewhat difficult to find. Shelley and I caught a glimpse of a whale from a distance. Then we went down and ran around in the water like kids. Then we went looking for weird things that had washed up. Then a bald eagle showed up and was like "hey, I'm a bald eagle and I'm going to land on this beach." And we were all like "hey! You're a bald eagle! Woah!" And then he flew away majestically into rain clouds and the sunset. Then we went and ate seafood in a restaurant built on the docks. Some of the items we sampled were "salmon nuggets." Breaded, fried pieces of fresh salmon. Orgasmic. Have I mentioned I'm a salmon fiend? Well, I am. Then we returned to Roseburg and got some gasoline. In Oregon, it's illegal to pump your own gas, so every station is full service. Also, Oregon is one of those states that's printed on every participating aluminum can next to the "Redeem for $.05" bit, so they have these machines at the supermarket that basically scan the barcodes of cans and bottles while sucking them up. If they aren't "participating" items, the machine spits them into a rejection bin so that you can reclaim it and recycle it elsewhere. Then it gives you a receipt to redeem in the store's checkout lane for all the participating items you deposited. So, if you were to deposit 10 cans, you've earned yourself a cheap pack of gum. I think that every state should participate in this program. In any case, it was very nice to see Shelley again. She's still one of my best friends. She's also an excellent hostess.
Then we got up early this morning and drove until we hit San Francisco. We passed through the Redwood forests on the Redwood Highway (also known as 101), and it is the most magical highway thinkable. It travels alongside miles of rocky California coastline surrounded by redwoods and pine trees. The air smelled like wild flowers, pine and salt water mist. We also made a quick stop at the "Trees of Mystery," which is a tourist trap area of the redwoods that features enormous statues of Paul Bunyon and Babe the Blue Ox. This was actually creepy because Paul Bunyon was voiced by a man hiding out of view who would address crowd members directly. He asked us where we were from and we ignored him, so he addressed us no more. He was, however, striving to get someone to sit on his show to get a photograph taken, but he was doing so with the fervor of a man with a fetish for it. Creepy.
Hours later, here we are in San Francisco. Michael and Natalie are superb hosts. Right after we arrived, they made a pizza and gave us wireless access. So, we've all been sitting in the living room for hours watching Daria and screwing around on our laptops, which, Deanna and I agree, is exactly what we felt like we needed. Tomorrow, we'll explore San Francisco, then go to bed early so that we can leave in the night and head off for Los Angeles, hopefully avoiding rush hour traffic.