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Tuesday, August 10, 2010
Roaming the Wilds of Oregon Part 1: Joseph, Oregon
Did you know that there's actually stuff in Oregon beyond the Cascade Range and east of the Willamette Valley? It's a fact!
I know, I was just as surprised as you are now when I first learned this after 22 years of living in this state. While studying at the University of Oregon, my friend "Dangermoose" and I ventured out to the Alvord Desert and the little town of Fields, which sits in the bottom, right-hand corner of the state. At the time, Fields boasted a population of eight people and eleven dogs.
I regret to inform y'all that, despite having lived in Oregon for almost all of my 31 years on this planet, I had never set foot anywhere near Hells Canyon until a few weeks ago. I had a long weekend to kill so I decided it was time to mosey out that way. I tossed a tent in the trunk and aimed my car in the vague direction of the canyon and Joseph, OR.
A bit of a digression here. Have you heard of these places called "Walled Mart"? I think that's what they're called. I stopped at one in Pendleton and...It. Had. Everything. Tacos. Every cereal ever created in history of man. Denim shorts. Mud-flaps. Davenports. Wide aisles too. And super-happy elderly people that greeted me at the front entrance. Yes sir, good ol' Walled Mart where I doubt anything bad ever happens, everyone is always happy and the staff are well-groomed, well-treated and enjoy reasonable hours, high pay and quality benefits.
So this is the first installment of a series of short videos I put together about Wallowa County and "the wilds" of Oregon. Over the course of the trip I encountered dumpster-diving deer, irritated cows, thunderstorms, strange towns, fire service employees and more. In this video, I explore the front entrance to Joseph, a town that likes to brag that it's "heaven on earth" and that it sits at the edge of the "Swiss Alps of Oregon."
In addition to numerous art galleries and a corner filled with Swiss chalet-style shops and an "Arcade of the Dammed" (I'm still angry that I couldn't get "TMNT: Turtles in Time" to work and that the "Addams Family Pinball Machine" locked-up), several shops sell "What Happens in Joseph, Stays in Joseph" bumper stickers. I know, right? But do the residents know? They have to be on this gag.
Also: my father now has one of these sitting in the back window of his Camry and he has yet to notice it. Anyway, on to the video...