Tuesday, May 05, 2009

Fat Dog To The Big Apple : Week 49 Crossing The State Line

"Now imagine a California casino surrounded by that magnificent landscape. A casino resort featuring Live Blackjack, Video Poker, Slots and Casino Bingo". Yes, here we were stood at the door of the Lucky 7 Casino a few hundred yards north of the mouth of the Smith River and reading from the Casino brochure. Why one would want to come to where the "giant redwoods kiss the mighty Pacific Ocean" to play on a fruit machine was beyond me, but what the hell, we were in California. Just.
I say "just" because we were now just a few miles short of the long-awaited border between California and Oregon. Amy and I had been walking for fifty virtual weeks and we had progressed up the California coast from our starting point outside Los Angeles Union Station. We had climbed mountains (well, OK a couple of small hills), crossed mighty rivers (via modern concrete bridges, but what the hell) and transversed numerous County lines, but those few steps just south of the Winchuck River were the big one. As we took the momentous step into Oregon, I declared to Amy, "Just two small steps for a man and his dog, but one giant leap for the blog". I thought the words had a momentous ring about them : it was the kind of statement that would live for ever. The implications were considerable : we had left behind California Dreamin', the Golden State, and Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger. And we had said hello to ....? I wasn't quite sure, so I quickly Wiki'd Oregon. "It's called the Beaver State", I told Amy. As we walked north up the Oregon Coast Highway our minds were occupied : Amy was working out how to track and catch a beaver and her owner was pondering the meaning of words.
The State name may have changed but the scenery hadn't. There were still trees. Tree after tree after gas station after tree. If you have the mind - and if you have nothing better to do - you can follow this part of our journey on Google Maps as the Street View van has travelled the route. But don't expect too much excitement, there's an awful lot of concrete and wood. Tiring of the concrete, Amy and I left Highway 101 and followed Ocean View Drive which hugs the coast (the Street View van didn't make it up here so you will just have to imagine what it is like). With all the changes, being next to the ocean was somehow comforting. It was still the Pacific. It was still blue. And as Amy discovered as she explored the rock pools near Red Point, it was still wet. 
By the end of the week we had reached Brookings, our first Oregon city. Like so many of the places we had passed through in recent months, it is a timber town, indeed it was founded by the Brookings Lumber and Box Company just over 100 years ago and named in honour of the company President, John E Brookings. There is still a lot of wood around and if you walk down the curiously misnamed Centre Street you can still see the occasional Plywood Mill still in business. So it was with the familiar aroma of sawdust and tree-bark, that Amy and I ended our first week in our new State. Little seemed to have changed. But at least now, when my neighbour, seeing Amy and I on our daily walk, calls out, "Where have you got to?" I can reply with just a little pride : "Oregon".

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