I did a lot of different things while I was off gallivanting around Portland and northern Oregon. I had dinner with my college roommate, who I don’t see often enough. I watched dragon boat races on the Willamette River. I walked all over downtown, and Old Town (not that there’s much there, except for lots of empty old buildings and a distressing number of homeless people…I say distressing because this seems like an awfully damp place to be homeless) and Chinatown (ditto on the empty buildings) and the Pearl District (hello, Powell’s). I spent a day looking at gardens, which is normally something I’d never do. But the Chinese Cultural Gardens were gorgeous, and the Rose Gardens were full of roses, and the Japanese Gardens were beautiful (although not very tranquil thanks to the kids running around screaming). I drove down to Salem for a quick peek at the Capitol and dinner with bethany (but not Francesca). I had dim sum with Ali and her two wonderful boys. I read (The God of War, The Hunger Games, A Widow’s Season, The Only True Genius in the Family and The Last Beach Bungalow). I bought so many books I had to buy a duffel bag to get them home (and yes, I promise a post on the books later). I even met Herman.
I also drove to Dufur (say Doo-fer, not Duff-er). I believe I’ve mentioned before that I lived in the middle of nowhere when I was a small drink. The middle of nowhere being outside the teensy town of Dufur, which is just south of The Dalles (side note: the “The” is part of the name. If you think that sounds awkward, get this…the west part of town is West The Dalles.).
Anyways, back to my story. On Saturday I decided to drive along the Columbia Gorge. Why? Because it’s absolutely beautiful and Multnomah Falls was calling my name. Can you see why?
I had decided that I would drive to Hood River and back. But when I got to Hood River it was still early afternoon and Dufur was only another 30-40 minutes east and south. So off I went.
At this point it would be really helpful if you cued the banjo music in your head. You know, to provide kind of a Deliverance soundtrack as you picture me driving through Dufur and out into the boonies in search of where we used to live, in the area known as Friend. After driving miles down a gravel road, past quite a few No Trespassing signs (on driveways, not the road…I’m not that stupid) and old, rusted farm equipment, up a very steep and winding one lane road, across more dusty gravel roads with not a house in sight, I finally came to this:
The street I grew up on. I kid you not. This is where I lived, although the little blue farmhouse has been replaced with a modular home. And this is the view in the other direction:
Actually, that’s the view in all directions. And this is the old town of Friend:
Not much has changed. Friend was dead before we lived there.
After that I drove back to Dufur (on a paved road this time, although there were still few signs of life) and then out to Boyd, on the east side of town. There was more driving through hills and up and down dusty roads. To give you some idea of what’s happening in and around Boyd…
I never did find the old farm that we lived on out here. I also didn’t go in search of the old barn we lived in back by Friend…the barn that had no indoor toilet, but did have an outhouse. Some things just don’t need to be revisited.