Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Oregon Tour

I live in Oregon in a mid-Willamette Valley town named, strangely enough, Eugene. It started out as Skinner City (Eugene Skinner), but for reasons only known to the City Fathers, it was changed to Eugene.

Eugene is the home of the University of Oregon. Way back in the late 19th C. when it was formed, the sports teams went by the name of the Tall Timbers. Okay, that's silly, somebody thought. So, they changed that to the Ducks.

If you're getting the idea that Eugene may be a bit wacky, you'd be on the right track--running track, that is. Eugene is also the Track Capitol of the World (not sure who awarded this) because of a guy named Bill Bowerman. He invented the Nike running shoe. He used rubber treads from old tires. Okay, wackier still, right?

For the last thirty or so years, the nearby town of Veneta (another great city that bears somebody's first name) hosts the Oregon Country Faire. Come on by around the first part of July if you'd like to party like it was 1969. Ah, the area is a hotbed of leftover hippies, organic farmers, hemp growers, and yurt makers--just about anything you might want for that alternate lifestyle you've been pining after.

I was born here and, barring a complete takeover by the even more wacko neoconservatives, I'll probably die here. This place is just too darn entertaining to give up.

People leave Eugene to go to the bright lights and big cities, but just about everybody eventually comes back again. They just can't stay away. So, be careful if you come to visit. You might be sucked into the Oregon Vortex. Wait, that's about 125 miles south of here in Gold Hill, so I guess Eugene is like a blackhole, or whirlpool, or the Elephant's Graveyard. Yeah, something like that.

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