Crater Lake To Stanley, Day 8 : Amusement

At a roadside shop called Oard’s Gallery, I find the oldest bottle of Mountain Dew I’ve ever seen:

Advertising sure has changed, huh? Can you imagine a modern soft drink can showing a man with a gun, running into an outhouse?

The same roadside stop evidently has a problem with classical composers and plumbing:

Once I leave the museum I begin ascending a series of steep, exhausting hills. To pass the time, I continue listening to my collection of DJ Zog’s noise shows, arranged in reverse-chronological order. The higher I climb, the older the shows get, until finally I’m at the summit of a mountain. As I take the following picture, Zog is in my earphones screaming about the loss of his fantastic dancing cow, Bessie, who could do the polka, the cha-cha, and also drive a car. Late in the program she enters the spirit world and drives Tammy Fake Bakker over a cliff.

I'm very pleased with myself.

I am in Juntura, sitting at the counter of the Oasis Restaurant, Motel, and RV Park. Terry the cook, a huge red-headed man in a yellow shirt, has just refilled my cup of icewater for the second time. I have consumed an incredible amount of water this day.

A group of leather-clad men have cruised up on a variety of motorcycles, and are now standing around at the counter, trying to decide whether to stay and eat. The most talkative man, a short, broad-chested fellow with well-groomed facial hair, strikes up a conversation with me about the route. I’m heading East, and his group is heading West. I learn that he is originally from Quebec, and speaks fluent French, but moved down to Miami years ago.

“Why’d you move?” I ask.

“I just got tired of the snow,” he says, and laughs.

“So you traded the snow for the heat?”

“Well, not really. When it gets real hot I just drive north again. So I’ve ended up going back and forth for years.”

We chat some more, and Terry brings the man some lemonade. “Here ya go. Great for this hot weather. It was up over a hundred today. Hundred and ten in places.”

“I’d believe it,” I say, and gulp more water.

“Pretty hot,” agrees the man.

“So, what’s worse,” I ask him, “the heat here or the heat in Miami?”

“The heat in Miami. Actually not just the heat, it’s the humidity. The humidity just kills you.”

Terry asks, “How far have you ridden?”

The man says, “3500 miles in eight days.”

Terry whistles.

“Oh yeah?” I say. “I’ve ridden about … 300 miles in eight days!”

We all have a good laugh over that.

Later on I’m talking about phone coverage, and technology, with a patron at a nearby table. Terry is back at the counter moving glasses around.

“So, see, it’s a phone,” I say, and show the man the virtual keypad. “And it also does maps,” I say, and I open up a map of Juntura and scroll around. “And it also takes photos,” I say, and show him a picture of the road from a few days ago. I pinch the picture to zoom it, which makes the man blink in surprise.

“That is amazing,” says the man.

Terry leans over the counter and says, “You can tell we don’t get out much around here.”

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