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East until we're west - Lindsey Kuper [entries|archive|friends|userinfo]
Lindsey Kuper

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East until we're west [May. 6th, 2006|06:41 pm]
Lindsey Kuper
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Yesterday afternoon I played hooky from work to go hiking with Amanda, Brian, and Amanda's friend Scott. We drove east of the city to the Columbia River Gorge, which was mind-blowingly, jaw-droppingly, wait-slow-down-holy-shit-look-at-that-you-guys spectacular. See that picture? The cliff in the foreground? Yep, we were there.

Amanda's and my work schedules are so opposite (I work on weekdays, from early morning through early afternoon, but nobody wants to take guitar lessons then; everyone takes guitar lessons after school or on weekends) that we rarely get to just hang out and have fun together. As for Brian, he works all weekend too, and there's only one night a week when we can practice because it's the only time when he, I, and the practice space are all available. So it was refreshing to spend some utterly unstructured time with my friends. We hiked for five miles and saw chipmunks, wild rhubarb, three large banana slugs ("When I look at those things", said Brian, "I can believe that we evolved from a pile of goo"), and about ten waterfalls. We skipped rocks, we climbed exposed tree roots, we crossed bridges with two-person load limits, we peed in the woods. It was fantastic.

I live pretty far east of downtown and all the close-in, hip neighborhoods. Far enough that people who have already offered to drive me home sometimes wince when I tell them my address. (Said complainers should try living in Chicago sometime, but that's another rant.) I don't love that it's a long way from my house to New Seasons, or that none of the coffee shops are open late, but I'm kind of starting to realize that the farther I am from the hip neighborhoods, the closer I am to the mountains and the waterfalls and the wild rhubarb. I can pick up the Springwater Corridor trail just a couple of miles from my house, and a few miles past that, I'm in open green space with just a farm or a baseball diamond here and there. A lot of it looks like suburban sprawl on the map, I guess, but running through, you'd never think so.

The past couple times I've been running out there, I've noticed this apartment for rent. It's at the intersection -- if that's the right word -- of the trail and a two-lane blacktop, and it's the upstairs of a little rural convenience store, the kind that sells bait and firewood as well as smokes and beer, and there's a deck facing east and a Jacuzzi and it's right along the part of the trail that affords a direct line of sight to Mount Hood, and the posted phone number happened to be very easy for me to remember today, even on top of the 98% of my mental capacity that track 4 of Hail to the Thief was demanding, and it's not like I'm really looking, but after I got back home something compelled me to call and find out how much they wanted for rent. I never in a million years would have thought that I'd want to move even further east than I already am, but still -- that trail, that view.

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Comments:
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[User Picture]From: lindseykuper
2006-05-07 05:09 am (UTC)
Oh yeah, I know exactly where Guapo is. I keep meaning to go there. Maybe I'll have time to go tomorrow since I got the running out of the way today!

As for the running, well, I'm getting ready for a marathon, and I'm right at the heaviest part of training right now -- after next weekend I'm tapering off to be well rested for the race. There's absolutely no way I would be able to run that far if I hadn't been working my way up to it for the last three months. I'm not a machine, but voolala is -- she actually runs marathons fast. I'm just happy to finish.
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[User Picture]From: glowing_fish
2006-05-07 03:45 am (UTC)
I hope seeing the Columbia River Gorge doesn't drive people in Iowa to bitter jealousy.
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[User Picture]From: lindseykuper
2006-05-07 05:02 am (UTC)
Oh, it probably will. But Iowa has things that Oregon doesn't have, like blankets of white snow. And I've never seen a real thunderstorm here, either.
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[User Picture]From: glowing_fish
2006-05-07 05:09 am (UTC)
Snow is a curiousity. In the early 90s, it did snow, sometimes quite a bit. Memory is hazy on these things, but I remember at times having a full foot of snow for two weeks. But there hasn't been any real snow fall since 1995, I don't think. I don't know why.

As for thunderstorms, that is an even greater mystery. A mystery that seems to not even have gone investigated. Oregon has less thunderstorms than anywhere else I have been. I used to think that thunderstorms were a really rare event, almost like a natural disaster. And then I started going around the country, and realized that in many places, they are a nightly event. And I don't know why this is: the southwest desert, the rocky mountains, the great plains, the midwest, the deep south and New England, all of which have very different climates and topography, seem to get them all the time. But we might get two or three in a summer. I've asked several people who know a thing or two about science why, but I haven't got a definitive answer.
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[User Picture]From: lindseykuper
2006-05-07 05:21 am (UTC)
Well, it snowed this past winter -- I remember it because it was so anomalous, and so strange to see white snow against green. It didn't stay for very long, though.

I'm no climatologist, but it seems to me that a thunderstorm requires buildup and release of energy. During the rainy season here, there's no buildup and release -- it's more that the rain is sort of just always present, always misting over and around you. In Iowa, rain usually isn't like that. It's big drops pelting you, or nothing at all.
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[User Picture]From: glowing_fish
2006-05-08 08:13 pm (UTC)
I remember that snow storm, because I was stuck in Seattle.

My snow memories might also be different, because I was actually living on top of a hill near Salem. I was 800 feet up, and had a colder microclimate, maybe. Also, I was a kid, so my memories might not be accurate.

We also had a good six inches or more of snow in February of 1995.
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From: (Anonymous)
2006-05-08 05:59 am (UTC)

Thunder

I'm pretty sure that it's the 'coastal influence'. All* our weather comes off the ocean, which is a moderator. East of the mountains there is some time for the atmosphere to destabilize, to heat up and gain a HUGE amount of energy, which has to go somewhere.

It's true for all cold-water coastal regions; all up and down the West Coast as far south as northern Mexico, all of the European coastline, etc.

*99.98%

Cheers,
StarsAreAlsoFire
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[User Picture]From: glowing_fish
2006-05-08 08:28 pm (UTC)

Re: Thunder

In general, Oregon doesn't have "weather" like other places. We have air coming gently off the Pacific ocean from prevailing Westerlies. It gradually changes its character as it gets further from the ocean, but usually not in a dramatic matter.

For thunderstorms, you have to have air close to the ground that warms dramatically and then rises and cools dramatically. I guess because all of our air is coming off from the Pacific ocean, it is of an even enough temperature that there isn't a dramatic enough shift between the ground temperature and the higher air's temperature. At least, that is my theory.
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[User Picture]From: jes5199
2006-05-08 05:48 pm (UTC)
i miss them.
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From: (Anonymous)
2006-05-08 11:05 pm (UTC)

Storms

An (under-construction, roofed, windows, no sheetrock) apartment complex 100' from my bedroom was struck by lighting and burned to the ground in a rather spectacular fashion (e.g. 100+ foot flames) when I lived in the midwest.

I.... don't like thunderstorms as much as I used to.

Thought provoking pic (http://www.perceive1reality.com/pics/Apt_Fire.jpg)

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[User Picture]From: jes5199
2006-05-08 11:16 pm (UTC)

Re: Storms

well, i hope no one was badly hurt ...
but lightning rods work wonders

and human beings have had a long history of loving things even if they were dangerous
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From: (Anonymous)
2006-05-09 08:03 am (UTC)

Re: Storms

Nobody at all was hurt, thankfully. Someone doing work did lose a vehicle which was parked nearby, but I'm guessing it was covered in the fire insurance.

Never saw a lot of lightning rods in Indiana. I know that none of the finished apartment buildings in that complex had them (inc. the one I actually resided in, which as a cause of much consternation!). My understanding is that the electrical system of most houses now functions as the lightning rod; hence why there is an 8' copper rod buried next to your house, with the ground of the electrical system running to it. Call me cynical, but I personally don't take a lot of comfort knowing that a massive surge of electricity is supposed to be routed along the same cables the supply power to my computers :~(

An irony of sorts was that the fire suppression system was finished; the plumber was scheduled to come out the very next morning (no joke!) to do the pressure test. So, a few days later....


And yeah, there is nothing quite like sipping cocoa when it seems like the world is falling apart around you. Provided that you are secure in the knowledge that the world is, in fact, not actually falling apart around you :~)
Cheers

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From: (Anonymous)
2006-05-07 03:46 pm (UTC)
I've noticed the aversion to driving very far by people out here, too. Jenn told an out-of-work friend about a job opening at her company. Her friend looked disgusted when she found out that she'd have to drive from Beaverton all the way to Vancouver. - me@matthewgifford.com
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From: (Anonymous)
2006-05-08 05:49 am (UTC)

It's not the driving... so much

As the time required to get accross the bridge.

Going from Beaverton to Vanc. means that you hit the two worst traffic spots in Oregon; the 26 tunnel, and the 205 or I5 bridge. Bad news.

Time no traffic? 30 min. Time with traffic? At least an hour. Time if there is a wreck? Two hours, easy. The REALLY annoying part is that it can be pretty random; one day it will take you an extra 45 minutes and you'll never know why.


That said, I would be stunned to hear an Oregonian tell me that they had a two hour commute; when I lived in SoCal, I stopped being fazed by people telling me that the drove from Palm Springs to LA every day. I like to think that makes Oregonians smarter ;~)

StarsAreAlsoFire
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From: hiamanda
2006-05-07 06:27 pm (UTC)
Dammit, you're reminding me of why I want to move there. And I was going to delay that so I could do some major travelling! Ack, decisions!
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[User Picture]From: leadsynth
2006-05-07 07:40 pm (UTC)
Wow, you win. We went to the beach here yesterday, but that picture you posted of where YOU went, totally owns Lake Michigan.

Incidentally, we also played Hail To The Thief in the car.
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[User Picture]From: lindseykuper
2006-05-07 08:45 pm (UTC)
The beach sounds fun, though! When we're in L.A., you and I need to go to the beach.
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From: (Anonymous)
2007-12-03 11:57 pm (UTC)

My feedback

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