by Jon Sullivan - 2022-11-07 - Status

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The move to Oregon, since the day I got here, has been non-stop in-your-face change. It's not slowing down.

The adventure yesterday was the one where I head into the mountains during a storm warning to see how my aged body will handle hiking in the woods with camera gear through mud and rain and potentially snow. It went exactly to plan. Things stayed dry to an acceptable degree. The hiking part was easy, although it wasn't a hilly trail. Trying to get long exposure photos in the rain is a pain in the ass, but it's also a known problem. I can fix it. I also did a brisk 3 mile walkies before I left in the morning, so my overall "in shape" status is pretty good.

So the Oregon plan - more adventures, more photos, simple as that - is great so far. I have a lot to learn and relearn. But...... Change. Change now is just constant. Not the obvious change of leaving behind 25 years of being a hermit and hiding in my apartment. Not so much the change of moving from the big city to the country. Rather, a few weird changes I keep running into that I now, as an Oregonian, need to integrate on the fly into how I live my life -

  • People drive really slow here. Which they seem fine with. SoCal is the opposite. Everyone there understands driving fast is better in every way and slow drivers just make things difficult. In Oregon it's more "Yes, we all drive slow, together, which unites us as a people". There's no fighting it here. Sometimes I wish patience was a Stoic virtue. It's not, at all. Seems like a small change, but it's hitting me over and over.
  • They close things here in the winter. If there might be snow in a place's future they close it preemptively. Perfectly good roads, campgrounds, attractions, etc, all closed due to something everyone here is expecting, prepared for, and used to. I don't get it. I don't remember this in Montana. Seems like things there (with much worse winters) only closed when they became impassable and obviously life threatening.
  • Leaves. Let me be blunt.... There were no leaves on the ground in San Diego. None. We had trees, they had leaves. But something akin to "a pile of leaves" is not a possibility there unless you shipped them in. After a month and a half here I'm still not used to all the leaves. They are everywhere. I'm enjoying Fall as a season which is new to me. But the ground being made of leaves wherever you go.... not so much. Laugh all you want, it's a big and constant change for me.
  • Food. I could have predicted this. But the shift in culinary perspective between the big city and Eugene is a bigger deal than I thought it would be. And I plead guilty, I'm a food snob, always will be. So maybe this is one of those situations where I should be a good person and just shift my attitude when moving to a new land. Maybe. You know, try to fit in. Maybe. But dear lord the food is lacking here. I know it's not a fair opinion. I lived in North Park. Great international cuisine was everywhere and all within walking distance. Today..... and I am not making this up..... I'm driving to Portland to try and get something to eat.
  • Mold and moss. This wasn't a surprise. In fact all the green moss and such is a huge reason I'm excited to be going on photo adventures here. Green makes for good photos. But "not a surprise" only lasted until I drove up the McKenzie River and noted all the houses/towns basically rotting in place from mold and moss. What's the change here? It's the need to shift my attitude away from thinking of buildings rotting as a tangible sign of the end times for civilization. I need to stop thinking, "dear God how do people live like this?" I don't think that's going to pass here.
  • Rural life. Famously, I love the city. And living in Portland was an option, but it's not as central as I'd like, it's an awful city compared to those in California, and.... I could go on and on..... Portland wasn't really an option. And rural life is another of the main reasons to move here. It's beautiful. I need to photograph it all. But changing to this lifestyle is going to really put me to the test. It's either going to be death by a thousand cuts, or some serious rationalization as a lifestyle. I love the city. I'm going to have to get past that somehow. Big change.
  • Pumping gas. I can be fined up to $500 if I pull into a gas station here and pump my own gas. And since the new lifestyle is focused on road trip adventures, I end up getting a lot of gas. What a weird thing. More than once I've pulled into a gas station, waited for someone to come pump my gas, and ended up just leaving because no one came. Obviously I could get out of the car and roam around trying to find someone who knew a way for the gas station to legally give me some gas. But that seems idiotic when I could have just pumped it myself and been on my way in less time than I've already waited. Often I'll run into an attendant who is obviously having a bad day and seems indignant that I'm somehow too lazy to pump my own gas? I have no idea. Usually it's grand, sometimes it's really really really really not.

None of it matters. Photos were taken, gear was tested, Jon explored some limits. Now I'm off to Portland to try and find a lunch worth paying 2022 prices for.

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