Memories Of Youthful Travels Part 8
"It's never this bad," J.C., Matt, Jeremy, and Sasha exclaimed in unison one evening after a terrible downtown drenching. In fact, it can be so bad that the runaways and junkies, exasperated by another long wet season, turn to heroin and other opiates in their quest to escape, to "return to the womb." Yeah, that's the smartest move we've heard so far: "It's so gray and rainy here, I'll just shoot some smack and spiral deeper in depression." DUH!
After eight days of escalating lethargy, it had become too much. We'd had enough of the catcalls begging us for some "spare change for dog food," enough of the $2.00 coffees, enough of the classifieds announcing "Bagel" and "Espresso" job categories, and enough of the dead - end job leads. Hopping the ferry, we waved goodbye to the smoke - free cafés, the phallic Space Needle, and historic Underground Seattle - the old city buried under three stories of asphalt and sawdust. We crossed Puget Sound and headed for the Olympic Peninsula and the coast.
Going to Olympic National Park was like driving through a foreign country. Tree farms stretched from horizon to horizon, interspersed with hectares of clearcut land, slowly eroding. This is the land America has forgotten. Stretching from Northwest Washington to Humboldt County in Northern California are the last vestiges of Old Growth Forest, filled with gigantic trees hundreds of years old; trees older than America itself. Despite the fact that tree farms churn out enough lumber to supply America's demand, despite the fact that fewer than ten percent of Old Growth Forests remain, many Republicans in Congress want to dismantle environmental protection and promote the wholesale destruction of the remaining virgin land. It reminded me of the right wing propaganda we spotted way back in Pittsburgh: a bumper sticker proclaiming pro - life murderers "Paul Hill and John Salvi: Martyrs & Heroes" next to one extolling the virtues of: "Earth First: We'll Mine the Other Planets Later." This twisted self righteous logic is going to destroy the planet, and bring about the cultural apocalypse the right wing wants to see as their self - fulfilling prophetic Judgement Day. With this knowledge in mind, we set out to see, perhaps for the first and last time, the wonderous Ho Rain Forest - the only temperate rain forest remaining in North America.
Over the next few days, we explored the craggy Washington coastline (here we observed state beach signs defaced with "OJ's Free! At last justice prevails against white America." Funny, I thought the justice of equality was nearly complete after the civil rights acts of the 1960s, not after a rich black man was acquited of murder due to a degree of doubt. OJ, like the rest of the super rich, can afford to buy his "innocence."), Mount Saint Helens, and Southern Washington. Pushing through most of Oregon, we found ourselves camped out on a farm in Cave Junction, a little logging town caught up in the latest environmental controversies. Sara, an old granola - eating, commune - living, dope - smoking high school pal, was the farm's caretaker. She put us up in her hayloft apartment - cows downstairs and a big field out back to use for a toilet. Cats offered us a selection of freshly caught critters nightly.