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Tag: Eugene

We Trashed-Out

This is a long-form response to this discussion on Metafilter (since I don’t want to sign in to yet another website this AM)

At 5:30AM August 22nd 2007, after a couple weeks of selling and giving away our stuff, and loading a trailer over the past two days we thought that it would take us about 2 hours to finish getting rid of the stuff in our house.  Over the next 6 hours we would struggle to get the last remains of our lives out of the town house we had lived in the entire time we live in the United States.  Hopelessly in debt and under the schedule gun, we had left the house empty but dirty.  We had filled entire dumpster with what we couldn’t give away along with the area around it (with beds and furniture) and a trailer incorrectly filled with the most precious things we could bring with us.  We had sweated through the last remaining bits of our home and still had several hundred miles of driving ahead of us, after my last “day” at the office.

When we did the same in Canada march 1st 2002, we had used the 14 foot long truck from U-Haul and had still left most of our furniture behind to be taken by a nice polish family, along with several computers, a whole kitchen and a whole hall closet full of “stuff”.  When we finally arrived in the United States, we had only what we could carry in our luggage with us.  It had taken us 8 hours to clean out our house and the friend I had promised to pay for coming to help us showed up after 7 of them.  We had needed his help badly and he expected to be paid the full amount for his minimal work.  I was too tired to disagree and he happily took his money after doing almost nothing. He was unemployed at the time, having lost his job in the same downsize that had taken my entire office out.

When we moved into the Apartment we would eventually leave in 2002, we had the contents of one room.  It was all we had in the world.  Enough “stuff” to fill one room.  My old roommate cleaned out the bits we had left behind and gave it to me in March of 1998.  We sat in a restaurant and shared the last meal we ever would, I haven’t seen that roommate again, and neither have most of the people we both knew.  In this case, Jen and I trashed out a friendship.

When I left my first apartment in 1996, I left behind all of the goods that my parent’s had gifted to me to make apartment life better, my desk, my furniture, cutlery, a vacuum cleaner, dishes, a microwave and random things.  All left, all listed with prices and resale vales to cover a bill my old landlord had given me for a backed up toilet.  80 dollars.  The landlord had rejected the notion that I be allowed to have Jen stay overnight or on the weekends, she was living with me, but the landlord had wanted her to pay rent while sleeping in my one room.  She moved into her own place, but visited frequently, the landlord felt she was over enough to pay rent (how many times have you heard that line from a parent) and so he actually called the police over it.  The police asked me if I wanted to charge the landlord with harassment and urged me to move.  I moved.

When we move on, we leave some of our stuff behind, its inevitable.  We live anywhere long enough and we leave an indellible mark, beyond the stains, on a place.  That townhome in Eugene might not have the pencil marks on the underside of the counters anymore, but it probably still feels like a home that as loved.  When I leave the condo i live in now, it will probably feel like leaving home again.  Sometimes a trash-out is the only way to say goodbye to home.

On Vox: Extended Trip Report and Sage Advice

First some advice

A Boss leads by fear, intimidation and reward.  A Leader just has to ask their team to follow their example.

So, I don’t think I’ve committed to paper(?) the whole trip from the US to Canada, at least not all at once.

On Wednesday the 22nd we unloaded the house for six hours and pretty much filled a whole dumpster and overflowed into the common area around it.  We left a 27 inch tv, a 13 inch TV, Beds, mattresses and a 19 CRT behind for our neighbors.  We also gave away over 200 dollars worth of furniture, clothes and toys.  When we were done, we just left the dirty and empty house behind.  We also left behind my phone, which sucks.

I drove out to the office, which was hairy as we were pulling the contents of our house behind us for the first time.  The whole thing seemed to be crazy to me as we drove to Symantec for what would be the last time.  I went to the office, worked for a bit, finished up with my email and said goodbye with a goodbye letter to my team mates.

We left at around 3:30.

We drove into Springfield and got lost right away, finding ourselves in a town called jasper and relying on GPS to get us back on track.

Once we were back on the freeway we found our way to US 20 and got into the drive for real.

What can I say about that first leg to Bend but that the Western portion of US 20 towards Bend was amazing, green and warm and picturesque.  The best leg of the trip by far. We drove by the three sisters and over volcano fields.  It was amazing, I was very glad we had taken this off the freeway route to start the trip. At least, I was glad until the sun set.

After sunset, and in the middle of the desert I openly bemoaned my choice to drive so far from the beaten path.  I lamented every single mile from Brothers to Burns as it seemed the impenetrable night was simply getting deeper and more remote.

When we finally hit Burns I was so happy to see it I nearly whooped with Joy.  We stopped at the Best Western and after a nice dinner I slept the sleep of the dead.  A good end to a long day.

When we woke up the next day we found out that we were simply in the biggest oasis of a massive desert plain and that we would be facing a long trip into Idaho and eventually Utah.

I felt positive that we could make it to Utah that day, driving at 45 miles an hour the whole way.

The Oregon desert plains were amazing and wide, we passed sights that would continue for days and days, like dusty hills and scrub trees.  We followed the twisty US 20 through the middle of Oregon and into Idaho where we joined I84 to Utah.  This leg of the trip was the LONGEST and WORST part of the trip.

I will relate it to you like this;  Idahoans drive like maniacs, Idaho is full of onion peels and we had to drive through an open and spraying sewer at one point.  All of this paled to our discovery that graded roads made the trailer wiggle like it was fishtailing.  We discovered this on the downside of a mountain in the dark at 60 miles an hour.  We made a vocal pact that we would never again drive so long in one day and never again in the dark.

We slept in a suite at the Best Western in Ogden Utah (home of Maryane Peasley and Rosanne Barr)  and drove out through the intermidable constuction towards Wyoming.

We made our first “Sight Seeing” stop in Utah to take a picture of the massive cliffs that surrounded the roads as we left the valley Ogden was nestled in.

As we entered Wyoming we passed through a massive construction effort and many fireworks stands.  As the rode snaked through Wyoming and along the green river we passed a few towns before we stopped in Rock Springs for a rest and supplies (at Walmart)

We backed up the road as we drove through the single-lane roads of Wyoming (due to construction) and after what seemed like forever, we reached Cheyenne.  The last 20 minutes of the day were hairy as the the car came down off the massive hills and just did not seem to pickup speed.  I took my foot off the brake and we coasted down the hill at 45 miles and hour.  I actually had to hit the accelerator on the downhill slope.

We slept soundly in the hotel that night, but I have to say that the experience soured me on Best Westerns as the hotel was massive, but poorly appointed.  It was like a sprawling Motel and not a hotel at all.  We arranged to stay in a Comfort Inn the next night.

The Next Day we drove to Lincoln Nebraska.  There is very little I can say about the drive other than that it was a great deal of up and down over hills and that Nebraska is the best Midwestern state in our opinion, if only because of the great people in the service industry and the cheap and clean hotels you can stay in there.  The local radio was also excellent!

We drove through to Illinois and slept there, I think I have covered that before so I will eschew a long note here.  I will state that the last days were somewhat of a blur as we reconnected with US 20 (briefly) and came face-to-face with the unending Urbanization that is the Atlanta-Chicago axis of the country.

We passed flint Michigan, which I was excited to see.

After a brief stop at the border we made our way north to Highway 21 and to home.

All in all, the Car made it through it’s first ever long trip with only one hitch (the lighter socket died) and we were very happy to make the trip in one piece.

I think we would do it again, minus the trailer; with little hesitation. Personally I have to say that the whole trip was fairly amazing and I’d love to do it again at a leisurely pace and really stop and take pictures and simply enjoy the trip.  My family were in good spirits up to the last day when Jen started to tire of it and that made the whole trip great, everyone tried to stay positive and make it work.  This is really all one can ask of their family when something so stressful is going on.

Originally posted on

The Dance of Death that is the Eugene Downtown Bus Station

I lived for a number of years in Toronto, and from 1997-2002 I rode the busses and subways there pretty much exclusively, having given my car to my Sister as a wedding present.

The Bus stations in Toronto are laid out so that you never have to cross in front of a bus in order to reach it. Unless you take stupid risks on your own decision. This is not so in Eugene. You HAVE to cross in front of busses to get almost anywhere in the Eugene station, which is almost a guarantee that you will have to seriously watch out for one of the road behemoths as you cross the station. Add to this the fact that you have to cross from between the busses and you get the idea that the makers of this system didn’t design it with the riders in mind. Silly Hippies.