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JJacksonville, Oregon

Jacksonville, Oregon
Pictures by Jaclyn Dierking and Jim Friend

flowers in a field, Jacksonville, Oregon

go to Jacksonville almost every day. I don't need anything there, but at some point during my waking moments, I almost invariably hop into my '79 Scout, crank up the Lost Dogs, and drive the three miles or so from my house and drive through its charming streets, just because the place is awesome. Prachtig. Séduisant. Spellbound.

19th century buildings in Jacksonville

Paint a picture using only grey.
Light your pillow. Lay back. Watch the flames.

Taking its name from nearby Jackson Creek (which incidentally flows through my backyard), essentially the entire town of Jacksonville is a National Historic Landmark, originating from the conspicuous architectural wellspring of the downtown area that accompanied one of the first major West Coast gold rushes of the 1850's, which suckled much of its former sustenance from the aforementioned stream. There are just over 100 fossilized structures in Jacksonville on the National Register of Historic Places, which is good news for me, as so far in my explorations I'd estimate that I've seen probably only about two dozen of them. I'm going there again tomorrow, by the way, if you'd like to accompany me. In the meantime, if you can't, read on, and enjoy the pictures.

I'd tell the story but no one would listen that long...
It's hard to imagine. It's hard to imagine.

old building at the Jacksonville

A good capture of the magic of Jacksonville and its surrounding expanse takes us back to 1942, when a schoolgirl by the name of Laura Gentner found a flower in a field. Thinking it unique, she sent an inquiry to the conservator of a herbarium at the Oregon State College. Designating the lilly as a new species, the curator-in-charge named it after our dear friend Laura, and Fritillaria gentneri entered our ecological lexicon. Without smell, but not needing it, on account of its awesomeness and rarity, the ghostly flower is almost unique to the Jacksonville area. The Nature Conservancy lists it as an endangered species, with an estimated population of only 1,200 plants. On a recent visit to the Jacksonville cemetery, taking an unfamiliar trail on a southern slope, I was blessed enough to see three of these exotic blossoms. Impressionant. Ontzagwekkend. Wow.

Tear into yourself, count days upon your arms.
All those beatings ticking like a bomb

a trio of rare Fritillaria gentneri flowers at the Jacksonville cemetery

scultpure of a prayign boy, Jacksonville cemetery

As mentioned a moment ago, a big attraction of Jacksonville, at least for me and my room mate, and her dogs, is the cemetery. It's right there on the corner of California and Oregon Street, up on the hill. We all head up there about three days a week. Or more often, if we can. Wait a minute… do I sense a hint of recoil, or a modicum of disdain? My nephew Brian buries one or two dead people every workday, for a living. Harvester of Sorrow…and Justice for All. Feast your soul on that. You're next in line, as am I. I will tell you right now that I love cemeteries. So does Jaclyn, and her dogs. Is there anything faux avec cette? Je ne crois pas. Nay, as it is all of us… collectively… our future home. On one of our last tromping voyages there, we found a tombstone from a woman that was born in 1786. For the west coast, from a person of European ancestry, à savoir vraiment ancient. Much like myself, and indeed, yourself, but somehow much less so. For now. One day, someone may gaze at your granite slab, slack-jawed, in exactly the same way. Choose well. Turn your eyes upon Jesus, look full in his wonderful face. And the things of earth will grow strangely dim, in the light of his glory and grace.

The Jacksonville catacombs are a true rarity in the God's-acre-world, a time capsule of the mid-1800's American gold rush. The only equivalent I've ever laid eyes upon is the Roslyn, Washington tombfield, with its numerous and varied sections of religions, nationalities, and affiliations from the eccentric worldly draw of men and women who decided they would give their lives to the quest for gold. Amen. Abruptly. You stare at the thousands of graves in tacit amazement, hopefully with no regrets. Alone in your casket, sunk deep; your bank accounts, friendships, and earthly accolades useless, where will you go?

After having seen all that they saw.
It's hard to imagine. It's hard to imagine

A stroll down the main street of downtown Jacksonville gives you the warm impressions of all the best of a very old American town has to offer, and upon walking through the doorways of any of the stores offered within its midst, you'll find it combines its old school charm with abstractions and rarities for purchase you'd run across only in your favorite big city niche establishments…hard to find goodies that you search on weekends when you finally have the time. Jacksonville Mercantile contains, for example and among other unusual delicacies, Klene Zoute Drops and Venco Dubbelzouts, two exclusively Dutch black licorice oddity confections that would make the average American nearly puke-upon-lip-contact (including myself, even though I'm of 100% Dutch ancestry). Bruto. Beurk. Blech! I haven't seen these thoroughly unpalatable and truly gruesome "candies" since I was in Holland, and before that, in my grandma's kitchen; but awesomely, they somehow find a market in the surrounding area. If Basque cheese is your thing, you can find a wedge of Petite Basque Istara here, when available. Truly amazing stuff. And it goes on and on from there… exotic olive oils galore, $12 tiny bottles of freaky looking mini-artichoke hearts (which currently inhabit my pantry), and $30 micro-tins of caviar (which will remain on their shelf until I can overcome The Guilt).

Sushi mo' yo' thang? Umi Sushi smelts in their forge a shrimp and vegetable tempura that knocked my tongue off. It was laying there on the ground, writhing around, tasting the wood floor. Thai? Notwithstanding its arid moniker, The Thai House Restaurant amalgamates a yellow chicken curry that I immediately scored a 9.5 out of 10. It was a head changer, I felt like I was in a fronton watching jai alai simultaneously gawking at a Miami Vice episode on my old iPhone. And there are a number of other restaurants within 100 feet of all of that of bon repute that I haven't been to yet. 'C Street' Bistro, Bella Union, and the Mustard Seed Cafe, for example. Can't wait. As usual, for a town of this sort, there are also a number of awesome tiny hotels and bed-and-breakfasts you can crash out at, as well multifold antique and specialty shops to visit, old and new.

Things were different then. All is different now.
I tried to explain. Somehow.

I'm hoping someday Pearl Jam will play the Britt. What I'm speaking of is the Britt Festival, a yearly summer music series taking place in an outdoor amphitheater literally a mere few hundred footsteps west of downtown J-ville… Natives wearing turquoise and silver, dirty dogs barking in the distance. It's not too far off to envision. With their blue collar affections/respect and small town roots/ sentimentalities, I could totally (insert Fast Times at Ridgemont High Jeff Spicoli accent here) see it. Combine George (WA), and the Greek (L.A., CA), and a bit of Tokyo horizon, and now you have the Britt Amphitheater… within sight of Jackson Creek, staring out at the grandiose Rogue Valley below, and with Mount McGloughin's uncanny semblance to Mount Fuji on the horizon overlooking it all, nothing lacks. Mount Calais to Mount Everest, down to the river Ganges, oh to follow your mighty past, learning the primitive rights… The warm summer air and clear sky, fading blossoms wafting in the breeze, cemetery within view… ah, all perfect. Shabooh shoobah.

When Michael Kelland John Hutchence died, Eddie Vedder inherited most of his proverbial spirit. He's nearly the only living soul left. When I lived in California, my favorite surf spot was Leucadia. I would foot-in-water and cast-sail halfway between Grandview and Beacons, into a mushy, forsaken break where unless a freak storm in New Zealand a week earlier would push the temperature up to around 10 to 12, my only non-wave-riding consolation was perhaps the visit of the occasion playful chattering dolphin, or the dire thrill of squishing a dinner-plate-sized stingray underfoot as I moved toward the endless horizon, both of which would inspire an prolonged underwater plunge in an attempt for First Contact. Otherwise, I was the most forlorn surfer out there, to be sure, but I could always count on being amongst the waves all by myself on that break on any given weekend, and as a result my soul was satiated probably more than any other within ten klicks. Your backyard. So, duuuude. Help a brother out. I know nothing… grow old, look wise, never knowing 'til I die, but I'll keep listening. I'll keep listening.

The Britt Festival, incidentally, was named after Peter Britt, a hardscrabble man with the austere face of a pioneer frontiersman; who in 1852, with three other Swiss natives that had also left their homes in the old world, challenged the newly forged Oregon Trail for an untried life on the fringes of the new world. Just like me, sort of. Hmmm, btw, lol, omgosh, last year and among others, The Crystal Method, Ben Harper, and Bill Cosby performed at this 19th century's Chuck-Norris-namesake tune palace. So why not? I just found out today that Pink Martini will be playing there on July 16th. BOOM. I will be there. Chloe Dancer and Crown of Thorns, coming to a venue near me. I will be there too. Yes please. So help me God. (Dreams like this must [not] die.)

Things were different then. All is different now.
I tried to explain.
Oh, somehow

a house in Jacksonville

plants in a backyard, Jacksonville

Tomorrow (today)… Jaclyn and her dogs and I made our daily pilgrimage, only to discover that the flowers, on ground and on trees, were blooming with vibrant fervency in the seasons first day of 80 degree heat. The aroma of countless white madrona blooms dominated, blending with the virtually indistinguishable incenses of dozens of species of blossoms that in the meadows and draws, numbered in the thousands, conjuring abstract memories of childhood, and of renewed life. Not encountering another living soul on the trail throughout, for hours and hours, the hum of insects and the chatter of birds, expending their efforts fully in anticipation of evening, flooded our explorations. As the day waned, we found more rarities in the midst of an already extraordinary world. What had been three rare lilies discovered days earlier, became five, and then ten, and then twenty. Incroyable. Ongelooflijk. Sweetskees.

After taking hundreds of pictures of these rare treasures, it came to mind that in just a week or two more, these very unique blossoms will wither and fall to the ground, like the last generation, relinquishing their present mortal state back into dirt. At the very end of our day, and wandering onward, we found a tombstone from another fellow that had been born in 1786. I stared at the granite slab that was the only remainder of him, and of his life. He also once hiked these same fields, enjoying the warmth of day and the flowers of the fields.

After having seen all that they saw…

another Jacksonville house

We drove home in the Scout, and built a fire in our newly constructed and truly magnificent backyard sand lot, using long deceased madrona wood gathered only an hour earlier from just outside the cemetery grounds. After a few beers, and with the animated voice of the crackling fire accompanying our own lively conversations, we cooked a magnificent dinner and both eventually wandered off, satisfied with the day, to our own individual slumbers. Late, late into the night, I went back outside, and stared into the ashes of the fire. Shadows cast by a nearly full moon filtered through the trees. As I looked down into the what remained of the blaze, the rare glowing embers that remained exhaled their last whispers of breath into the endless evening sky.

It's hard to imagine. It's hard to imagine.

_______________________________

Lyrics in italics:
Hard to Imagine, Pearl Jam
Old World New World, INXS

Related Articles:
Driving Along the Oregon Coast; Inland Northwest; The Fruited Plains of Eastern Washington; Spokane, Pullman & The Palouse; Looping the Olypic Peninsula


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"Namibia" Article

Jim,

I spent several school holidays in Windhoek with family friends. Much later I took each of my kids (U.S. born & raised) on separate trips to my native, Cape Town and "Overlanded" through Namibia into the Kaokoveld. I enjoyed your travelogue immensely. Please advise me if you ever publish a collection of your travel experiences. The apple strudel at Helmeringhausen somewhere after Ai Ais was the best ever. Graciously,

Merv Hayman, Sarasota, FL

Hi Merv, thanks for the correspondence, glad you enjoyed the article. It sounds like that country got into your blood, as it has in mine. I'm looking forward to getting back there someday and seeing much more of the place, Namibia has a peculiar allure. Thanks for the complements and I will certainly put you on the list for a travel stories compendium.

Cheers and happy travels!
Jim

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"Bullriding in Texas" Article

Hey Jim,

I love your website. It has shown me that all this time my boyfriend was lying to me about who he was. On his Facebook page he was using the picture of "Thomas Bosma"... Btw great story and pictures.

MaKayla, Rapid City

Hi MaKayla, glad we could be of assistance in busting your prevaricating suitor! Thanks for the complements as well.

All the best, Jim

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"Canadian Arctic " Article

Hey Jim,

Just wanted to say 'Hello'…love your intro/bio Mr. Boitano, fits the call of excitement/steelo of Mr. Friend. Hope to keep correspondence, and hope all your travels keep you busy but safe, Check my Friend...

Mico Gonz, Seattle, WA

Miiii-coooooooooooooooo!!!

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"Jalalabad, Afghanistan" Article

Hello Jim,

Very interesting, I find it very important for me because my BF is there. Hope he is fine...His name is Sgt.Jason Adams...Thank you and God bless...

Leonila, Guiguinto, Bulacan, Philippines

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Cpt. Disi was at Kutschbach with the guys of 2nd platoon. I was in 4th, we were right up the road at FOB Morales Frazier. I don't think I read anywhere about you being at KB but if you were up there in Kapisa province with us you would have loved it. It was 10x better than Jbad. The air there was so full of smog, and you couldn't really see that far out early in the morning when the sun was rising. But its nice to see someone like you who was out on patrols and documenting all the things we did. Great stories. Keep up the good work...

Kevin Myrick, Calhoun, GA

* * *

Love your writing. Have you read Spike Walker's books by now?

Kerry, Wenatchee, WA

* * *

Nice.

Christian Louboutin, New York City

* * *

I do not believe I've seen this described in such an informative way before. You actually have clarified this for me. Thank you!

Janice Randall, Post Falls, ID

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I like the style you took with this topic. It isn't every day that you just discover a subject so to the point and enlightening.

Charles David, St. Anne, Manitoba

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Hey Jim! LT Singh just checking your site.. looks great… very slow internet here.. will be home in 2 weeks.

Alvin Singh , New York

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Your blog keeps getting better and better! Your older articles are not as good as newer ones. You have a lot more creativity and originality now. Keep it up! And according to this article, I totally agree with your opinion, but only this time! :) .

Arthur Cox, Next to Paris

* * *

Jim. Take it all in, smother your senses with the culture and people. Watch your top notch and have a once in a lifetime experience. Miss you.

Jeff and Andrea, Los Angeles, CA

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Fascinating photos Jim! Singly they are all fodder for short stories; together they really capture an out-of-body trip! Enjoyed mine, thank you! I'm curious what those compounds contain...mostly businesses? residences? Love that the T-Boy card is making it's way around the globe!

Wendy, Los Angeles, CA

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These are outstanding photos. You capture scenes that I've never seen in the "mainstream media." Haunting images that make me think that there is danger around every corner.

Al Burt, Friday Harbor, WA

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Enjoyed your article immensely! Your title is fun and so is learning about bin Laden skipping out without paying the rent - what a loser! It's great you could meet with Mr. Jouvenal, hear the stories and see the guns. Give our highest regards to T.G. Taylor and the other military personnel serving in Afghanistan. Courage to you all!

Steve, Renton, WA

* * *

Jim, I enjoyed this fascinating article. It reminded me of how sublimely surreal life is. Also, I would like to thank you for your courage, and to express gratitude towards your bringing this piece of the world, with its foreign realities, to my doorstep. I look forward to reading more from you.

Sandra, Seattle, WA

* * *

This is outstanding reporting, Jimmy F! Fascinating stuff. You've taken on a dangerous, important assignment in Afghanistan, and we readers appreciate your work with the military and your unique observations. I look forward to your next post. In fact, I'm going to go through the archives to see your entire body of work on TravelingBoy.

Terry, Los Angeles, CA

* * *

I really enjoyed my entry into Kabul with you and the visit with Peter Jouvenal... look forward to more of that adventure.

Brenda, Richland, WA

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Great story, Jim, a story really "as current as yesterday's news." Now there's a real TravelingBoy!

Eric, San Diego, CA

* * *

Jim you have probably revealed more about Bin Laden than anyone...his rage on the world has to be linked to his limp handshake. Be careful over there!

Janet, Caldwell, ID

Thanks Janet! I get the distinct impression that his handshake isn't the end story to all that's limp with bin Laden's physiology!

Jim

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What a fantastic piece. You're a modern-day Hemingway. Your writing is compelling and fascinating. I look forward to much more of this great adventure.

Roger, Puyallup, WA

Wow, Roger, what an awesome set of complements. Thanks a lot. My first journal entry of 2010 was: "The stories will tell themselves. I just need to show up." So far, so good! Thanks again!

Jim

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Jim, first time reading your stuff. Very cool. I hope to read about our units and life in eastern Afghanistan very soon since you will be coming to our area as an embed. BTW, I'm the PAO here in Jalalabad and will be coordinating your visit with CPT Disi.

T.G. Taylor, US Army, Jalalabad, Afghanistan

* * *

Hello T.G.!

I saw your email address included on a couple of correspondences, and I cannot wait to spend some time with you, and even yet more of our honorable fighting forces over there in that bleak neck of the woods in Afghanistan in January, including CPT Disi. This is truly a trip of a lifetime for me, and I'm completely looking forward to absorbing the experiences there and recording the sufferings and sacrifices of so many of those of you who continue to strain and press to make Our Country Great, those of you who daily labor to assist those in other countries whose lives had once withered under the burden of tyrants, and whose hopes can now flicker again with the help of those like yourself. Thanks so much for putting it all out there for us every day. My fervent hope is to honorably document the expenditures of each of your individual lives in the midst of this conflict, those of you who "anonymously" struggle daily to make what We Hold As Good prevail in what, at times, is a dark and wicked world.

Thanks so much, man. Great to hear from you... See you soon!

Jim

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Sad to say, this is the first time I've read one of your articles Jim. What have I been missing!? Thanks for the funny, informative, and just plain awesome read! Take care and have a great Turkey day!

Jeff, Pasco, WA

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Jim, I just loving reading your blogs. As I've dreamt about going to Costa Rica for at least 20 years, this was a very insightful and fun read for me. You always make me laugh.

Deborah - Burbank, CA

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Wow, what a HILARIOUS guy!!!!! I really really enjoyed the article. The Village Artist is my 'uncle Boyd" as I call him. He is closing his shop next year. That made my day and thank you for letting me know of this on the world's BEST travel information source.

Sandy - Sitka, Alaska

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Hi Sandy!

Comments like those that you wrote make all the hassles and travails of writing resoundingly worthwhile, thank you! I am so sorry to hear that Boyd is closing his shop! The Alaskan State legislature should immediately intervene to make his shop an Alaskan cultural heritage site of some variety (not kidding). Meanwhile, from the sound of the conversation Boyd and I had, it's the federal government that's confused and harassed the poor guy with inconsistent and random applications of federal law to the point where it's probably not worth it anymore. I hope that's not the case, but I wouldn't be surprised. Whatever the reason, I am really sorry to hear that he's closing shop. I'm privileged to have seen it... once in a lifetime. Thanks again for reading and thanks a lot for your comments!

Jim

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Hi Jim,

Now I know what you were doing on the Alaska cruise when I wasn't around. Besides playing cribbage. I'm glad that you, a younger, more slender and fit person, also saw the value in cruising. I didn't come back with a tan, but I did lose 3 pounds while sleeping every night and eating every meal but one. Jade and I are looking forward to three weeks exploring Mediterranean ports in May. We put down our deposit for it on our last night on board and have starting our training. Sleeping in the same wonderful bed every night makes such a break-neck pace completely possible for a grandma like me. I'm looking forward to reading your Afghanistan piece WHEN you have returned.

Janice - Seattle

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Hi Janice!

Yes that was a blast! I would do all of that again any day of the week. Have fun on your Mediterranean cruise, that sounds like great fun!

Jim

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Love your expeditions. Keep writing.

Karen Cummings - Yakima, WA

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Jim can't tell you how much I am enjoying your writing. One other commenter mentioned you are living the life we all dream of, ain't that the truth. As far as looking for a place to live that will challenge you to be able to make a real living and supplying a steady flow of women looking for the bbd (bigger better deal) then you should try the Yakima Valley here in Washington State (inside joke). Look forward to reading more from you.

Huston Turcott (hooter) - Yakima, WA

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Awesome!!! I love Japan!

Maja - Chur, Switzerland

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Jimmy my love,

I totally thought you were kidding when you told me you went bullriding. OH MY GOSH you actually did it. (SIGH) Am I going to have to smack you around a bit?? heheheheee Seriously, come see us!

Leah, Richland, WA

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Jim,

Rock on Friend! Living it up... inspiring us all to do the same!

Celeste, Seattle


Jim,

Are you for real? You're living the life many people only dream about. You're obviously not yet married. What wife would allow her husband to do all the crazy things you do? This Virginia skydiving adventure is probably the scariest yet. Your writing style helps bring the exhilaration out. Great photos too. Loved the caption about you striking that "gangsta rap" pose. Come to think of it, why do we do that in front of the camera?

Thanks also for the tips. $250 for a few minutes with nothing between you and mother earth is a bit costly but I guess if you have a death wish, this is definitely the way to go.

You mentioned that 25 people a year lose their lives doing this. With my luck I will be among that number if and when I decide to do this.

Enjoyed it very much. Can't wait for your next adventure.

Peter Paul of South Pasadena, CA

Jeem!

Found ur Glacier trek (I will Destroy You Glacier Peak) to be serious kick ass. To be honest, I’m such a lightweight, I’ve never been more than a day tripper. When u really get out there on one of those long solo treks, and the water runs short … can u drink from local streams? I’ve heard that pollution is so bad that even places untouched by man are now off-limits.

VitoZee

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Howdy VitoZee,

Great to hear from you and thanks for the complement and question. That is a seriously cool name, by the way: VitoZee. Just from the phonetics of it, I get the impression that you might be a very friendly and mild-mannered hitman working out of North Jersey. Really cool.

As for your drinking water from streams question, there are a lot of answers for it. The simple answer is that, no, you can almost never implicitly trust stream water sources, unless they are flowing straight out of the ground (via an aquafer or spring) bubbling up right there in front of you. That's your best bet, but you rarely see that in the wild unless you're looking for it, and even so, I have actually gotten sick from drinking spring water straight from the source at Panther Springs on Mount Shasta. You never know what you're going to get drinking untreated water from the wilds.

Most of the time the pollution you'll be dealing with out in the wilderness is not man-made, it usually comes from bacteria and parasites that inhabit the bodies of wilderness animals. For example, on this Glacier Peak trip, I drank from a stream I was confident was trustworthy. In the immediate vicinity were living quite a few marmots. A number of days after I got home I fell ill, and had to wonder if I hadn't picked up something from the water I drank, as there was not much of any other explanation for my symptoms. I knew a trip to the doctor would probably result in them sending me back home with a plastic cup that was required to be filled with my own poo, which would need to be delivered back to the lab steaming hot so they could figure out exactly what kind of bacteria or parasite they were dealing with. (Not a joke, remember Panther Springs?) After this diagnosis, I would then have to go back to the doctor and get a prescription, but by then, my body would have probably fought off the tiny invaders completely on its own. Not worth the trouble, and all of this would certainly = Jim minus $280. So I suffered it out, and whatever happened to be bothering me left my system in about 7 days or so. Yuck. No fun.

Anyway, I don't recommend drinking straight from the streams of the wild, but in a pinch, I do it everytime, unless I see a bear or a moose straight upstream from me pooping in the river, which has only happened about ten times. (Or zero times.) Anyway, sometimes I get sick, sometimes I don't. If I'm exhausted and thirsty, to heck with it, I'm drinking it.

All this notwithstanding, or withstanding, or notwithoutstanding, whatever, they just recently invented the coolest thing in the world though, so you might want to check it out. Previously, for treating your water in the wild, you'd always have to put a pellet of iodine or a congregate of other evil ingredients into your jug of stream water and let it sit there for an hour before you drink it while the chemical cocktail thoroughly treats your water. That is ridonkulous because when you're hiking and thirsty, you aren't going to wait a full hour for that pill to dissolve and work properly, you are going to guzzle. Anyway, they just invented this magic wand of sorts that you can find at any decent backpacking or outdoors store. You turn it on and dip it in your stream filled water jug, and the ultraviolet light it produces irradiates everything to death on the spot, after about 30 seconds or so. Kind of like my pinky finger, which I keep forgetting to treat my stream water with, because I'm always so dang thirsty.

Jim

Keep it comin' Jim. Sounds awesome.

Matt Langley, Duvall, WA

Hey Jim,

Enjoyed your Victoria article. It was an intersting slant on a city that is generally just promoted as a destination for tea rooms, gardens and double-decker buses. Now let's get serious ... are the Canadian women there really that attractive, good-natured and open-minded? Maybe I won't get married either and just move up there. It sure sounds refreshing after having to deal with the smugness of all those LA starlets, trying to make it in Hollywood.

Gary, Santa Monica

* * *

Gary,

Thanks so much for the communique. I can honestly tell you that there was little exagerration involved in my description of the girls there in Victoria. God, in his infinite wisdom, has thankfully granted American mankind a few other places than the great old U.S. of A. to relieve our hearts of the burden of the eternally-self-absorbed, career-tracked, Bill-Gates-as-a-husband seeking beastly variety of female. I know, after living here in the States forever (especially in Seattle), how it is. I was recently researching a trip to Columbia, and heard the same news implicitly spoken about the women there, they are apparently of the same caliber of those that live in British Columbia. I invite you, before relocating, to take a trip up to Victoria, to see for yourself. I'll never forget it.

And my brotha', if you think you have it bad in the Los Angeles area (I lived there for six years), try Seattle (where I have lived for the last laborious three). Seattle seems to be crammed with nothing other than Ice Princesses, who live their lives completely within the confines of darkened cerebral domains, mental attentions locked firmly onto the goal of marrying the next Bill Gates, hoping to live in one of those big houses smooshed up against Lake Washington, hearts available only to the ultimate goal, the dream of all dreams ... being on Oprah someday...absorbing the jealous attentions of the millions of suburbanite women watching, all hoping to sit right there across from Ms. Winfrey someday, too, while regaling her with the tales of the good life, closets full of the savvy and smarmy garb purloined at Nordstrom's, their husband a virtual "Prince Charming," their family-owned barnacle encrusted yacht anchored firmly in some northern fjord. Oprah smiles back approvingly amidst a cacophony of applause, screen fades to commercials, all conduits nourishing The Beast.

You're my kind of guy, Gary. Hang in there, amigo. I look forward to meeting your smokin' hot wife someday.

Jim

Stay tuned.


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