Friday, August 29, 2008

The Grotto

Candles at the Grotto, NE Portland

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Shoe Trees

What's with shoe trees? How do they happen? I didn't even know they existed until this summer, when I saw shoe trees on three separate occasions while driving around Oregon. Roadside America defines them as perhaps "the greatest embodiment of the American Spirit you can find on the highway." I like it. This shoe tree is just outside the town of Shaniko, Ore. If Roadside America is right, the tree began, like all shoe trees begin, "with one dreamer" tossing his shoes into the sky.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Gene and His Funny Farm

I met Gene Carsey, owner of the Fun Farm (aka, The Funny Farm), while working on a piece about wacky places in Oregon. He's the sort of guy that makes my job worth while. The traveling is great, don't get me wrong, but it's always so rushed. Until I meet someone like Gene, who slows me down, cracks me up and puts everything into perspective. I mean, the guy built a giant cow-jumping-over-the-moon. He has a bowling ball garden and a bowling ball tree. He's got a holy cow, an electric kaleidescope and a giant love pond, complete with 9 ft cupid arrows. He used to keep fainting goats, but chose not to replace them after they died because he felt a little odd about folks laughing at their seizures - no matter how funny they were (and supposedly they were funny). He's a member of the Wizard of Oz Club. And he tries not to take life too seriously. I suppose all the crazy things he's built on his land north of Bend are worth seeing. But meeting Gene is an even better reason to stop.