Trip Start Jun 02, 2013
Trip End Aug 30, 2013

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Flag of United States  , Oregon
Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Damn, I wish I had concentrated more in Geography lessons and not spent each hour looking out the window at the school playing field of the girls school next door.

The Columbia River is an east west river cut in to a deep wide gorge across the very top of Oregon and is lined with vineyards (wineries) on the southern (Oregon) and northern (Washington) banks.

Hundreds of vineyards are dotted about in the few miles north and south of this river.

Headed South today to be closer to Eugene for my flight home for the Queen to meet me and 5 miles from this great and cultivated land, I am back in the desert. Although not quite. Huge rolling hills cultivated to wheat and a great scale. 

How can it change so quickly?

They talk of the high desert of Oregon, but I am only at 800 feet altitude.

Is this the state in the US with the most variety of climate, agriculture, geography and meteorology?

Further south and more fruit and varied crops abound with some fantastic smells. 

Changing the subject. You guys are confused by roundabouts but how on earth do you deal with 4 way stop junctions?

I have found the best way is to run them at about 30mph, don't slow down and don't give way to anything. Everyone seems to be so confused at them that if you take this positive approach everyone assumes you are in the right. It is working so far.

If we had them in the UK people would die at them out of politeness. "After you" "no please, after you" " but you were here first so surely you should go first?" "But you are old and polite, so please you go first" this could go on for years until someone died of old age.

Despite me moaning about the service in restaurants being actually too good, I have spent a few evenings just watching the logistics of how a busy place works. You have to hand it to the Mercans, they do know how to do service and actually mean it. Alright it's too fast but if you actually explain that one would like to take one's time they are great.

Nothing is a problem. You want to change table half way through dinner to get a better view of the sunset, please go ahead. You want salad with that with no fries, of course sir.

No huffing and puffing that you get in the UK?

When they ask "Is everything OK with your meal", they stop and stand by your table and mean it. In the UK they time it so your have a mouth full of food and then jog passed at 30mph and mumble the same question. By the time you have eaten the mouthful and plucked up the courage to say "well actually the steak is a bit tough" she is at the other end of the room and is practising her university degree in avoiding eye contact.

There is no denying the service is great here.
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