In Oregon…even our commutes are awesome.

Ok…so I know I haven’t blogged in a while but cut me some slack. I’ve been working!

Yes that’s correct, I’m back to the real world. A few weeks ago I was offered a position with a company in McMinnville, which is just on the edge of what I considered to be a reasonable commute. This past monday I started the job as well as the long drive of about 45 minutes each way.

I was thinking about all of my commutes over the past 20 years and I laughed. What an absolute nightmarish joke they were. If you live in Texas and you have a commute…don’t fool sucks. There’s nothing worse than getting on one of the straight flat freeways at 75 MPH and white knuckling the shit out of the steering wheel hoping “today isn’t the day I die”. If you don’t have a commute like that in Texas – congratulations; However, the most exciting part of YOUR commute is the new shopping center with the Taco Bell and Starbucks flanked strip mall. Don’t lie…you know that’s true.  And traffic? forget about it.

The first day commute is always stressful because you’re not comfortable with the route. I got up at a reasonable time to NOT put me at the office before anyone arrives, but to take my time and pay attention to traffic flow, turns, and the surroundings.

What I found was similar to the way I’ve been living for the past few months – rubbernecking. I couldn’t stop looking around…even though I’ve driven the road a few times already. The light here is crazy different minute to minute. The scenery you just saw in the flat cloudy light becomes much deeper and colorful when the sun breaks through. The field depths, the foliage, and the vines seem to reach out and grab you.

Of course by “vines” I mean grapevines…and by “grapevines” I mean WINE! My commute takes me through the heart of wine country, so the road (2 lane country highway) is flanked on either side by wineries. So you can imagine in the morning light how beautiful the wineries are against the rolling hills.

In the evening I’m headed back towards Portland which means more views! Where there aren’t wineries there are hazelnut and walnut orchards for acres…and fruit/vegetable/honey stands. Everywhere you see an orchard, there are bee hives. So those stands sell their goods on the side of the road, only a few feet from where it was actually produced (reminds me of Pennsylvania).

Right now we have some amazing strawberries so I decided I had to stop at one of these stands. I wandered their shelves picking out salted roasted hazelnuts (which were processed and roasted in the room a few feet away), walnuts, and blueberry flower honey. The prices were more reasonable than anywhere we’ve ever been (including anywhere in TX) and the quality was second to none (as you can imagine). I’ve never tasted such a strong flavor of walnuts…amazing.

As I’m walking to my car with the haul I look up over the hazelnut trees…and there’s mount Hood! Snow capped still – wispy clouds surrounding the summit, I stood and smiled(on a good day I can see multiple snow capped mountains). As I smiled I got a little teary. Trying to appreciate everything that we have worked so hard for over the last few years. I stood and took it all in…the occasional smell of strawberries….interrupted rudely by the douglas fir trees across the street.

This morning I started down the same commute I’ve had all week…and several hot air balloons were floating slowly over some of the wineries. I laughed because I didn’t think a commute this long could ever be THIS enjoyable.

I had serious concerns that when I started my job, I would stop appreciating Oregon. What I’ve found is that even in the mundane…there are things to be appreciated. I can honestly say I never thought I would sit at a stop sign in a small sleepy town in Oregon while coming home from a long day at work and say to myself “this is awesome”.



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