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Diamond Lake, Oregon

I don’t remember when I began to obsess about my hair so much. It’s a fascination now and one of my most prized possessions, though probably not deservingly. It’s generally protected, at least. I try to take care of it and have pampered it for over a year by having it cut a lengthy drive away by one of the better stylists around Kansas City. I was in a lassaiz faire mood today, though, and I paid the price. Today I got a terrible haircut.

I rolled into a certain town on the coast of Oregon, one of the larger ones so I was sure they’d have a good stylist. I passed all the “family haircuts” businesses, looking for something with a little more class. Aha, “A Touch of Class Salon.” Turns out, a “touch” is not their way of being modest. In fact, if it is accurate at all, it’s extremely blown out of proportion. I walked in and asked if anyone would be able to get me in for a haircut today. They could, immediately.

It has never been my experience to get a bad haircut; I wasn’t aware of what signs I should look for — what characteristics signal a bad haircut. Well I learned today. The first indication was the look of the establishment and the woman who would be cutting my hair. The place was not well-kept, had old machines, small stations, no customers. The lady had tattoos, no makeup, bad hair — no sign of any extra effort to look good. The second sign was the look on her face when I described what I wanted done. It seemed she was vaguely unaware of the techniques I mentioned, let alone the actual instruments to see them through. It turned out that she did have the equipment, but (sign number three) they were terribly cheap, small, dull and clumsy. It made me realize — and appreciate — why Mike, my usual stylist, uses a pair of thousand dollar shears. Another clue, a big one, is when the customer has to give advice, clues, and tips for completing the hair cut — techniques that should have been learned in her “hair technology” course. (There was a point when she shaved one sideburn off — I had to remind her to use the #1 clip — and she nearly forgot to do the other one.)

I won’t linger — it was just a bad experience. Only a few minutes into the cut I realized that I just wanted it to be over, in a state that could be rescued. I wanted her to stop cutting and leave it long. I knew I’d have to track down someone else, a proper establishment, to resurrect my hair either immediately or at least within a few days. I was sure of it, and I think she could sense it, could see it in my eyes, and I think that made her job all the more difficult, knowing the little and waning faith I had in her. In the end, after I put a little gel in it and did it up, it was not so bad, bearable. Extremely bearable. Which may be a shame actually, since I was certain I was going to go somewhere else for a second try and so didn’t draw her attention to little things she could fix, and now I’m rather stuck with them.

Okay, let’s move on. The cut isn’t terrible and I’ll live.

Otherwise, I had a remarkable day and a fascinating drive down Oregon’s coast. I wasn’t really taken by the Pacific Ocean, though it is very different than the Atlantic, the one I know best. The waves here are definitely larger, more rigid, and more incessant, drawing attention to the misnomer of the ocean itself. Why did they call it the Pacific? It is an intentional misnomer like that of Greenland? At any rate, I wasn’t captivated and only took a few occasions to pull over at the scenic lookouts.

Here are my stops along the coast:

Cannon Beach Home of the 235-foot high Haystack Rock and marine garden, and also one of the sites where the movie “The Goonies” was filmed. I wish I had known more specifics about the relationship since “Goonies” is one of the few cult-classic films of my generation.

Devil’s Punchbowl A very appropriate name, its a huge crater carved out by waves that sneak their way in through a tiny opening in the bottom — it’s most definitely a bowl!

Cape Foulweather Named by Captain James Cook when he landed amid 100 mph winds, not all that uncommon along the Oregon Coast. From the lookout here, I could see very clearly a lighthouse six miles away, and an island out in the middle of the ocean that was apparently a mile away, though I could swear I could walk/swim to each. A lovely, clear day.

Cape Perpetua My travel materials say this is the one stop that is most required and most deserving of my time. So I stopped and drove the two mile twisty road to the very peak where, on a clear day, it’s said you can see 150 miles. Today wasn’t so clear that far, but the views were still amazing.

I turned inland at around 4:30, sooner along the coast than I had planned, because I was worried I would not make it to Crater Lake as scheduled. The campground there was given 5-stars by my campground book and that’s saying something. And so I drove and drove, through the Umpqua National Forest, and soon realized there was no way I could make it. In fact, I could. I’m staying only 15 miles or so from the lake’s campground, but I’m probably at the most perfect campsite of my trip so far, so I’m not complaining.

I drove until well after dark, admiring the colorful sunset in my side-view mirror, silhouettes of thin evergreens superimposed atop a bright orange, then pink, then blue sunset. I arrived at Diamond Lake around 10 p.m., later than I had ever hoped, but with enough light to reflect a little bit of blue off the lake, making a wonderful setting for pitching my tent. I can’t believe I have a lakeside site, with no reservations, getting here this late, feeling this discouraged.

But I’m in good shape for tackling tomorrow. I’m only a few miles from Crater Lake National Park and I’ll spend the first half of my day there before moving on towards Northern California.

If it seems I’ve rushed this journal, and I most certainly have, giving very little thought to it (and that further discourages me, because I was really prepared to write it today), it’s because I’m anxious to take a shower and get to bed. The shower is desperately needed, even without considering the haircut that probably left hundred of little hairs all over. The lesson I’m relearning today is the great benefit of stopping early, giving myself ample time for my nightly routine, especially journaling.

Because! I had seriously wanted to write about the film cartridge I found — 36 exposures long, all shot up — and the voyeuristic implications that developing it would have (will have!). Its an ISO 50 film, so I have a feeling the photographer probably knew what he was doing (I only say “he” because a she probably would not have lost the film). I also wanted to write about the deluge of espresso vendors all along the Oregon coast. It must be a fad, on its way out, I think, but very very strong since every store of every kind sells and advertises their affinity for espresso.

But I couldn’t get to either of those things today. So lesson learned.

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