Riding the country roads in the lush agricultural expanse of the Willamette Valley offers many charming views for the cyclist. Great fields of wheat line the roadsides and a plethora of blueberry, cherry, peach, hazelnut, and pear orchards appear around almost every corner. Vineyards abound. There are rivers and streams galore and impressive sights of the Cascade Mountains and their looming volcanos.
But these are all views I expect to see as I ride from one end of the valley to the other. Occasionally, I encounter something unusual, something less charming and more puzzling as I pedal here and there.
Take, for example, this motorcycle mounted on a building in the central part of the valley.I suppose it could have been put up there as an advertisement for a bike repair shop, but there does not appear to be a business in the building or anywhere else for miles, nor has there been in the eleven years I’ve been riding past the place. So, I wonder, why did the owner put it there?
Spying ancient farm equipment is a common sight. But some of the gear is strange to behold, such as these old plowing discs rusting near a dilapidated barn.
However, what I find most unusual are the occasional public proclamations made by residents to whomever passes by. Most announce the landowner’s religious faith in a highly visible way. But some offer a less spiritual message.
Here’s a straightforward declaration to all government workers to steer clear of this person’s property. I can only imagine the grievance the property owner felt to compel him or her to put up such a sign along the road.
That individual, though, does not hold a candle to the apparent anger boiling inside the owners of this house. It’s one thing to paint and display an anti-government sign on the edge of your property. It’s something else entirely to paint your house explicitly to decry lawyers and judges while “publishing” your “Fuck List” of professions on your garage doors. Perhaps starting a spite-filled blog would have been more effective and done less damage to property values.
Most of these visual oddbits revealed themselves to me because I was on a bicycle and not whizzing by in a car too fast to notice. They may not make for a pretty ride. But they do make for an interesting one.
Copyright 2011 Mark Everett Hall