Monday, June 8, 2009

Oregon and Highway Signs

We've been traveling the backroads of Oregon for the past few days, and have a few questions for folks who live here on a regular basis.

We note there are many high schools in Oregon. In most states, one simply assumes the schools are there, incongruously and, for the passerby, anonymously educating youngsters. In Oregon, by contrast, there are sings all over on the highways announcing "High School," as if they were significant monuments, scenic points, or fabulous places to visit. Now I assume these are fine school, filled with top-notch educators, canny, teachable students and enough other assorted hangers-on to keep all of the espresso shacks and two-for-the-price-of-one guitar shops in business, even in this sour economy. It's just odd to have them advertised on the highways so prominently, that's all.

This is even odder considering what is not advertised on the highways: the distance to the next town. Now, I admit since we're traveling the back roads (state and local highways, touching the interstate only once at Eugene) the travel is going to be a bit slower than what we anticipate. But the near utter lack of mileage signs occasionally makes the journey feel like this:

Tilamook 57

(20 minutes of driving)

Tilamook 51

(25 minutes of driving)

Tilamook 46 miles

(One hour of driving)

Tilamook What's Taking You So Long?

There is much to appreciate, however, about Oregon's highways. The near total lack of billboards is a plus. Who wants to see ads for used car dealerships when you can see the trees?

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