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Route 20 Report #5

And now, musings from my reporters’notebook (Oregon and Idaho):

Drewsy, Oregon, Harney county, just east of Stinkingwater Creek. The guy who settled here applied for an official post office under the name Gouged Eye (to “commemorate” a local fracas). The name was rejected.

There is a Bates Motel in Vale, Oregon. And it looks just like you think it would look.

In Nyssa, Oregon, just past a huge billboard proclaiming “Cowboys Lives Matter,” is a hip little coffee stand named “Cappuccino Cowgirl.” Uh huh.

A quick stop in Atomic City, Idaho (population 26), home of Experimental Breeder Reactor I, the world’s first electricity-generating nuclear power plant. There is one store and one bar in town. Most of the people raised here are dead. The median age of those remaining is 59.8. (zero percent are 18 or younger).

At the Golden West Café in Arco, Idaho (the first city in the world to be lit by atomic power—see above), walking out the door: A 30-ish blond woman carrying a blond infant, holding the hand of a 6-year-old blond girl who is balancing a blond toddler on her hip. We are deep in Mormon country.

Idaho Potato Museum, Idaho Falls, where there are “free ‘taters for out-of-staters” (box of dehydrated hashbrowns that will feed six people), where there is not only a collection (behind glass) of vintage potato peelers but also another curated collection of potato mashers, where there is a life-sized stand-up of Marilyn Monroe in a potato sack (and yes, she is still gorgeous). Possibly The Best Museum Ever.

At the Riverside RV Park in Bellevue, Idaho, #15 on list of park rules: “NO SMOKING OR ALCOHOL IN BATHROOMS.” As if.

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