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This weekend I took an 8 hour trip down to Tillamook (pronounced Till-ah-mUHck, not Till-ah-mOOck as the spelling would have you believe; it’s like how Americans say rUHff instead of rOOf – there’s got to be a better phoenetic language out there…), Oregon to visit a cousin, or a cousin twice removed from me or something like that. ANYWAYS, we drove through Seattle (I saw the Space Needle – which sure ain’t that big – and Safeco Field where the Mariners play), Tacoma, Olympia and Portland, which is definitely a port city – not that pretty. But that was the first time in my life I had seen so many interchanges piled on top of each other. And the traffic – 6 lanes each way. Whoa. That’s a lot of cars. To keep myself occupied, I checked out various license plates and found ones from Ohio, Texas, Illinois, Oklahoma, Tennesse, Missouri and Alaska to name a few. Apparently GW Bush was in Washington the day before we drove through. If I could have given him a piece of my mind…

The most interesting part of the trip? Getting hauled out of our car at the border for having corned beef in our lunch sandwiches. Yeah, detained for over an hour. The border guard asked the usual, where are you from, where are you going, do you have any food with you. We told him we had a lunch, and after a detailed interrogation (was he hungry??) we told him that there was corned beef in our sandwiches. Well, he gave us an orange “you must get out of your car and we have to search it” slip and we proceeded into the US Customs office. A nice “Agricultural Specialist” – she told us she was “special” because she wasn’t allowed to carry a gun (insert any number of jokes here…) – greeted us and kindly informed us that beef products of any kind weren’t allowed in the great US of A. She then proceeded to tell us all of the rules involving food and plants (??) crossing the border. She then told us that she would have to confiscate our sandwiches. We asked her if we could eat them somewhere around there. The answer was no; it was a security risk (sigh…you know, I was planning to throw that possibly BSE-infected slice of corned beef at an American hitchhiker; my plans were ruined…). So, she went out to our car and brought in the sandwiches, and we had to eat them at the US Customs counter under her watchful eye. Yes. The American border system is foolproof! The Americans are taking this BSE thing a little too far. It’s a purely political ploy (how do you like that alliteration?). Whatever…

Oregon is absolutely beautiful. And TillamUHck is the quintessential American town. It just is. We spent most of the weekend visiting, and I learned that many people I’ve known for years are actually related to me. I honestly thought that they were just family friends. Weird. My cousin had the TillamUHck county voting guide on her coffeetable. It’s 150 pages long. And those are just the rules, bills, and arguments against and in favor of the bills! There’s also another 35 page booklet on all of the candidates from President to County Clerk. There wasn’t a whole lot of election signage. And why are the Bush/Cheney and Kerry/Edwards signs BOTH BLUE? Honestly, people, does creativity not count? Or are you just trying to confuse more people? Heaven forbid Kerry/Edwards have red signs – that means they’re liberals for sure!

Before we left TillamUHck, we visited the town’s foremost attraction – The TillamUHck Cheese Factory. TillamUHck is in the centre of “America’s Dairyworld”. I watched them package cheese. And I bought cheese. TillamUHck cheese is shipped all over the US and in Canada as well. Apparently it’s good cheese. And TillamUHck ice cream. Sooo gooood. It puts Ben & Jerry’s to shame. And there’s TillamUHck beef jerky, too. The cheese/ice cream/beef jerky factory is the main visitor attraction in the town of 4400 (25,000 in the county). You’ve got to love America!

So, that was my weekend. When I went to church, I was the youngest person by about 40 years, and there was an American and Oregon flag in the sanctuary – separation of church and state? I think not…

I am happy to be back in Canada, though. It’s nice to not have to think in miles or Fahrenheit. And it’s nice that it only takes 2 minutes to cross the border. Canadian border guards only want to make sure you pay duty if you have to (sorry Kirstin…).

And what about them Riders? I can’t believe they creamed (sorry for the dairy product pun – remember, I spent a whole morning in a CHEESE factory…) Edmonton! And I remember to tape the game this time! Yeah! I’ll be cheering them on here in BC!

And on that note, I must go and unpack the cheese I bought. And hey, at least I didn’t have to eat it all before I crossed the border…

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