Sunday, July 08, 2012

Small Towns, Fourth of July & Rodeos

I love that I get my hair cut in Dundee, which is nestled in the wine country here in Oregon. The two-lane highway that I take winds through the flat part of the valley and is tossed with farm land, hops fields, hazelnut orchards and dairies for as far as I can see. I pass through a few small, small, small towns. Well, less than a few...I think I go through two to be exact...one of which doesn't have a stop sign and boasts a population of 354! Twenty miles west from me, across the Willamette River -- two towns later I arrive in Dundee, whose population has grown to 3,000! At last count, and don't quote me on this, I see that there are forty-six vineyards nestled in the hills of Dundee; with the first vines being planted in 1965.

You can read more about the vintners, the wines and the history of the area by visiting The Dundee Hills Winegrowers Association.




I took advantage of the nice weather this trip and pulled off the road in St. Paul to shoot a pix of this wall mural. While I couldn't find a date on the painting, I figure it's got to be pretty old based on its weathered condition. Placed on the side of what looks like an old bank building that sits at the main intersection of town, the mural serves as advertising for the St. Paul rodeo that has taken place for the last seventy-seven years on the 4th of July. Believe me when I say, rodeos are alive and well living in small towns across the country. I spent the weekend in bumper to bumper traffic when I ventured out to the berry farm -- big rigs pulling horse trailers in front of me and big rigs pulling horse trailers in back of me. In addition to the rodeo in St. Paul, on the other side of town to the east, there is a rodeo in Mollalla and the only road to and from both events runs through the middle of this little community I call home. Two rodeos on the same holiday keep these cowboys and those buckle bunnies busy running back and forth to compete and perform at both locations. It certainly is a different world -- not better not worse -- just different.