The day after I visited OSU at Corvallis, I drove forth and back to Eugene to visit the University of Oregon (UO). The driving route is basically the same as to Corvallis except at one junction you veer south and ending driving along the McKenzie River through the Willamette Forest, instead of the Deschutes Forest to the north. There is a noticeable discrepancy between the people that live intermittently along the road long before you reach the valley, on these two roads. Going to Eugene these people are rich, whereas going to Corvallis these people are poor, with shanties that make me wonder if moonshine stills are brewing in yonder hills.
In contrast to the previous day of out and out sun, the day did exactly what the Northwest is famous for: it rained the entire time. HOWEVER, the drive was no less picturesque. Due to the rain, temperature, and altitude, the forests looked like they were breathing. Plus, in the dreary rain, the McKenzie River raged and looked very primal.
I really wanted to like Eugene, but (most) everything about it and the people in it made it impossible to do so. As I alluded to yesterday, some graduate programs are welcoming and some are....not. Well, pretty much both programs at UO were not. One would not deign to meet with me, despite the fact that I had flown halfway across the country and then driven over a mountain range to visit. The other is just not in the business of being helpful and welcoming to prospective students. But sadly, they've had to never learn to be, and never will, because inexplicably they have one of the highest applicants/available spots ratios in the country. If they treat accepted students like they treated me, I wouldn't want to go there anyway.
Therefore, thanks to an ancillary of Murphy's Law, I was bound to like the campus. It is historic and traditional, without being rundown, and the new buildings are incredibly well designed for their departments' intended purposes. I also went over to visit Hayward Field, which will be described in much more detail in my next post. The student outfit is Nike clothing, Apple electronics, and black everything else.
Aside from visiting UO, one of my to-dos was procuring a running souvenir for Eugene, which is basically the nation's capital for running, or at least track racing. Turns out this process was the final straw; I eventually got on the highway and never looked back.
I skipped the book store because there are entire website comment sections about how none of their merchandise even mentions Pre, Bowerman, UO track and field, the last 60 years of running in Eugene....but you'd be all set if you want to buy a Oregon Ducks football shirt. So I went to the Eugene Running Company, where my query was met with "why would you want a Eugene running souvenir?" Um, because I've been runner more than half my life and I want a nice running shirt that shows I went to Eugene and reveled in its history. You are a running store that presumably employs runners, you should understand this?
My next stop was Nike, which was born in Eugene, next to Hayward Field, when Phil Knight sold shoes out of his van. Nada. Nothing about running, Eugene, Pre, Bowerman, Knight. "But we have a whole section of University of Oregon shirts." I looked the manager square in the eye and said "I don't give a sh!t about the Ducks." Off he scurried.
So Nike, here's an idea. Make a technical shirt that says "I raced at Hayward Field and all I won was this stupid t-shirt." Email kebeebe at yahoo dot com so I can tell you where to deposit my royalties.
[NOTE: For those who don't understand the joke, Hayward Field hosts serious, high level track meets with big prizes. For example, during the track trials, the winner is a national champion and goes to the Olympics, the second place person goes to the Olympics, everyone else gets nothing. Although if I had my way, they would be able to buy a witty t-shirt.]
In the end, the best parts of Eugene where the drive there, the drive away, and Hayward Field. Which pretty much matches what everyone said I would like, before I even went.