The American Dream…of sorts

American Dream

Things have been pretty busy, and the time is flying by. I had meant to write a lot more, but by the time I got back to the house and ate, I was too tired to think about anything else. I’m remembering something…something awesome.

Sitting in the back of a pickup truck, wearing sunglasses and a hat, armed with a huge knife, and drinking cider. Yes, it was the American dream, and just after some deep sea fishing too.

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Deep Sea Fishing

Four of us went on a fishing trip out of Garibaldi, Oregon, into the great Pacific for eight hours last weekend. It was a long day, having to get up at 3.30 am and fish for eight hours. We had a two hour drive before we even got to the coast, so it was a tiring start. It was worth it, as the Oregon coastline is beautiful, and we had the chance to watch multiple sunrises as the sun dipped behind and rose above the different mountain tops. Blankets of low cloud also enveloped the hill tops, adjacent to perfectly clear skies. Fog surrounded the boat as it left the harbour, only to clear upon reaching open water beyond the bar. And yes, it was rather breathtaking, but there was some fishing too between all the ooh-ing and ahh-ing. Our party did okay – we caught a few fish each, mainly black sea bass and a few sea trout. I was rather proud of my one gigantic sea bass that put up a bit of a fight, but was worth it. After a catch almost instantly, and one shortly after that, I barely had a bite the rest of the time! The captain was telling us the fish were right there on the finder, but they foolishly seemed to want to keep their lives and didn’t bite at all. Whenever the fishing trip was first suggested I wasn’t so sure about going, but I really enjoyed the time there, and the fish tastes pretty good too.

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Japanese Gardens and Portland

Needless to say, I was completely and utterly dead to the world after about 7pm on Sunday. It was a long day of travelling and fishing, and I could do nothing else but collapse onto the sofa. Only after gutting the fish, of course. We ate like kings, then went to bed early, almost writing the following day off as a precautionary recovery period. That never really happens though, and we ended up back in Portland, at Free Geek and Goodwill, followed by a trip to the Japanese Gardens. In the hills above Portland there is a huge complex of parks and museums, encompassing the Portland Zoo, the Hoyt Arboretum, the Japanese Gardens, the Forestry Museum, the Children’s Museum, the Rose Gardens, and possibly more that I have forgotten. It is all set in a beautiful forest, and just a stone’s throw away from the bustling city. The Japanese Gardens were interesting, though perhaps not quite as good as I had imagined. There was a big zen garden, numerous Japanese trees, ponds with Koi carp, and numerous other features, though I was disappointed in the limited selection of other Japanese plants. I’m not sure whether Portland’s climate can support all Japanese plant life. It was still worth a visit, along with the Rose Gardens which are free to walk around.

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Guns and more guns

Guns are truly astonishing, and terrifying, pieces of equipment. Never at home could I have imagined being able to shoot a handgun, yet here they are commonplace, and widely available. So far, I’ve used a Sig Sauer P220 Compact pistol, a Ruger 10/22 Takedown rifle, a CZ-52 pistol, a Ruger Mini-30 rifle, and a Mosin Nagant rifle. The last one was probably my favourite, just for the sheer kick of it, and the historical appeal. I’ve seen a lot of these guns in games, but you can never truly understand what they are like until you have held and shot them for yourself. It gives you a new respect for, and fear of the raw power, and the responsibility required surrounding safe gun use. I was most surprised at the .45 Sig P220, because there is much more to shooting it than meets the eye if you actually want the bullets to go where you are pointing it. Keith just got a new gun too; a Ruger SR22, which is a .22LR handgun that will hopefully be useful as a practice gun instead of spending expensive .45 ammo. That’s another thing that most people don’t think about – shooting guns can be really expensive! Particularly with any large or rare calibres, making reloading of bullets almost a necessity.

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The quarry we were shooting in was pretty filthy, filled with broken glass, used shells, bullet riddled computers, and everything else. The upside of this was that we picked up a lot of brass shells that can be reloaded, including a bunch of .300 Winchester magnum shells which are huge. Between picking up shells, the shooting was very fun. I need a lot more practice with the different sights on the Mini-30, but the Ruger 10/22 was pretty easy because of the tiny amount of recoil. There is nothing quite like the thrill of shooting a gun.

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