Eugene is still, well…Eugene!
We had the great fortune to stop and visit one of my dearest friends from college, Mike Spieser and his family in Eugene. Mike is one of the hardest working, smartest, kindest, craftiest and most loyal people I know. He has two fantastic kids and his long term girlfriend/fiancé Tracy has 3. They are all people I would gladly spend a bunch of time lost in the woods with. A true testament to Mike and Tracy as people and parents.
They have a wonderful house in rural Eugene that they have busily been renovating. Except renovations to Mike mean a whole different thing than they do to most people. Sure, Mike knocked out a few walls, put in a support here and there, changed where rooms were…I don’t know, I couldn’t really keep up with everything he and Dan were talking about during the tour. Thing is, he also cleared like a half acre of heavily wooded, brought in topsoil to level it and put in a lawn (with volleyball net of course), then cleared down another level and built what Tracy lovingly calls the Agriplex. At this point that consists of 2 buildings far as I could tell. One very secure small building housed about 8 adorable chicks, soon to be the egg laying hens of the Agriplex. The large building consisted of a 2 story henhouse, heavily reinforced against foxes, bears, cougars and bobcats. I’m telling you they could rent that space out in San Diego for $2,000 plus a month! Next to that is a very secure (from birds and varmints) grow house that is the full 2 stories tall. It has mature fruit trees, a variety of berries growing like crazy and all the lettuces, vegetables etc. one could hope for safely protected from marauding deer and birds, and maybe neighbors. Here’s a picture of it from their beautiful deck, He’s not done. as the tour progressed he kept listing the things he planned to add, and I do not doubt that he will.
He does all this because he has absolutely nothing else to do except run his own software company, raise his children and perform a management role in the volunteer fire department and CERT. No sweat!
We had several amazing meals at their table thanks to Tracy and Mike and we took them out to dinner one night in Eugene, when we discovered that yes, it is still as kooky as ever. We had a great dinner on the patio of a nice place we had actually visited with them before (I had wanted to ask to go back there but didn’t know how to describe it and that is where they chose!). After dinner, while discussing how stuffed we all were, talk naturally turned to donuts as talk often does. Tracy mentioned Voodoo Donuts downtown which I know I have seen on Food Network or something. She pantomimed their signature voodoo donut which is a very sloppy voodoo donut doll with a pretzel stabbing it like a pin. Her pantomime was unfortunately not caught on video, it was spot on I realized once I saw the donut!
Of course we had to go downtown and find the shop. Or more accurately find parking near the shop. Eugene on a summer evening is a pretty busy place. A swirling mix of hipsters, students, stoners, homeless and a few old farts like us. Mike gallantly let us out in front of the shop and went to park the car after we made a few fruitless circles around the block. We were still standing stunned in front of the donut display when he came to join us. Just go to the website, I can’t even describe the donut dementia this shop has come up with. It is mad brilliance! We had to have just about every donut (because the teenagers at home would want them). And they were delicious, even though we were stuffed from dinner.
The shop itself is perfectly weird. Part Christmas village, part frat house, all wonderful. They even have a gorilla that probably serves as bouncer. They might need it during busy hours.
Their merchandise is clever too. “I got VD in Eugene”, “Worth the Weight” and “The Magic is in the Hole”. Dunking Donuts this is not…
Thank you Mike and Tracy for a wonderful visit, I think…