By Lauren Paulson

The word “twisty” has been appropriated by motorcycle mavens. Carpenterville Road in Curry County is a twisty ride from Brookings to Gold Beach. I just made it yesterday or so.

My logger father and his diesel mechanic friend Ben Hanson took us kids on a twisty ride along the Oregon coast in the 1950’s near Crescent City. The men occupied the front seats of the dated panel truck; us kids in the cargo area. It was the first and only time I ever got car sick; in spades.

It was nothing compared to Carpenterville Road. “Copperhead Road” is a song about the singer’s father and his moonshine equipment trip to the woods to brew up some white lightning. It was nothing compared to Carpenterville Road. I took the “Twisty” to Gold Beach last Tuesday on my way to Coos Bay for a meeting to discuss, among other things, the plight of the homeless.

The trip from Brookings to Gold Beach was to catch the Curry Public Transit bus who rightly decided not to hazard their drivers on Carpenterville Road. It rained the whole way; just under an hour to Ray’s at Gold Beach. Just when I thought the road couldn’t get any worse, halfway there, it did. The narrow, two-lane road without a shoulder disappeared and pot-hole city emerged. My tender, aged car grumbled as it struck its bottom on these holes. A little gravel here would help.

Another “Twisty” scary moment occurred when I faced a loaded log truck, which tried to respect the erased painted center line while facing a road without a shoulder. These log truck drivers deserved triple pay and my silent honor for their heroism on a dark, ominous coastal road in the rain. Pelting rain.

See Detour, Page A5

I was going to include a narrative of Judy, the Coastal Transit driver here, but now realize that is an entire story in and of itself. More on that in another article.

She deserves it.

As I passed through the chuck-hole minefield, I was praying — though not a religious guy — that the end was near and it couldn’t get any worse. I wasn’t even halfway.

Remember, this tome is about homelessness. My trip-purpose is to find out who, that actual real person, who is in charge and accountable to the homeless veterans like me who have to exist in the rain without a friendly face on the Oregon Coast.

Well, I encountered them when Carpenterville Road and Pistol River lay behind us. Not having transited with the Transit Bus service on the Oregon Coast before, I was unsure when I got to Ray’s at Gold Beach exactly where the bus meeting place resided. I saw a covered bench occupied by two homeless appearing elders trying to activate their cell phones on a promo plan without success.

Sauntering over to the grocery store front door, I got whacked by an automatic door going the other way. This wasn’t exactly what my luggage was hoping for in the rain. Walking towards the ocean in the parking lot, I found the right door, but nobody who could help me with the bus stop. Oh well, I will wait in the rain because I didn’t want to disturb the two elders in their cell phone negotiation.

Two friendly faces made eye contact with me. Two twenty-somethings were waiting out the situation in the covered portion of grocery store largesse. Even the firewood, for sale, was getting wet.

I made small talk with the two young men who smiled amiably as they explained how the bus works in Ray’s parking lot. After Carpenterville Road and a long bus ride yet to come; I was happily in a good mood because these two young, homeless men were so friendly. One explained to me his plight was medically charged. The other looked a little weary, yet both explained how they stayed warm in those conditions because this rainy day was really cold.

There and then I found out how they cope. They were going to catch a nap on the same bus to the North. It was warm and dry on the bus. Now, homelessness in Curry County was Judy’s problem. The bus driver accumulated her Gold Beach load and cheerfully flipped on the heat and some tunes on the bus radio as we turned our horses heads to eternity.

Lauren Paulson lives in Harbor.

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