I’m in the Portsmouth, NH; the Ocean City, MD; the Myrtle Beach, SC; the Panama City, FL, of the Pacific North West: Cannon Beach, Oregon. My wife and I came out to see our first grandchild, our four month-old grandson Riley Paul Martin, aka Bubba; RPM; Riley Boo; the Ri Guy and other bits of gagification that mothers and grandmothers seem to think endearing. I would like the kid to grow up without noticeable tics or other unwanted spasmodic affectations, so I just call him Hey You! He doesn’t even know who “You” is! Joke’s on him.
But we are not here to talk about my grandson, or the fact that he has already been signed by Notre Dame (10.5 lbs at birth, about 2.2 more metrically), or that he can crap an incredible number of times a day (memory is so weak!). No, we are here to discuss the fact that every fourth car here, not only in the paradise that is Cannon Beach, but of all of OREGON (Paul can back me up), is a Subaru of one flavor or another.
Not only that, but they all have Yakima, Thule, or (as gauche as it may be) Sears coffins on their roofs, or are in line at Pep Boys to get them. Either that or surfboards. Pass the granola. I interviewed a young couple from Alberta today who were returning their rental surfboards. They seemed normal, and even spoke a dialect that I could understand (High Plains Gibberish-HPG), and claimed that they had a Yakima carrier for their skis in the winter (11 months out of the year). But be very careful, Subaru owners often appear to be human.
Case in point. It can be difficult to find a parking space in downtown metropolitan Cannon Beach. Sometimes it may take minutes to find an open spot. But doncha know, one opened up for us, as if by MAGIC, next to another Forester in no time at all. Subis take care of their own! Spooky, eh?
Cannon Beach is a cosmic magnet not only for Subarus, but also Mercedes Turbo Diesels. I met the lovely owner of this 1985 TD with 225k just outside her shop in CB. I asked her if she minded that I photograph it for a car blog that had 70,000 hits per month! (actually 350,000 “hits” per month – Ed) She was impressed but concerned that the car hadn’t been washed recently. Recently! I wanted to add for 20 years or more, but being Mr. Tactful, I said that I loved cars with patina. She gave me a sly smile that indicted she liked my smooth manner, but silently was thinking “kiss off, loser!”. Such is the day in the life of a hard-core automotive blogger.
The Trifecta would be an Outback with a Yakima coffin on the roof and a “Keep Portland Weird” bumper sticker. Dead Head stickers no longer count. So far I have found an Impreza with a Yakima and an Outback with a Thule (sorry, loss of half a point), but no Outback with a Yakima and a Keep Portland Weird bumper sticker. There is still hope. I am going to devote my remaining days here to documenting such. And if I can’t find it, I’ll fabricate it.
But check out the photo above. The judges are quasi apoplectic! Is it? No, but nice try. Not a Trifecta.
It’s a TD station wagon with a windshield sun blocker (Oh really? When was the last time the sun shone on the Upper Left Coast?); a silver Forester approaching from the rear; a shiny Merc with gold emblems on the hubcaps (please, can we be any more pretentious?) across the street; and a Bentley. Give me an effing break! A Bentley? Who do you want to impress? Subaru owners? Sh*t and fall back in it! The TD is in front of a Birkenstock store! Misplaced emphasis! Just to let you know, a Bentley in CB is just another four-door sedan. And your 60 year-old wife’s orange hair is just pathetic.
There, I feel better now.
I had just about given up finding the definitive Subaru when this lovely example parked next to us at our $39/night de luxe motel, with pool and color TV, in Baker City, OR (in far-eastern Oregon – Ed). Notice the aftermarket heavy-duty tailgate grab. Must not work too well as the tailgate was not latched.
I don’t know what year this Outback was, or how many miles were on it (probably a Brazilian+) but the interior looks to be in pretty good shape (for the shape it’s in). We do know, however, that the owner is the sporting type, given the five speed and the Hot and Spicy Cheez-Its. No need to fight glare to take the pic, the owner didn’t find it important to close the windows the night before.
The VW Jetta (with the tomb on top) from Idaho should look this good when it reaches a comparable age (it won’t—it will crap out two minutes after the warranty expires). The Outback seems to be saying to the veedub, “I fart in your general direction”. The front license plate is in the cargo area in case the Heat becomes concerned. The cracked windshield doesn’t seem to be a much of a bother either. This is one beautiful car.
I’ve got a ton more photos of Subarii with tombs on top that I shot in the past week. But come on, how much torture can use guys take? On the road it was almost rhythmic—one, two, three, yah, another Subaru. Yep, Outback. Yep, Dark Blue. Yep, coffin on top. Almost makes me want to like broughams. Almost.
Riley would say Hi! if he could, but he can’t. Maybe next year.
Hey, I resemble your remarks… Although I do live in Boise. Subaru is popular here and I consider them to be a great value. Yes, my 07 had its head gaskets replaced at 36k under warranty and I don’t drive it hard either. The vehicle has some character and is great on trails with the combination of the manual trans, locking diffs, Yokohama geolanders, and (recently) a 2-inch lift with King Springs (from down under). We’ve got a Yakima basket, no coffin.
Here is a pic from a few years ago…
Shoot, a pic from when I bought it…notice how it fits nicely with all the Swedes (you’d think Boise is far-east Portland). The Volvo was my wife’s…ironically died of headgasket failure (among other things).
I hope you noticed that I waved when we sped by. My wife and I like Boise for its Basque restaurants. My wife’s Forester has Geolanders, but my Impreza has Avid S34Ds which are Z-rated. Why the ef do I need Z-rated tires on an Impreza? These things cost $290 on Tire Rack without shipping or mounting and balancing.
Of course…I’m certain you saw me waving back at you!
For some reason NZ Subies mostly come in roadgrime silver.
That last one is a Legacy wagon, not an Outback. Also that grab handle on the hatch is a Genuine Subaru Accessory…
And yes, I have a 1997 Outback (mine has a Yakima rack and cargo box…) and I absolutely love it. Only on my third head gasket with 200k on the clock. Wouldn’t trade it for anything, it’s the Swiss army knife of cars. I also have a 2007 Volvo V70R that only gets a couple thousand miles a year put on it, versus 15k or so on the Subaru. It’s just that good.
And this article is spot on. If you go anywhere “touristy” anywhere (Pacific NW, Rockies, New England) it can seem to be nearly 50% Subaru’s in places.
Psst! Don’t tell anyone but we have two.
The organization I work for has a strong presence in Portland, and I’ve joked before that if I have to transfer there, I’m ready to go–I already have the Subaru (’03 Outback H6 wagon).
Which raises the question, would my H6 appear too elitist for Oregon? Do I need to pull off the “H6-3.0” badging? 😛
You’re the 1%er of Subaru owners.
Not so much elitist, but as a “planet hater” 🙂
I had a tenant, a “hippie” mom with a couple of kids, and her parents bought her an H6 Outback, and she seems not to have been cast out of “tribe” because of it.
Neither she nor any of her friends has any idea of what an H6 is, or why that is different than other Subies.
The six cylinder version. It was used in the Outback H6, as well as in the Tribeca. No longer in production.
Ha. I used to be a one of those Subie owners, though at least I (and my wife) were a little off-kilter: SVX, Legacy GT (5mt pre-turbo), Outback H6, and a plain old Legacy sedan (but fwd!).
Living here in the Northeast, you’d get the impression that they’re popular cars. In quite a few towns here, a Legacy Outback used to mean the same thing a Taurus in the rest of the country
Kevin, this was great. I repeatedly chuckled, and even laughed out loud. But the Monty Python reference made me snarf. You owe me a keyboard. This made my day; and I so want to live in Cannon Beach for a year. (Sorry for not referencing the cars but, to me, sometimes the cars are just the vehicles for the story.) Thank you.
…”shit and fall back in it.” Is this the MP reference? Paints a vivid picture nonetheless.
Well done Mr. Tactful, lots of midday laughs.
This post reminds me of one of my old daydreams – to own a Subaru or Volvo wagon and a Dodge Ram 3/4 ton 4×4 pickup. I would plaster the Subie or Volvo with right wing bumper stickers and then cover the Ram in left wing bumper stickers. It would just be fun, that’s all.
I used to see a Subaru wagon in Nashville with a Bush/Cheney sticker (it was the L.L. Bean edition, maybe that’s not so unusual).
I’m there, except the truck is a Ford. And my favorite bumper sticker is “Visualize Whirled Peas”.
My favorite: “Support your right to arm bears”.
Oh, and 2001 Impreza wagon, 175K and no head gaskets. Er, yet.
Also, no coffin on the roof.
I don’t have any bumper stickers, but I do have this on my Volvo wagon:
I need to put it on mine V50 as well.. 😉
Hmm, not too many pod people driving the Subies over in K-Falls (maybe one or two of the half-dozen Occupy Klamath Falls group), though in winter, snow on the roof is pretty common. Generally, pods==tourists.
In our little town NE of the city, the obligatory Outback color is the two-tone Green/Tannish-Silver combination. For some reason, we seem to have the only Forester out here in our corner of the wilds, but lots of them in the city and elsewhere in the county. We thought of an Impreza, but the ground clearance sucks if I don’t plow the road, and it’s a long way down for my stiff joints. At 6-2, even the Forester takes a bit of an evolution to get in it. Worse if I have a hat.
FWIW, ours is white, and my wife regularly notices a red ’12 that haunts the same stores we use. Probably another rural owner going in on the same sales day we do…
I went to college at Northern Michigan University in the most beautiful (and most undervisited section) of Michigan, Marquette. Subarus make up a healthy segment of the driving population up there, too. So, while I was just another dude cruising the streets in an aged Impreza, when we moved back to my hometown I was driving a very unique make and model of car. Years later, my second Subaru stood out a bit in Toledo, but on a weekend trip up to Marquette, I was surprised at how many more Subies had found homes in Marquette, even compared to the time I lived up there. That tiny little city in the Upper Peninsula is a weird and wonderful place to which I would return in a heartbeat (provided I could find gainful employment with benefits).
Even here in Japan, where you would think they sell the majority of their cars, the vice principal at one of my schools teased me for driving a car made by a “minor” company.
Cannon Beach = LOL City. Although that Cheez-It box is too perfect – I suspect it was planted. 🙂
There are so many stickered-up Subes in New England that the fam and I stand out in our gray, opinion-free Ford.
The Cheez-It box is legit. In far-eastern Oregon (or so it has been characterized by some), Cheez-Its are considered health food. Think of it as the quinoa of the green-dep part of Oregon.
Damn you, Kevin Martin. Here it is an hour and a half before lunch and you are talking about Cheez-its and now I want some but there are none to be had without a trek to the grocery store which I cannot do because I am trying to work. Grumble grumble grumble.
By now I hope your fingers are orange, JP my friend!
The roof box observation is interesting, closer to Portland bike racks outnumber cargo boxes. Our friend’s White Legacy Outback wagon has two bike mounts but no “coffin” and my Saturn boasts a forest of bike mounts plus the roof rack air deflector features a “keep Portland weird” sticker alongside the Cross Crusade and Portland Short Track stickers. Yo can Google the significance of the latter stickers.
Ha. I’m the owner of the 300TD that “hadn’t been washed in 20 years” and I can let go of that snark (unfair/untrue though it is), but not so much on the sun shield. You see, it’s not there to protect from the sun, it’s there to protect from UV rays — UV rays come thru clouds or no clouds — and since leather is skin (ick!) I protect my leather dash for that reason. And my dash still looks perfect. So learn from it 🙂
I get offers for my awesome car all the time. A tourist from NY tracked me down just yesterday to see if I’d be willing to part ways with my wagon because he said it is beautiful (it is). He’d seen the Vanity Fair “cool, cult classic” spread and wanted a 300TD. He won’t be getting mine, but I did give him some info on how to find a good one.
Anyway, happy to see the pic of my car on here even if you did insult me and my car. Keeps us humble.
PS it wasn’t a sly smile. It was me biting my own snarky tongue.