We put off visiting it, mostly because we are very, very jaundiced about web-marketing tools, though we have found the "Clark & Lewis" commercial series quite funny.
Our mistake. "The Slog" turns out to be something of a tour de force, where they make rather effective use of comedy and American History documentary tropes (the endless sepia tone, the title cards with the filigrees, the Ken Burns effect, the drawly, fatherly tone of the narrator with that tinge of vague dispair, and the eternal harmonica soundtrack). The result is a pitch-perfect satire of historical documentaries that takes a few side-splitting liberties with the form, turning the account of what is usually a 3-hour drive into a trek the maginitude of the Oregon Trail:
- There's the story of the "feral hoopsters", near Exit 22, who were rumored to live in the woods near where a school bus was abandoned north of Vancouver when its driver gave in to the despair of the trip ahead.
- The stretch across the Columbia from the Trojan site becomes "Geiger Counter Straits", where travellers begin to experience strange vision after passing.
- We learn that, despite the traveller's standard tools for warding off sleep, named as "propping the eyes open with corn dog sticks" and "self-slapping", the Sandman proved a dogged copilot along "Longblink Gulch", located somewhere amongst the small towns in the western Washington interior
- And the generational story of the highway workers along the Big Repave has to be heard to be believed.
The best moment for me came during the short for "Molasses Pass", the area through Oly where drivers slowed down so much and so often that astronauts were said to have reported seeing "a giant glowing red snake" living in Olympia. As the narrator intones
"And the thought that astronauts thought a 12-mile red snake was living in Olympia is a more than a little disturbing. I mean, I thought astronauts were supposed to be really smart."
Laugh along with me here. Flash player plug-in needed, naturlich.