The Ruggs, Oregon Pepsi Vending Machine Shack is a shack containing a Pepsi vending machine located in Ruggs, Oregon.
Exploring Oregon's infrastructure, great and small, is a hobby, or even a calling for me. Sometimes this involves in-person visits, but often it is a matter of "wandering" the backroads on Google Streetview, seeing what I can see. Many of these google streetviews date back to the original roll-out of google street view in 2007-2009, and I wonder if the world really was in softer focus and lower resolution 15 years ago. And during one such trip, inspired by something I can't remember, I found something that didn't make sense, and that I had to do a double take for.
There was a Pepsi machine, sitting in a little shack, where Rhea Creek Road met Highway 206, presumably a county highway. This is located in Morrow County, a county of about 12,000 people, mostly living in the north. But here, inland, the towns are tiny and the distances between them are vast. Ruggs itself consists of a grain elevator, and three or four homes in a mile radius, perhaps. And a shack containing a single pepsi machine. The shack is about the size of a bus shelter, twice as wide and twice as deep as the machine itself. It has a peaked roof, and looks like it was built for some other purpose than holding a Pepsi machine. I can not tell if the construction is of wood, or brick. It is a dull yellow color, much like the grass on the surrounding hills. A sign next to it informs us that the closest town is Heppner, located 11 miles away. Heppner itself is not a large city, having 1200 people.
So having explained the where and the what, let me ask some other questions:
- Why? What is the customer base for a pepsi machine lying a dozen miles from a town? Does the grain elevator have enough employees that they need a cold canned beverage? While that may be so, it would seem more likely that people employed in such a place might have a refrigerator of some sort. Or is this made for tourists, for the occasional motorist who took a wrong turn and has been driving across Eastern Oregon? Is there a local dude ranch near by, whose guests wander around and need a pepsi?
- How? Someone must be refilling this thing. Presumably from Heppner. So someone drives our regularly from Heppner with loads of soda and restocks it. It also has to have some electricity to run it. Given the area's sometimes wide swings in temperature, and hot summer months, it seems likely that keeping drinks refrigerated is expensive. So someone is keeping this thing stocked and functioning for the quarters of the occasional motorist who comes along.
- Who? Who is doing this. Who is that someone? Is it someone who wishes to keep the town of Ruggs somehow alive a century after its decline? Someone out to make a fast buck, or in this case, a slow quarter? Is this someone's life mission, or tax dodge?
I don't know the answers to these questions. I don't know if the Pepsi machine in question even exists anymore. But this is the type of thing I keep looking for, because it shows that things keep erupting out where they don't make sense.