May 28, 2011

On The Road

Today is day 10. You get to read about Day 6 which begins after a night of sleeping in the back of the Pathfinder in the rain.
Day 6: We pulled stuff out from under the tarp and threw it in the back of the truck and we were off. There seems to be no shortage of ‘authentic Mexican’ restaurants on this route, so what’s a girl to do? I had fish tacos for breakfast. Delish. Then the drive got hairy and it had nothing to do with what we ate for breakfast. The road itself is pretty much immaculate – it must have recently been resurfaced (and I’m sure that was no small job)…but the driving…hairpin turns, curves, switchbacks, dips, rises, hills, 25mph, 60mph, 40mph, 55mph, 15mph, 55mph, entering tsunami danger zones (I’m not even kidding), leaving tsunami danger zones, speed up, slow down, watch out for those turkey thingies crossing the road, is that a FUCKING SPIDER crawling across the inside of my windshield?, do you think the wind could pick the truck off the road?, oh look: a man with a chainsaw walking along the side of the road, look at that surf, stop, walk on the beach, drive, wipers on, wipers off, up, down, around. By the time we decided to call it a day and be done driving, there wasn’t much chance either of us were game for setting up a tent in the rain. We ended up in an excellent little motel in Trinidad, complete with king-sized bed and down bedding. Had an awesome dinner at the pier and then watched the sun set over the ocean in a by-then fairly clear sky. Here's some of what we saw:


LEAVING? Just when did we ENTER the hazard zone? These signs are awfully small for the message of potential doom that they convey.

Sunset in Trinidad after a long day of driving in the rain. That's Norm right there. In the truck. He's pretty cute, huh?

All I can say about the beaches is: unbelievable. We stopped at quite a few - different light, different waves, different angles, different weather. And each time we kept on driving thinking there just couldn't possibly be a nicer view than the one we'd just seen. Then we'd round another one of those interminable bends, and there was yet another breathtaking view. When I told people we were going to weave our way up the Oregon coast, I had no idea how accurate the term "weave" really was.

Day 7: We left Trinidad CA aiming for Newport Oregon by day’s end, including time for stops for things we wanted to see along the way. It rained the entire time but it didn’t take away from the awe-inspiring Redwood Forest. No words for trees that have been here for that long. If a tree had eyes…could you imagine the things it has seen over 1,500 years? Sunrises, sunsets, generations upon generations. It’s hard to even imagine something being alive for that long.  The one good thing about the rain is the ambiance it brings to a drive through the forest. Green, green, green. Some more driving (not as twisty as yesterday’s, but it had its moments) and we ended up at the Shilo Inn on the beach (except the bug thing that was in my wallet – I let him out in the lobby). The view from our room is below. I'm including it because it's such a contrast to the view from the place we stayed in Olympia. Our window in Newport overlooked a grey and rowdy ocean and even greyer and moodier clouds. We tried the hotel restaurant for supper but when ten minutes had gone by after we put down the menus and still nobody had even taken a drink order from us, we left. Norm had to go to the drug store so while he was inside I used his handy GPS (don't tell him I said so, but the GPS, as it turns out, is rather useful) to search for some Asian food, thinking that some noodle soup would be excellent on a night like this. What I found was Bangkok Thai Food restaurant down by the marina. A serious little hole in the wall owned by a couple who each were originally from Thailand, met in Idaho, married and started a little restaurant. Probably the best Thai food I’ve had in recent memory, and certainly surprising for its location. 

View from our room at the Shilo Inn - Newport, OR. After a rather stormy night, it cleared up for the morning. Stay there. It is good. Just ignore the bug in the lobby. He's probably just trying to get back to Napa after he hitched a ride in my wallet.
Day 8: Drove to Olympia. On the way we visited the Latimer quilting centre (photos for you would love this place) and the Tillamook Cheese Factory (cheese for you Brianne). Arrived to yet more rain. Olympia is an interesting city. By interesting I mean, well, there seems to be an undercurrent of something I'll call counter-culture. Pretty city. Strange vibes. I've never been in a coffee place where the barista dealt drugs out of the mop room. 

The view from this hotel room was not nearly as spectacular as last night’s, but that’s okay because it had a hot tub. Days of being in the rain and by the windy ocean chilled us to the bone.

Speaking of rooms with a view, here's one of my favourites.

 Second night on the road was spent in Collier Memorial State Park north of Klamath Oregon. You'll remember this campground for the picture of the frozen water in a previous post. I'll remember it because I stayed snug in my sleeping bag in the truck while Norm braved the chill to make me a latte. If you haven't had a latte made by the one you love while camping, you haven't lived.

Oh, right. There is another reason I remember this place. It was gorgeous. This is Spring Creek. The campground is situated where Spring Creek meets the Williamson River.

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