Friday, November 11, 2005

Winding Down

I would've posted sooner but I was still just too wound up from last weekend.
Ask me what I did!
... I'll tell you, I went to Sacramento to have dinner with my friend who lives there.
I left at 5AM on Saturday morning and got there at about 5:30PM Saturday evening. Stayed one night and came back on Sunday.
Saturday: Got out of Washington State in about 3 hours. Was driving into Oregon just before 8AM. Let me tell you, Oregon is a bad state to drive in. Once we crossed the border and got to the south end of portland we came across the very best part of I-5 in the state of Oregon. Those of you who have been driving South of portland know what I'm talking about. I-5 and 405 split and they don't split the normal way where the smaller freeway is to the right of the larger freeway, they do it backwards... Needless to say, we had to turn around in Beaverton.
Beaverton is a city similar to many suburban Seattle area cities, it's got a few tall buildings and terrible streets. In fact, almost all of the streets in beaverton are one way streets. We literally had to drive ten blocks west, four blocks north, six blocks south, then two blocks east to turn around. I hate beaverton.
This is not all that attributes to the terrible experience of Oregon driving. Once we get back on I-5 Southbound, we get stuck in traffic with lots of sports fans driving to the Ducks game in Eugene. The next 200 miles to Eugene was like driving on a long flat stretch of road without being allowed to use cruise control, in fact, it wasn't like doing it, it was doing it. Aparently cruise control is illegal in Oregon, and you have to maintain a variation of speed within at least 20 miles per hour above or below the speed limit, and cannot maintain that speed for more than 5 minutes at a time.
Once we passed Eugene, everything was nice. We had to stop for gas twice and were not allowed to pump it because gasoline in Oregon is more explosive and too dangerous to handle, however I will not complain about the lower prices due to lack of sales tax. Once you get to southern Oregon, it's actually rather pretty anyway, so it wasn't all bad.
Ashland and then Medford, there was snow on the ground in the passes, it was very nice really.
Which brings us to California. Many people hate California, but personally I like everything North of Oakland and nothing else, the only exception being San Diego because it's a pretty nice city. The rest of California, however, could fall into the ocean and I would never miss it. There are many rolling hills with mountains and pastures in that part of California and I like it a lot. We made it to Shasta in record time (The lake is very low this year and there were really high winds).
We could see the very bottom of Mt. Shasta and most of Black Butte, but there were thick clouds in the sky blocking most of the view.
For those who haven't been down I-5, Mt. Shasta is a pretty big and very beautiful mountain and black butte is a small black mound to the southwest of it. It looks like someone dumped a 2000 foot high load of coal at the bottom of the mountain.
From there it was basically straight through to Redding where we got gas (and pumped it ourselves). From Redding to Sacramento it was nothing but Olive farms and rice patties.
We got to Sacramento and ate dinner at Mel's diner, then retired to a local pool hall where we proceeded to play the worst games of all our lives (I had just driven 12.5 hours, everyone else just didn't sleep enough, wusses).
We kind of got lost finding our hotel, but found it, slept and that was that.
Sunday we got up and started driving again at about 8AM. It took us 4 hours and 10 minutes to get across the California border. I forgot how much I liked Northern California. It's really not a bad place at all.
Once we got past Ashland we stopped for fuel and Brandy took over for a couple hours (as long as it took us to need to get gas again). I broke out my pipe and watched Southern Oregon float by. Southern Oregon is a pretty nice place as well, I would have no problem living there if it were just in another state.
By the time we stopped for fuel again we were in the terrible part of Oregon that I was talking about before, the part where the traffic gets to be really annoying due to the law against cruise control. At the gas station we bought some beer (tax free) and had some tea and continued on the trip. I have never had more of a desire to get the hell out of any state and back to mine than this point in the trip. When we hit the outer rims of Portland it started pouring rain. Rain I can handle because I've obviously lived in Washington for a long time. The problem with Oregon rain is that water doesn't just fall from the sky, the entire cloud comes down and graces you with it's presence (if you don't understand, go to Oregon). We exited the state at no more than 50 miles an hour, generally closer to 35 or 40, and basically gridlocked traffic. However, I was able to sidestep the previous exit problem which we had in Beaverton by making sure I was in one of the right hand lanes before Beaverton. Once we crossed the bridge into Washington the weather got suddenly clearer and everyone started using cruise control again. It was magical. It took us over five and a half hours to get out of Oregon, I hate Oregon so much.
We made one last fuel stop before making the final trip to my Father-in-law's house in Lewis County (why we bought the beer in Oregon, tax free).
Upon arrival, I had a well-earned beer and toasted the bread on my three day old, soggy sandwiches. We got there just in time to watch The Simpsons, and then we watched Batman Begins.
Being in Oregon makes me feel like I've been microwaved, and I don't much like the idea of being microwaved. It's sad though, because I'd very much like to make another trip or two to California in order to visit other friends and relatives, but the thought of going through Oregon again just makes me cringe. 

Sunday morning we had breakfast with Brandy's dad and stopped into some outlet malls in Chehalis before we came back home. we bought a nice suitcase (would've been nice to have it before the trip, yes) a shirt and belt for me, and a shirt for Brandy at a 50% off store called Bass or something like that. And then bought Brandy and Myself each a nice wool cowboy hat from a hat and boots store. I needed one for driving the truck, it just doesn't feel right driving a full sized truck without a cowboy hat.
We took 101 home from Olympia and got back to the house at about 5PM. I was very tired indeed.

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