January 02, 2009: Day 7: Cottage Grove, OR to Grover Beach, Ca
Yup – that’s right, Cottage Grove to Grover Beach… PHEW – a long day.
I had really been freaking myself out about the drive today, the mountains between Roseburg, OR and Redding are really big and twisty, and snowy! The weather in the PNW has been ugly, and while I had chains… I didnt really know how to put them on, and I didnt really want to have to figure it out.
This morning I got going fairly early, I was driving by 10:30, so that I would hit the passes starting around noon, I figured by then it would be warm enough for the ice to melt, but the temperature would not have started dropping, which means… fingers crossed… no snow, no chains. I decided no Bruce Photos this morning, as I was so focused (read freaking out) about the drive – I just wanted to “get ‘er done”.
The passes turned out to be fine, I ended up driving through snow flurries for most of the time, and definetly went through a few areas where there was ALOT of snow, but the 5 was really well maintained, and so I wasnt required to put on chains… YAY!!!
I hit Redding around 2, and that was too early to stop. I stopped in a Starbucks in Anderson, to try to plot out the next few hours, and realized I was close enough to just drive home. So, I did. However, before I left, I downloaded another lengthy audio book for the next few hours. I have already read Water for Elephants, but I was into the circus concept from a previous book, so I decided to buy it and listen to it again. I am SOOOOOOO glad that I did. The narrators of the book are amazing, it alternates through 2 voices and is really so good, even though I’ve read it a couple of times, already.
In any case, I left Anderson around 4 and I got home about 11pm, and am happy to be here. I really really enjoyed the trip, and the time away. I enjoyed myself immensly, and to Kirstens point below – yes, often the best part of the day was the drive. It is BEAUTIFUL in Oregon, and it was a huge difference to come back into California and immediately be on a 4 lane in each direction highway, with 87,000 other people and all of that. Most of Oregon is 2 lane highway, so … it was an adjustment.
More than anything, I really came away with a few things I needed to reclaim, remember, or re-embrace. I had a lot of time to think in the car, and at night, and more than anything I think I was able to recenter, refocus, and renew… so that I can do the first set of “re-‘s” above. I as able to pinpoint a couple of regrets, and in some cases, I can do nothing to fix them, and in some cases I can do something to get closure, and I’ll be figuring that out going forward.
Thanks so much to everyone for your supportive comments, and funny quips this week. I appreciated it all – it was great to check the email from the phone, and see what you were saying… THANK you for worrying for me, it’s always nice to hear that people care about you in that way.
Thanks again for playing along on my big Winter Adventure… where to next?? I don’t know – but somewhere!
December 31, 2008: Day 5: Newport, OR to Salem, OR
January 01, 2009 Day 6: Salem, OR to Cottage Grove, OR
Happy New Years!
Today(the 31st) was designed to be an easy day, I wanted to find chains, visit the Oregon Aquarioum, and then head to Salem to see my friend Melinda/Kestrel!!
I woke up and got going fairly early, and ended up at the Aquarium, as they were unlocking the doors. The Oregon Aquarium is amazing. It’s a whole set of different buildings, each one has a different exhibit. The exhibits are awesome and are things like Oddwater, Outer Dark, Sea Otters, and an Aviary (of which I did not walk in.). I spent about an hour there, which for me is a long time. You are allowed to use flash photography, which means I got a good set of photos. I’m not a great photographer, so some of these while, not good are the best I could do. I didnt take Bruce in the Aquarium – I decided not to weird out many groups of people.
After the Aquarium, I spent about 40 minutes driving around to each and every tire store/auto store in Newport looking for chains. By law you have to have them to go on soem of the roads, and I didnt have them. I have stopped at every Les Schwab between Brookings and Newport and no one had any, the big snow that had come in the previous week had wiped everyone out. FINALLY – at Pacific Tire and Brake, they had a few random sets, including one that FIT MY CAR – PHHOOOOOOO… so I bought them, and havent seen a flake of snow. The older man working in the store (approx… 70’s) was really nice, and was suprised by my name and the spelling of it- he also gave me some advice on how to put the chains on. He said if I need them, and he’ll pray I won’t – I should stand on the side of the road, with out my sweatshirt, looking pathetic, holding my chains, and some nice man will stop and put them on for me.
Sounds like a plan to me.
I mean, I’m all about being an independent woman, but really if it snows and i need chains, I’m going to need help.
After that, I hit the road and took the 20 over to the 5, and then north to Salem. I arrived at Melinda and Joe’s about 2, and spent a couple of hours chatting, and catching up. They were leaving for Portland around 4:30, so after we got all caught up, I met my two roommates for the night, and they were on there way.
New Years is never a huge deal for me, it was nice to hang out another night on my own, and finish up a couple of books I’ve been wading through. I had fun with the two dogs, and went to bed around midnight. It was really cold, but Pepper the dog helped keep me warm.
I woke up in time this morning to watch the Rose Parade, and watched most of it. I had a nice easy day hanging out at their house, finished up a book, and hung out. They got home about 1 and Mel and I chatted until around 4. I decided to hit the road and come down the 5 a couple of hours to be closer to the big Mountain-ey Pass tomorrow.
I found a hotel in Cottage Grove, and had a lovely dinner of KFC. I havent been eating fast food since September, but I wasn’t able to find another option – sooooo sad times. Oh well.
One additional update about Bruce… Yesterday, getting out of the car at Melinda’s, Bruce took a header into the mud. His whole side was COVERED in mud – sad!! So last night, I rinsed Bruce off in the sink, got all the mud off, and a couple of other spots that were a little icky, and he had a nice ride in the dryer. He came out all fluffy, with no major catastrophe’s. He lost his tag (sad!!) but he is now smelling and looking beautiful!
December 30, 2008: Day 4: Florence, OR to Tillamook OR and back to Newport OR
Hello from Newport, OR – a town, I have spent quality time in today.
This morning started out good, I got up and going slightly earlier than I have the past few days. Last night I figured I wanted to do the Sea Lion Caves, the Aquarium, and the Cheese Factory. I hit the road around 10, and stopped at the Sea Lion Caves.
The Sea Lion Caves are really interesting. It’s a natural cave that has sea lions in it for all but 2 months of the year. They hang out there, swim in the ocean, and live there. During the summer, you see males, females and pups – but this time of the year, you only see females and pups. To get into the cave you have to walk down 37 steps, and then 1200 feet at a 12% grade, and then you take an ELEVATOR 200 feet into the top ledge of a cave. The man at the stairs was kinda apologetic because there were only a “few of them” down there today. Only about 400. FOUR HUNDRED. EEEEESH. The elevator is neat, and the SMELL is interesting. When you hit the cave, you clearly smell… them. A wierd fishy, sea-ey, stinky smell… not vomit inducing, but definetely… smelly. It’s pretty cool, because they are all on the rocks in this gigantic cave doing thier thing – pretty neat. I learned that the ones that are native to Oregon growl to communicate, and the ones from our area bark – and the growlers look at the barkers like foreigners. I found that hard to belive, but totally saw it happen. There was one soul barker in teh bunch, and the others just kept looking at him like he was nuts. After watching the sea lions for a while, I walked up a big set of steps to take some photos outside of the view – the “light house” view – it was pretty cool. When I was done “sea-lion-ing”, I headed back up the 1200 feet walk, and 37 steps – YEEEEESH – steeeeeeeeep!! and aimlessly wandered around the gift shop, before hitting the road. I took alot of photos, so I have put them in a slideshow to save us all the pain of the uploading process.
After leaving the Sea Lion Caves, I head up the road towards the Aquarium. I’ve learend in Oregon that miles does not translate to minutes – so it took longer than I expected to get here. Once I got here, I stopped at Walmart to figure out the phone situation. I bought a “Go Phone” and figured once I got it charged I would either get a new temp number, or get my number transferred to the phone. Sad part was, when I got back to the car with my “Go Phone” and my minute card, I realized that my existing phone charger is not the same size as the new phone, so figured eh, screw it – I would figure it out later. I also scouted out a hotel for tonight. I figured I would go up as far as Tillamook, do the cheese factory, and then head back here and do the Aquarium tomorrow before I leave the coast and head east. This turned out to be a GOOD plan!!
I hit the road and drove teh 60 miles, 90 minutes to Tillamook. It actually took closer to 2 hours because of some roadwork being done. I didnt mind, I’m not exactly on a schedule. I ended up at the Tillamook Cheese Factory around 2, and spent an hour wandering around inside. This is HUGE for me, because I typically burn through those kinds of activities pretty darn quickly. But – watching the whole cheese process – was exciting. I decided at the last minute to take Bruce into the Tillamook Cheese Factory and have him pose for some photo’s. It was totally FUNNY to me to watch people watch me position the frog and then take photos of him. I had the most fun in the gift shop, we found Bruces long lost love – the Green Frog, and it was hard to RIP them apart. In any case – those photos are below – more to come after the photos…
After finishing up at Tillamook, I hit the road and headed back down to Newport. I got checked into the hotel, and figured out the cell phone. As I was on the phone with ATT, getting them to update my GO Phone simm card, an email from my Mom came in. A nice lady, name unknown, called her and said “I found a cell phone in the parking lot at Myrtle Beach… my son said to flip through the names and call the Mom listing… so… did one of your kids lose a cell phone??”” YAY – lady!! So my mom was all excited and gave her the address, and they are going to mail the phone to her house, whoooooot!! Thats great because I won’t have lost all my stuff on that phone – yay!! In the meantime, I was able to get ATT to do what I want, and now I have my cell number on a new phone ($15 bucks for the phone) and am all set. I was able to pull out of my brain, or the computer the phone numbers I need in the next couple of days, and emailed someone for thier number – so it’s exciting! I feel good about this!
After getting all squared away tonight, I headed out to find chains for the car. I went back to the Walmart, returned my unused “minute card” and looked for chains. You should all be VERY impressed that I wrote down my own tire information (and knew where to find it) so I could get chains, but they didnt have any in my size. Neither did Fred Meyer – RATS!! Oh well, I’m going to try Les Schwab tomorrow on my way out of town.
I had a lovely dinner at the Pie Chalet, and am going to enjoy the pie I brought back with me after I finish up here. Tomorrow I plan to hit the road earlier than usual to visit the Aquarium, and then head East to Salem – I’m crashing at Melinda/Kestrel/Kessies house the next couple of nights, so it will be fun to be in a real house with people!! After that I think I head back towards home on the 5 making a few stops along the way!!
Oh yes – I nearly forgot – heres a photo of the hotel room for the night, and Bruce in his lounge chair!
December 29, 2008: Day 3: Eureka to Florence, OR
Well – here I am in Florence, Oregon. Crazy!!
This morning I got up and got on the road, it was raining and I was ready to get out of Eureka, so I didn’t take a photo of Bruce and I in the car – I figured I would grab one when we hit a good stopping place. Northern California on the 101 is soooo pretty, and it doesnt stop at the Oregon Border – it’s gorgeous. Really really strikingly beautiful.
I decided that since I intended to not go that far, I would sorta tool around and do whatever I felt called to do. As I was passing this big red barn, it said “Gift Shop” and “Coffee” and so I decided to stop… unfortuatnely for me, the shop was closed, but … that was okay, I don’t know that I could have gotten out of the car – the red school is also the home of ELK. yes. ELK. Like… a hundred or more of them. Apparently they live there, and aren’t freaked out by cars – but they are GIGANTIC – really big deer, basically!
The next while was spent driving and you can see some of the shots that I took out of my window.
I ended up stopping at the first town across the border of California and Oregon called Brookings. It hadnt stopped raining, and I realized at the hotel the first night I had forgotten my toothpase – DANG!! So – I finally remembered to get some, and figured a Rite Aid would probably have caps of some sort. I don’t really care about the rain, but needed a cap of some sort.
As I was leaving the Rite Aid – I noticed that my front right tire was looking a little… lowish. And, when I pushed on it with my foot (you always see men do this, right?), it gave a little more. So – I stopped at the Chevron station and the nice lady pointed me up the road to a couple of tire stores.
I ended up stopping at the “Les Schwab Tires” and everyone there was VERY nice!! About 40 minutes later, and for $13 bucks, my tire was all fixed up. I had “picked up a screw” and so the guy fixed it and I was back on my way. They were very nice there, and I ended up chatting with “Mr. Drives Heavy Equipment”. He was originally from So Cal – but moved up to Oregon a few years ago with his wife and kids and now works at a the water treatment plant. All in all, it was a quick trip, and was on my way.
I grabbed a couple of photos of Bruce and I before we pulled out. You can see that he was doing some Frog Yoga this morning, and this is us after stopping in Brookings.
By this point it was about 2 – and I was ready to just keep going. I have snacks in the car, so I heated up some tea water, and was on my way. I bought – for 5 bucks, a “plug in mug” that was going to be a Christmas gift for someone, but I ended up keeping myself. I brought it along on this trip, and it has turned out to be great!! Each morning, I grab the tea bags from the hotel room, and take them with me. I fill up my little cup thingee with water, and plug it into the car with the tea bag in it – and about… 20 minutes later, I have hot tea to sip. I can plug and unplug it alon gthe way, and I always have at least a liter of water in the car, so I can fill it up as needed. I also brought along my own mint and sweet orange tea, so I have used it for that as well, and its nice to have a warm drink to sip while driving.
After snapping this photo:
I stopped at a turnout to take some photos. These views are what I had been looking at all day – beautiful.
Bruce was looking a little lonely in the car
So he got out to pose for some photos, and model the new cap.
I was REALLY excited to have been paying attention to grab THIS photo as I was driving along. (And YES MOM – I was safe, it was on a straight away, and there were no other cars coming!)
My goal when I started this morning was to make it as far as Coos Bay – which I did. I thought a thought for Steve Prefontaine as I drove through Coos Bay – but there wasn’t really anything… appealing about Coos Bay – not a nice downtown, or block of hotels, so since it was only about 4 – I kept driving. And driving. And driving! I went through a few small towns, and plowed through Reedsport, which had a Best Western and not much else. About 10 minutes before Reedsport I started seeing signs for the Three Rivers Casino and Hotel, in Florence. It was also about this time that I started digging for my cell phone to do somethign with it, and realized I didn’t have it. As in – its not in the car. Sad. I dug around as much as I could while driving, and figured I would dig around more when I stopped, and it would miraciously unearth itself.
I ended up pulling into the Three Rivers Casino after driving in the dark for about an hour – I’m not a fan of the dark driving on windy roads, so this seemed like a fine place to start. I figured a Hotel/Casino would have a room, and a food option, and – I was right!
I have another great room, for about the same price as I paid the previous nights, and I like it. I ventured out and had dinner at the Buffet and lost my $20 to the “one armed bandit”. Dang. I was up a couple, down a couple, up a couple… and then lost it all. Oh well – maybe next time.
I also spent some time trying to find my freaking cell phone, only to not be able to find it. I had someone call it and it’s not in my stuff thats in the room, so when its not dark out tomorrow I’ll search the car. UPDATE: Carrie Smith informs me she tried to call at a time, where I was already in the car, so I am pretty sure its GONE! – Sad! I have already called and disabled the service, and located a store in… Newport – which looks to be like an hour up the road. ATT says that they can’t swap out my SIMM card, but if they can’t, then I’ll get a cheap Go Phone from Walmart (also in Newport) and then at least I’ll have a phone. Grrrrr – frustrating. The upside is that once I can find a “ATT OFFICIAL STORE” – they can give me back my own number, and I’ll be all set again.
OH – so where do I think the phone is… remember those pretty beach pictures above – I am fairly certain I shoved in the pocket of my fleece, and I was wearing a different fleece than normal – and I think instead of shoving it in my fleece, I dropped it on the ground, and then I left it behind. Sad. Bye Bye Phone…
Tomorrow, I plan to stop at the Sea Lion Caves, the Tillamook Cheese Factory, and maybe the Spruce Goose, as well as Walmart and the phone store. I’m going to figure out where I want to stay tomorrow night, tonight. That’s all for now – enjoy!
December 28, 2008: Day 2: Morgan Hill to…. Eureka
Day 2 began a little rocky, I wasn’t feeling great this morning, and it took a while to buck up and get going. However, once I did – I was off. I hit the road around 10:30. I couldn’t get a great picture of Bruce and I – but this one will have to do. He was in a silly mood and decided to ride upside down for the majority of the trip!
After getting going, I decided I wasn’t going to stop until I got through San Francisco. I stayed on the 101 and when it turns into surface streets, I followed the “helpful arrows” that the City of SF provides…
One of the cool parts was driving across the Golden Gate Bridge, it was amazing!! The lane markings are a bit convuluded though – but it was fun to see people walking across and waving at everyone in the cars. I’ve been very interested in the GG Bridge for awhile, since I had seen a documentary about it – it was awesome.
As you can see, Bruce decided to sit up for the Bridge, but fell down while reaching for a snack!
The rest of the day was spent in the car. I stopped … somewhere? for gas and coffee, and then just drove the rest of the day. The scenery between San Francisco is overwhelmingly beautiful. The 101 is aptly named the Redwood Highway and it’s gorgeous, just the normal 101 is SO pretty! I took one small – one at the Avenue of the Giants – which is a side road that parrellells the 101 through gigantic trees, and then dumps you back on the 101. I have SEVERAL “through the car window” photos – and they are below – but they don’t do justice to what I saw today. It was such an amazingly beautiful view out my window.
As it started to get dark, I decided to stop in Eureka – I was aiming for Arcata, but I didn’t like the hotel options there, so I came back down the 101 and ended up in Eureka for the night. I’m at a Best Western and for a decent rate am in a room with 2 queens and a fireplace. I ended up ordering room service from Marie Calenders (something for everyone at Maries…) and am hanging out in my room, with the fireplace on – it’s lovely!
As you can see – Bruce is excited he get’s his own bed, and claimed the one in front of the fireplace! He really likes the fireplace.
As a side comment, I’m listening to the audio version of “The Shack” by William P. Young – and its excellent. It deals with some heavy topics, but on about the 3 hour mark it deals with the Holy Trinity as well as the outward image of God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit and its PHENOMENAL – it really addresses for me some of the questions and thoughts I’ve had, and if you are at all biblicaly read you IMMEDIATELY recognize something that takes the character a few minutes longer to realize. It really is quite well done, and I’m enjoying it immensely!
I’m not sure where tomorrow will take me, but I’ll be sure to update when I get there.
December 27, 2008: Day 1: Grover to Morgan Hill
Today is Day 1 of my Winter Adventure, as previously established, I’m traveling north with a vague plan. Today I knew that I wanted to head to Monterey to go to the Aquarium, then over to Gilroy to find new gym shoes, and then to find a hotel for the night.
The morning started off well – as you can see Bruce the Frog, was packed and ready to go, and waiting somewhat patiently for the trip to begin.
Before the real trip began, I stopped for coffee (because, ahem, we were leaving the county) and to take a few last minute “before” photos. I didn’t want Bruce to feel left out, so he also got a small coffee.
Later in the morning, Bruce got bored, so decided to do some Frog Yoga to keep himself entertained.
After about 3 hours I arrived at the Monterey Bay Aquarium. I have wanted to go to the Aquarium for years, the thought of being amongst the ocean animals and getting to watch them, just seemed appealing. I found parking pretty easily, and walked about 5 blocks to the Aquarium. The line was pretty short – it took about 10 minutes until I had my ticket.
I took my time and walked through the exhibits, dodging small children, giant strollers, grumpy parents and zoned out teenagers. I saw the sea otters, the jellies, the 6 kids areas, the hanging things, the anchovies, the deep sea items and the gift shop and made my way out – in 40 minutes. Yes, that’s right, I did the entire Aquarium in 40 minutes. Oi. I really liked it, but I’m not a “stand and ponder” person, I’m a “ohhhh thats pretty, lets move on” person. The only one I’ve ever known to go at my pace in a museum-ey type place is C. Smith, and that was refreshing. With this adventure, I’m enjoying able to do things at my own pace. Below are some photos. I caught some video – but its blurry and only my mother will appreciate it…
After my lengthy stay at the Aquarium, I left Monterey, for the next stop. I have been looking for new gym shoes for a couple of weeks, and have been frustrated!!! not being able to find my size, in shoes that fit… the shoe man said they are supposed to fit like “bedroom slippers”, and none of the shoes I found that come in my size (12 Wide in Womens, 10 Wide in Mens) have felt like that – FINALLY today!!! I found some, and bought them – they are even kinda pretty. I fought traffic to find parking in front of the New Balance store and was in and out in about 30 minutes. The nice store worker even pointed me towards a place to find a hotel tonight.
Tonight – I’ve landed in Morgan Hill, and am hanging out at the hotel. I went out to grab Panda for dinner, and was able to reorg some of my packing, so that I have a better grasp on what needs to come in or not each night.
OH YES – and what am i doing about snacks on the road?? Well – since you asked, I’ve re-purposed my IBM craft tote into a snack tote. I have nuts, and trail mix, cookies, tea, and my water bottle all shoved in there so that when I need a snack, I just reach down and voila… I’m all set.
Thats it for today, sorry its not more exciting – maybe tomorrow? Tomorrow, I hope to end up in Arcata, hopefully stopping to see the Winchester Mystery House along the way!
December 20, 2008
It’s OFFICIAL – I am headed to Oregon for a road trip.
The car, Bruce the Orange Frog, and I are headed North. The car doesnt have a name, but she is newly fixed up – thanks to Toyworx – specially Loren, in Oceano. I am totally safe and ready to go. I acquired Bruce in Seattle in 2001, and he’s been my companion ever since. He likes to ride in the front seat, which is nice, and he’s not picky about the music – which is equally nice. He’s also fun because he has velcro hands and feet, so he entertains himself and my own self doing Frog Yoga Poses.
I am still working through all the plans, but its real, I am going. Yay!!