Monday, August 17, 2015

Oregon Trail Days 6-8

I arrived in Oregon over two weeks ago, but it took awhile to get the entries written for my roadtrip. I'll be posting one each day or so.

I got in late to my cousin's place in Los Angeles. She lives near Alhambra.

The view from her house:

It was really great catching up with R, since we haven't seen each other in, ohhh, about 9 years. She has a dog named Artie who's a total sweetheart. I wanted to steal him, but he wouldn't have fit in my car. ;)

Here he is, giving me serious side-eye:

I rested there for a day before continuing north toward Oregon. Fun fact: California is a really big state. I only got as far as Weed before I needed to stop for the night on Friday. I was on a bit of a schedule since I had an interview on the Oregon coast on Saturday. Unfortunately, the people in the room above me at the hotel in Weed were elephants. Seriously, the ceiling shuddered from their movements. I wasn't able to sleep until after they went to bed. At midnight. And I had to wake up at 5 AM. Ugh.

Finally, I arrived in Oregon!

It took several more hours to get to my coastal interview, and then another hour back toward Portland to my hotel, but the trip was done. Finally.

I spent about a week simultaneously job hunting and apartment hunting. I ended up with an apartment in Vancouver, WA (just across the river from Portland) and a job in an eastern suburb of Portland. The commute is annoying, but the job itself is good. So yay! All settled. All done. All good. Goodnight. <3

Sunday, August 16, 2015

Oregon Trail Day 5

I arrived in Oregon over two weeks ago, but it took awhile to get the entries written for my roadtrip. I'll be posting one each day or so.

Grand Canyon Day!!!

The parking attendant was so amused by T-Rex, who has been sitting beside me this entire trip, that she accidentally marked my car as having two occupants. Then she said goodbye to him as we drove away and into the park.

I was on the south side of the canyon and walked along one of the trails on the rim.

I stopped to sit for a moment and found a lizard.

Obligatory Grand Canyon selfie:

I'm so friggin' pale, I garner concern from perfect strangers:

Dude: I hope you have sunblock.
Me: Oh yeah!
Dude: 'Cause I need sunglasses just to look at you.
Me: I'll probably be burnt anyway.

Spoiler: I totally got burnt anyway.

On into California, I spotted my first palm tree in Needles, CA. I also noticed a distinct lack of billboards on this part of the highway. That changed as I got closer to civilization, but it was really weird to go from billboards, billboards everywhere to nada.

The mountains here look more like big sand dunes than mountiains:

This picture is blurry but the hills here look like Morla from The Never-Ending Story.

Next stop: Oregon!

For more pictures, click here. Password: dysentery

Oregon Trail Day 4

I arrived in Oregon over two weeks ago, but it took awhile to get the entries written for my roadtrip. I'll be posting one each day or so.

Unlike Bugs Bunny who fails to take a left turn and ends up in a bullfighting ring...

...I took a right turn on my way out of Albuquerque and went to the Petroglyph National Monument at Boca Negra Canyon.

It seemed someone decided to add their own glyph to one of the rocks. (Note the unhappy face.)

The view from the canyon was amazing.

(You can see my car in the above picture.)

I stopped at a truck stop which had a lookout point for the Great Continental Divide

I entered Arizona at about noon that day.

I had intended to drive to the Grand Canyon that day, but when I saw a sign for the Petrified Forest National Park, well, I had to make a detour. On the north side of the highway is the Painted Desert; on the south side is the Petrified Forest.

The Painted Desert

An attempted murder at a lookout point:

Petrified Forest

I made some friends at the park museum:

Near the end of my drive that day, I saw another sign for a meteor crater site. Naturally, I had to stop there too. As I walked toward the front door, a family was leaving and the father stated that it was biggest waste of money. I got a little worried at that point and found out what he meant at the counter: Tickets were $18.00. I was already at the counter and it would have been really awkward to turn around and walk out at that point, so I ponied up and went out to the crater.

At least I got some good pictures:

Mount Elden in the distance as I drove into Flagstaff:

Next stop: Los Angeles

For more pictures, click here. Password: dysentery

Thursday, August 6, 2015

Oregon Trail Day 3

I've already arrived in Oregon, but it took awhile to get the entries written for my roadtrip. I'll be posting one each day or so.

I was about to Washita County in Oklahoma when I noticed that the dirt was red, rather than brown. As an Illinoisan this struck me as really cool and my first real sign that I was in the Southwest.

I honestly expected the “Welcome to Texas” sign to be more ostentatious, being Texas and all. So you can image my disappointment at just this:

I drove through Texas (from Nashville, TN to California, actually) on I-40 and it’s right on the border of Gray and Donley counties. The road itself weaves in and out of the two counties, such that while I didn’t notices the curves in the road very much, I certainly noticed that I entered Gray county after leaving Donley county after leaving Gray county after leaving Donley county. I was super confused until I looked at a map just now.

At the 110 exit for Groom, Tx, there’s a huge cross. I’m familiar with the one in Effingham, IL which was built after this one. I wonder if Groom’s cross is lit up at night like Effingham’s.

Now, on my road trip, I religiously drove about 5 miles an hour over the speed limit. I refused to go any faster because I really really really didn’t want to get pulled over, especially with all my stuff in my car and with an out-of-state license plate. So there’s this White SUV in front of me but in the left lane going the speed limit and since that’s slower than me, I’m going to end up passing the SUV on the right. When I got up closer, I realised the SUV was a sherriff’s car and was like, “I’llllllll just slow down a bit then, shall I? Good. Yes. Driving the speed limit isn’t so hard after all, now is it? Noooooo.” Thankfully the Sherriff SUV exited a mile or so later.

There is a county in Texas called Deaf Smith.

Shortly after that, I entered New Mexico, Land of Enchantment (A far more exciting sign than Texas’.)

I pulled over in Tucumcari to take pictures of Tucumcari Mountain. It’s actually a butte, but they call it a mountain, because why not.

I stopped to go to the Mesalands Dinosaur Museum in Tucumcari, NM but it was closed on Mondays. So sad.

Throughout New Mexico I noticed signs stating, “Scheduled Improvement. Cost : $$$$$$ estimate of Completion: Fall 2014” It’s Summer 2015….. I didn’t get a picture of any of the the signs and couldn’t find any online either, so you’ll just have to take my word for it.

There was a roadside stop that had several billboards promoting it for miles before getting anywhere near it. Once approaching the exit, the billboards went on overdrive:

That night I stayed at Nativo Lodge in Albuquerque. It was a 3-star hotel I booked through Priceline using the Name Your Own Price function. I highly recommend it. The view from my room:

More pictures are available here. Use password: dysentery

Next Stop: Flagstaff

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Oregon Trail Day 2

I've already arrived in Oregon, but it took awhile to get the entries written for my roadtrip. I'll be posting one each day or so.

I drove past a sign for Bucksnort, Tennessee. I practically snorted as I laughed at that one. Because I doubt anyone would believe that such a town exists, I found a picture of the sign*:

As I approached Jackson, TN, I saw trees covered in vines. I’m not sure if the relationship between the trees and the vines is parasitic or symbiotic, but it makes for some really cool looking trees.

Did you know that Bass Pro Shops has a pyramid? It’s in Memphis, TN. They have alligator feeding there, according to the website. Now I’m a little sad I didn’t stop.

Also on the road I spotted an awesome little hot rod.

That night I stayed in an airbnb for the first time annnnnd it was awkward. She had messaged me that the key was in the mailbox. I assumed this was because she might not be home when I got there, so when I saw cars in her driveway, I knocked instead. I woke her up from a nap apparently. At 7:30 PM. And then she told me that her parents were also staying that night, and yeah. She maybe should have told me that before, 'cause that's weird. I didn't actually see them, but still. I didn’t really interact with her after that because she left and then I left to grab a bite to eat and went to bed as soon as I got back. Fun fact: Driving for 10 hours straight can make me tired. Who knew? Also, I know I booked the room for just one person, but she didn’t even bother to make the second bed. It just had the blankets setting on top of it. That seemed a bit unprofessional/lazy. She was still in bed when I left in the morning, so that was that.

Next Stop: Albuquerque

*All pictures are mine except when explicitly stated.

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Oregon Trail Day 1

I've already arrived in Oregon, but it took awhile to get the entries written for my roadtrip. I'll be posting one each day or so.

First, I had coffee with E and then she helped me pack up my car. I’m not sure I could have gotten all that in without her help. So, thanks, E!!

The drive to Nashville was the shortest, only 5.5 hours or so. I almost stopped at the Red Skelton Comedy Museum because I kept seeing signs for it along the highway, but the entrance fee was more than I wanted to pay at the time.

Once in Nashville, I met up with L, who I’ve known online for many years but only just now got to meet in person. She has three cats and I’m sorry to say that I failed to get any pictures of us together or the cats. Ansel, in particular, was very cuddly. 

We had pizza and watched The World’s End, the final Cornetto film. I don’t know how I managed to know so little about the movie to be surprised when the aliens made their first appearance, but I did. Obviously, my spoiler avoidance game is top notch. Like, I was so surprised by Pegg’s first encounter with the blank, that I thought he was just hallucinating and it took Frost seeing the blank bleeding blue on the floor to make me realize, ‘oh, so that’s where this story is going.” And it was a great story. 

I left pretty early in the morning because I wanted to be in Oklahoma City by 7PM.  Long drive, that was.

Next stop: OKC