Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Hey You!

Please scroll down past the postcard to read my latest post!

Sunday, September 2, 2007

Postcard from the Edge

My GREAT friend Christine made this for us. She's a graphic designer now residing in Pensacola, Florida. We met in 1997 when we used to raise hell waiting tables at Mario's in the South Side. You can't begin to imagine. Someday I'll tell you about it. You're too young to handle it. Anyway, she's been in FLA since April and I miss her lots. My next road trip will have to be to visit her.

You can visit her blog at Thanks, Christine!

So, you were wondering where I've been.......

After leaving Jenny's we headed for the Redwood National Park. Once we got past the vineyards and slaughterhouses, northern California reminded me a lot of Oregon. A very natural coastal region. With LOTS of hippies and drifters. This is around the time the word about our trip must have reallly gotten out, because more and more frequently we passed people on the side of the road giving us the thumbs up. News travels fast, I'm really impressed!
By this time I've cut back on how much water I drink and have replaced it with coffee. I need loads of it to keep the road straight in front of me. Luckily, the trend that really took hold in Seattle has oozed it's way across the nation. But this is something I never see back east and hadn't seen anywhere else across the country until we got here. It's like a post-Seattle drip. The roadside drive-through espresso stand.

And Mycol is still asking me why I can't hold my water any longer than I do, which is about as long as half an hour on a seriously caffeinated morning. I pulled over in a very small town to use the restroom. The only one's available were at the dock. They pull oysters from these waters. I spoke to a local woman while I admired the beauty and serenity of the Pacific on an early morning. She said we could get the freshest oysters on the half shell just about anywhere in that area. I don't like oysters on the half shell. Oh, well. But I love this shot.

And this one.

Before this trip I'd been to a lot of places on the west coast. I'd been from San Diego to the Napa Valley, along the northwestern coast of Oregon and along the Columbia River, camped in Gifford Pinchot National Forest in Washington, as well as Seattle and through central Washington as far east as Moses Lake, in the center of the state. I'd always said that Oregon and Washington were some of the most beautiful places I'd been. After this trip I'll have a stronger opinion about what geographical locations of the United States I'm most attracted to, but for now I will tell you that the final word on Oregon and Washington is that I like Oregon much better, but more on that next time. The other thing is, there is a definite feeling I get about being in California. There is an energy there that I pick up on and it exhilerates me. It definitely has to do with all the John Steinbeck I've read and Hollywood's glorification of California, but nevertheless it is there. I even love the sound of the name "California". So, as we traveled north into areas I'd not seen before I started to love it even more. Only I realized that it reminded me so much of Oregon at this point, which, I supposed helped Oregon to edge out Washington in my state ranking. It's big nature out here. It's the diversity of the blue ocean along the rocky shore that disappears into piney forests and mountains all in one view.

As we got closer to the Redwoods we passed a lot of roadside attractions with americana themes. They did not detract from the natural beauty of the area.

We made it to the Redwood National Park in good time that day. The impression on the way in was that it was remote and that we should stop at the last place possible to get gas, which was a single old-fashioned gas pump on the side of the road between a small convenience store and a place that sold wood-carved bears, lighthouses, windmills, etc. We did stop for gas there and then drove in on a road that was suddenly out of the bright wide open and into the depths of the forest, with sky-high trees on either side, everything shady green and brown with little dapples of sunlight dropping down from above. We entered the park, got our map, and chose a short hike on the Lady Bird Johnson trail, the "jewel" of the park where you could find examples of everything the Redwoods has to offer. Here is the first tree that everyone gets to see up close. It stands in the parking lot at the trailhead and greets them.

I know I haven't posted basically since I've been home. I promise to continue with a little more dedication from now on. Before hitting the road I was a little scared. I was worried about how much it would cost, about what we would do if the car broke down, about whether or not all my "stuff" at home would be alright, and most of all about the safety of my family and how I felt most responsible because it was my idea and I was the driver and obviously Mycol's safety is my responsibility anyhow. Now that I'm back I feel like I should have been more scared to return! Life seems rather ho-hum here, and it should scare the shit out of me! I wanted to come home and share my experiences with everyone, but like any big adventure you can't really share it, not like you can with the people you went with. And besides, while you are still on some kind of high from it all, at home no one has moved an inch, they are all still exactly as you left them, like chess pieces on the board waiting for someone to start a game. And this static atmosphere will suck you right back in, until you feel almost like you never went anywhere and you're back to worrying about all the same old things. So, maybe I haven't posted because I've been trying to figure out how not to get dragged back down by the ever-churning cycle of school days, work days, and chores. Ah, well, I wish I was in Montana. See you back here next post, where I'll take you on a tour of the Redwoods where we camped the night before heading up to Oregon.