Thursday, July 29, 2004

A picture or two

I was planning on putting more pics here, but haven't quite gotten to it. Uploading pictures to ClubPhoto is painful over dialup, and I'm too tired/lazy to resize the ones I want to show manually. I did send a few yesterday, so I'll whet your apetite:

Bouquet Toss

Chandelier Tree     Northern California Coast

Mixed bag:

The Good

  • saw Crater Lake, several nifty waterfalls and lots of chipmunks.

The Bad

  • accidentally got a massive speeding ticket (was busy listening to John Edwards' speech at the Democratic Convention, not paying any attention to my speed until I saw the blue lights.)

  • Despite this, pushed on to Eugene, only to find out that it is hosting the "Junior Olympics." This means that virtually every hotel room in town is full of rowdy teens. After trying 4 places (and calling others out of town,) I found one with a cancellation. My room has a stuffed dalmation in the corner. Scary.

  • Realized that I totally overbooked this trip. Something's going to have to give. Think tomorrow I'm going to head for the coast and meet up with my parents for a day or two. Not sure what after that.

  • Not really bad, but just funny: I ran into the stuck SUV people again Crater Lake. They thanked me again for pushing.

Wednesday, July 28, 2004

"This is definitely the best drive-thru tree I've ever seen"

The day started out with a cruise up the remains of Highway 1, later merging onto US 101. The fog burned off early on, and the scenery was again gorgeous. Along the way I took a quick detour to drive through a massive 2400-year-old redwood tree. (The quote above was overheard from one of the bystanders.)

Somewhere near the California-Oregon border, I crossed a bridge and saw a herd of elk lounging on the banks of the river. There was a turnoff ahead, so I pulled over to see if I could get a closer look.

Several other people had the same idea. At first I followed their lead and bushwhacked my way through a grove of stinging nettles (ouch!) to get closer. The view wasn't that great, however.

On my way back to my car, I realized that there was a dirt road leading down to the gravel and sand-covered river bed. I was driving a rental car, and there was no way I was going to risk burying it. But I walked down the road to get a closer look.

Some folks, however, didn't share my prudence. One dumbass in particular drove his front-wheel drive SUV down, and then proceeded to bury it up to the axels in sand. His driving showed a remarkable lack of common sense -- he was able to back up, but rather than simply backing out of the sand onto firmer ground, he went a few feet and then zoomed forward to have another go.

After watching this little show for a few minutes, I offered to help push. The guy's wife also got out to help, and a Korean tourist pitched in. The three of us waded into the sand and began frantically pushing, eventually dislodging the underpowered SUV. Unfortunately, however, I lost my footing in the sand when the vehicle started moving and did a split -- ripping a rather noticable hole in my pants.

Not content to be a Good Samaritan/sucker once in a day, about an hour later I was driving down a road and was flagged down by two adults and about 10 kids standing in the middle of the road. A shirtless guy explained to me that they were out of gas, and asked for a ride to a gas station. I wasn't in a huge hurry, so he climbed in with one of the kids and we headed to a Chevron station about 10 miles up the road. While riding, however, it emerged that the guy didn't actually have money to pay for the gas. So I ended up subsidizing a few gallons for them. It may be they were really in trouble -- or that they have just hit on a scam for getting a few gallons of free fuel. Who knows? In any case, I'll live without the $6.

Spent the night at a Motel 6 in Medford, Oregon. Today I'm off to Crater Lake, and then heading back toward the coast.

Tuesday, July 27, 2004


Ended up doing the last hour in the dark after a slow drive up CA route 1 yesterday. Spectacular scenery during the brief interludes between clouds and fog, though. Accidentally went through San Francisco again when I took the wrong turn onto the Oakland Bay Bridge. Once I got back out across the Golden Gate, headed to Muir Woods for an hour or two, and then off up the coast. Ate dinner in a decent but very overpriced place designed to look sort of Russian. Amazingly managed to find a $48 hotel room. That's where I am now, but heading out soon. Hopefully will at least make Oregon today. And hopefully the fog will go away so that I can actually see the scenery!

Monday, July 26, 2004

Back again

The laptop has randomly started working again, but in a rush right now. Might be able to post more later. Here's the quickie version of what I did over the weekend:

  • Rode the train into SF with my brother and mom. Walked up to Union Square. Took a cable car across the city to the Hyde Street Pier/Ghirardellhi Square area. Wandered around. Took the Muni back through the city, and then rode the train back to Pleasanton. Changed and went to the rehearsal dinner at the Pleasanton Hotel in old town.

  • Sunday, we got up late, went to "Dean's," a local fixture that serves every omelet under the sun (including some with clams and other oddities). Mine was hot peper, Italian sausage, and spinach. Very good. Then my mom and dad went antiquing, while my brother and I drove across the Oakland Bay Bridge, through San Francisco, and across the Golden Gate Bridge. We then stopped and walked around the bridge for a bit, and then hightailed it back to Pleasanton for the wedding. We got dressed and headed over to the Wente vineyards in Livermore, where the wedding was held. There were about 120 people there, and dinner and dancing went on into the night.

  • Getting a late start today for several reasons, but my plan is to drive up the California coast toward Oregon.

If the laptop keeps working, I'll try to post a few pictures tonight.

Sunday, July 25, 2004

In the dark...

Unfortunately it appears that the backlight in my laptop screen has suddenly up and died. Right now I'm managing to use the machine by aiming a desklamp at the screen and squinting, but it's not pleasant. So I may be somewhat out of touch for the remainder of the trip.