Saturday, November 3, 2012

Road Trip!

It's November! The month of October has been an interesting one. I worked remotely, took the PE exam, and went on a road trip with friends. Just got back from Seattle where our trip ended. Driving up there took the entire week and flying back only took 2 hours. It was a really fun trip. I feel kind of weird writing about this trip in the past tense because my friends are still over there continuing the trip until Sunday. Anyway, a short recap of what we did on the trip.

Monday. Woke up really early and was on the road before sunrise. We were surrounded by fog and mist for most of the morning but met little resistance. We drove past the rolling brown hills and found the redwoods and sequoias as we headed up north. The first highlight of the day was driving through a tree in Leggit. It's one of 3 drive-through trees. I've seen a ton of pictures of these trees in AAA magazines growing up and it was cool to actually do it. The air out there was very clean and fresh. We stopped for lunch at a American/southern food place that had interesting physics stuff, a nice view, good food, and really big portions. We ate leftovers from that stop for a while afterwards. We did some scenic drives and a really short hike and got to our first hotel in Crescent City. The whole city seems to be in its off season. We ran up to a lighthouse around dusk and saw the shoreline. We were all still full from lunch so we decided to get snacks and food from Safeway instead of going out to a restaurant again.

Tuesday. We left California for Oregon and started out to Crater Lake. We got reports of the closure of Rim Drive, which goes around the lake, due to snow. We got to the visitor center and got recommendations for two trails, one flat, easy stroll along the lake and another that summits at a peak that involved trails with a lot of snow. Of course, we chose the one with the peak. It was cold, windy, and wet on the trail but we got good views of the lake and surrounding area. After this exhausting hike, we warmed up in Rim Village and then realized that the drive to Eugene was going to be twice as long as planned due to the closure of Rim Drive. We made it Eugene, had southern food again, and collapsed in our hotel room.

Wednesday. We were really lucky the first two days with sunshine and no rain. It started raining on Wednesday as we headed towards Portland. We stopped in Tillamook and toured their cheese factory which had a viewing area of their packaging room and free samples. Unfortunately we missed out on the beef jerky factory that was right next door. We had a change in our diet for the first time and got Mexican food at a really authentic Mexican place. We started sharing food after that first big meal and cleaned out our meals instead of trying to figure out what to do with leftovers. After two attempts to find the rocks that were characteristic of the Oregon coast in the beach town of Canon Beach, we finally drove up the Ecola State Park and found a scenic lookout. It was a nice spot that would have made a really picturesque picnic spot had it not been freezing cold and extremely windy. I really should have tried jumping to see if I could fly for a second or two. We got to Portland before it got dark and browsed through Powell's Bookstore and REI before heading to a microbrewery for dinner. Powell's Bookstore reminded me of all those hours spent at Barnes and Nobles when it still existed in Oakland. We picked up another friend from the airport and now have a full car.

Thursday. We were tired of trampling through the rain and cold and decided to tour Portland instead of running out to Mt St. Helen. We hit a cute little brunch place, walked through Washington Park, went tea tasting, got ice cream, and met up with more people for dinner. This was a pretty chill day. It ended up being a pretty dry day until the evening.

Friday. We got up early again and drove up the Seattle where we executed a pretty well planned day. Our first stop was Pike Place Market where we saw people tossing fish, got in line at the first Starbucks, picked up some smoked salmon, and had lunch at a seafood place right in the market. We then went on an underground tour of Seattle where we learned about the old city center and walked through some of the underground. All the civil engineers in our group got worried about the seismic and tsunami risk for Seattle because these underground structures did not seem up to date with the current seismic standards. After wandering the undergrounds, we went up the Space Needle and got a 360 deg view of the Seattle area. We were lucky again that it didn't start raining until after we got off the Space Needle. We drove out to The Center of the Universe and met up with one of my friends for dinner at a Caribbean place. My friend drove me out to the airport and I took a short flight back to the Bay Area.

Time to plan our next trip, guys!

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