1,783 miles / 2,869 kilometers. That’s how far I drove to pick up my worldly goods which had been in storage in Vancouver, Washington and bring them to my new place in Salinas.
1,320 mi / 2,124 km of which, I drove in two days.
Day One: I drove from Lin’s house in Oakland to pick up the rental truck in Alameda by way of the Webster Tube which is an underwater tunnel connecting the two cities separated by the Oakland-Alameda Estuary…..and I’m a big chicken when it comes to going through underwater tunnels, so it was really scary. What was even scarier was driving that big ol’ rental truck back through the tunnel with its narrow little lanes. Just sayin’. From there, I drove to my son Paul’s house in Sacramento. He’d agreed to travel with me to help me move my things. But he proved to be much more help than that with his invaluable company on the road. He’s a great travel companion and we had some really good conversations and laughter. So, I spent that first night at his house, trying (but not very well succeeding) to get to sleep early because we were going to head out early on…
Day Two: We got up at 1:30am and left at 2:00am. I had a time constraint on this day. It’s a long, convoluted story, but suffice it to say I had to be in Vancouver, Washington before 5:30pm in order to pick up the key to the storage unit before the facility closed for the weekend. Here are a few pictures from the road. I did the driving, Paul took the pictures:
Oregon is just, plain pretty.
That’s Mt. Hood way off in the distance. Mt. Hood means Portland to me and Portland means Vancouver is not far away.
Almost there! Almost there!
God, I was exhausted….
We made it to Vancouver by about 2:30 in the afternoon if I remember correctly. After getting myself completely turned around in Vancouver as to which street to turn on to, Paul got it figured out. By this time I was so loopy from driving I don’t think I knew which way I was going! But we finally got to the storage facility and loaded up the truck. Actually, I’d sold so much of my stuff before going to Viet Nam, we really didn’t have much to load up. We’d seen a Der Weinerschnitzel restaurant on the way to the storage facility and we both said, ‘Der Weinerschnitzel sounds really good. Let’s go there after we load up.” Shows what a long road trip will do to you…..it was delicious.
Heading back south through Portland…..
….that’s Paul wearing his San Francisco Giants shirt reflected in the side mirror. Handsome, isn’t he?
I really love these next few shots. Good job, Paul. From there we drove back south to Salem, Oregon to my sister’s house and fell, exhausted, to sleep….well, Paul did…. I got, maybe, two hours sleep. Just too wound up from the road. I don’t know. I just couldn’t sleep. But, I wanted to leave early the next day because that was going to be an even longer drive – from Salem, Oregon to Salinas, California.
Day Three: So we got up again at 1:30am, gassed up the truck and left Salem at 2:30. And to answer the question floating around the back of your head….yes, I am a glutton for punishment. I don’t know what’s wrong with me. Anyway, practically the minute we got out on the highway, we were immersed in intense fog. Fog is bad enough in the day time, but at night, with your headlights on, all you see…. the only thing you see is white. And seeing nothing but white when you’re excruciatingly tired is mind-numbing. So we stopped in Roseburg to get something to eat and to look at something, anything, not white. I figured if I had some more coffee (I’d got a cup when we gassed up the tank in Salem) and some food in my belly, I’d have a little ‘go power.’ Well, turns out it was ‘no go.’ After giving it a try, I realized I had to sleep. Fortunately a pretty good rest stop was just down the road. Paul fixed up a bed for me in the back of the truck so I could sleep and he attempted, anyway, to sleep in the cab. I actually did sleep this time. About two hours which was all, apparently, I needed. On this day I didn’t have quite as tight a time restraint but I didn’t want to get to Salinas terribly late because I had to get my apartment key from the manager and didn’t want to wake her up in the middle of the night. But I realized we were still making pretty good time, even with the two hour rest. There was still some fog when we got back on the road but not remotely as much, plus it was daylight by then which made driving so much easier.
Here are a few pictures (after daylight) from that morning’s drive:
The fog had actually lifted by this time. It wasn’t nearly as dense as it had been. Do you see down in that valley….it looks like clotted cream….? That’s how dense it was. Pea soup. White pea soup. We passed Cottage Grove and I was trying to remember the name of the next large-ish town/city that we’d be coming to. It also had a two word name like Cottage Grove. We tried thinking of two word names for towns to entertain ourselves and came up with:
The town is named Grant’s Pass. That was my next guess…..I swear.
That’s Mt. McLoughlin up ahead, where I sprained my ankle (I forget which one) when I was a teenager. Yes, I’ve made it my life’s ambition to sprain one of my ankles at least once every decade or so. That last sprain in Viet Nam was good enough for two decades….sheesh….
Once you travel over Mt. Ashland, south into California, the climate changes almost immediately. It’s a striking difference from green, ferny, wet Oregon to dry, arid high desert California. Still beautiful in my opinion, but a drastic difference.
Mt. Shasta looming in the distance.
The sleepy mountain town of Yreka…..so sleepy, in fact you can’t find yourself a cup of coffee on a Sunday morning. We searched and searched and finally gave up. Found some good brew in Weed and kept on down the road. No more pictures on this trip. We were both too tired for it and, well, I was driving anyway. What a long, exhausting trip. Interstate 5 South to U.S. 101 South by way of Highway 680 which was as much up and down as it was north to south. Geez, that highway is a roller coaster! We got to Salinas at dusk and unloaded the truck into my new place (pictures to follow in a future post). Since I had so little stuff, it didn’t take long at all. We were exhausted, not from carrying boxes and moving furniture, but from being on the road for what felt like ever.
Day Four: We woke up early….but not that early….and drove up to Alameda (by way of that scary tunnel again) and returned the rental truck. From there, retrieving my car, I drove Paul home to Sacramento, turned around and drove back to Lin’s. I’d been living with her in her lovely home for nearly two months and it felt odd to be leaving, honestly. She’s been the best of friends through all these years and opened her home to me so graciously. Thank you again, Lin.
Day Five: I packed up the things I had at Lin’s and drove to Salinas.
So, there we are. Or I guess I should say, here I am. In Salinas, about to start my new job in a few days. Getting settled in. Like I said, I’ll post pictures of my new place soon. Oh, I forgot to mention – there’s something wrong with my camera lens. I took a few pictures when I started settling in and then it just stopped focusing. Probably from carrying it everywhere with me. I should be more careful with it, I guess. Anyway, the camera’s okay, but I’ll have to replace the lens…after I get a paycheck or two. In the meantime, I’m learning how to use the phone in my camera.