Friday, June 03, 2011

The Oregon Trail, Day 4: May 30, 2011

New to this? Start with the prologue, Day 1, Day 2, and Day 3!

10:30 am, OR 126, between Redmond OR and Sisters OR: Having long since departed the Super 8 for the last time, we pass a farm featuring something called "Operation Santa Claus live reindeer". It occurs to me that I've never actually seen a reindeer until now.

10:52 am, Sisters OR: This town was either part of the Oregon Trail, or it really wants unsuspecting passersby on Highways 20 and 126 to think it was.  We're disappointed not to witness a buffalo stampede.

12:02 pm, OR 126 west of Sisters OR: We stop at the McKenzie River to see some nature.

Look how clear this water is!

1:37 pm, Eugene OR: Eugene seems to be closed.  The whole town.  Granted, it's a college town on a federal holiday during the summer, but you'd think there would be something more interesting than a Wendy's open for lunch.

4:21 pm, Coos Bay OR: These "sour nightcrawlers" I bought in that Eugene drugstore aren't sour at all.

5:46 pm, US 101 south of Port Orford OR: The Pacific Northwest's version of the West Coast is gloomy, almost like you're living a black-and-white photograph.  Artsy people with tricked-out cameras, take note.

7:32 pm, Redwoods National Park: Thanks to Josh, I've learned something about redwoods.  Since they're so massive, redwoods are really bad at using their vasculature to transport water to their extremities.  That's why coastal redwoods only grow in foggy regions: they need to be in saturated moist air and absorb water through their limbs.

8:08 pm, US 101 south of Redwoods NP: Elk!  Aside from in burger form at lunch yesterday, I'm not sure if I've ever seen one of these.  Add that to my list of new animals for this trip.

9:00 pm, Eureka OR: We stumble upon Lost Coast Brewery, almost by accident.  Driving through Eureka, we're all getting pretty hungry, when Josh notices a Lost Coast sign on a building to our right.  It's our third brewpub experience in as many days, and we're not complaining.  Their Downtown Brown is one of my favorite beers in the world; the Raspberry Brown somehow manages to surpass it.

11:17 pm, somewhere down US 101: In an effort to stay awake, the evening's entertainment has become another over/under game.  We're guessing the population of various Northern California towns, which is fun because none of us has any idea what to guess.  I offer the over/under of 3800 on McKinleyville; Josh takes the under and is clearly defeated.  While I don't remember what the bet on Garberville was, whoever took the under was probably the winner.

1:06 am, further down US 101: I realize I've failed at my passengerly duties, having been asleep for about the last half hour.

2:42 am, Berkeley CA: Back home at last.  Through detours, pit stops, and side trips, we've managed to more than double the length of time it took to get to Oregon on Friday, but it was totally worth it.  I return to Berkeley a few hundred dollars poorer but don't much care because this has been the most fun I've had in months.

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