Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Big Trees and a Word on the Weekend

As far as I can tell, the rumors about the Pacific Northwest are true: there are big trees and there is plenty of fog.

My recent hostage and I left Berkeley a week ago and drove north on 101. We drove to Portland via Redwoods National and State Parks, the Oregon coast, and Mt. Hood National Forest. We're staying with another Bowdoin-ite and are ever-grateful for his offerings of shelter and shower. I plan on being in Portland for a couple of days before jetting up to Seattle to take my next hostage, this one to accompany me into Olympic National Park over the long weekend. A word on showers, weekends, and other musings below:
  • Okay, okay, I know. I've always known. Redwoods are big trees. I've seen the pictures of people driving their cars through the trunk. I even had the National Geographic centerfold pin-up of that gorgeous Redwood on my wall in my last apartment. But still they are something you have to see in person to really comprehend. The Redwoods are so big, in fact, that they pretty much blocked out my satellite radio for the entire time we were driving through them. Might I recommend creating a mix CD or an iPod playlist before entering into the Redwood Forest via automobile...
  • Perhaps it is the long hours in the car that makes me more susceptible to crack up about something, but I find that signs for signs hilarious. In a number of places up Route 101 there will be a sign on the road that will say the following: "Information Sign 1/4 mile." I know we're in a recession and all and we're trying to create jobs for people, but these signs seem a tad excessive.
  • Weekends are wretched. I hate them. I know you don't understand because you're likely reading this from your little cubicle in some big office building counting down the hours until Friday releases you into the upcoming long weekend. When I left DC I had a realization that basically my life is now Saturday after Saturday - and what a wonderful feeling that was! But as a camper in national and state parks of late, I have come to loathe Saturday. The problem with Saturday is that everyone else wants to come hang out in the woods, too. This means my choice of campsites becomes limited (or eliminated entirely in some cases), there are obnoxious children riding circles around the parking lots on noise-making bicycles, and inevitably there is more traffic on the road. I would love nothing more than Tuesday to be put on repeat until I am finished with this excursion.
  • I have learned along the road that while campfire smoke is, in my opinion, a lovely smell, it only does so much when acting as a perfume to cover up other hiking odor. If my only goal on this trip were to really come to appreciate cleanliness, then I'd consider mission accomplished. This would be in the W-kind-of-way with a banner and all, not the Obama-kind-of-way where it is a rather sophisticated argument about what success really means. No big words here: I appreciate a shower - it is perhaps the greatest achievement of civilization.

The land of really really big trees

The Pacific Ocean was a steady companion on my left side from L.A. to Portland

Made it to Oregon

I knew I would like Oregon when the first place we stopped into had this sign posted by the counter

Sunset on the Oregon coast

1 comment:

  1. When we were in the redwoods, the size was so disorienting that I kept expecting to see enormous animals running through the woods.