Aug 7, 2007

Road Trip Wrap Up

Im finally home. 11,126 miles. Approximately $4500 total.

Seattle by Ferry.

The ferry was cool. It was only $14 to have my car taken over the straight to Seattle. It was quite a pleasant experience. The ferries are pretty quick, and MASSIVE, they must have fit over 50-100 vehicles on it. Going into Seattle I could watch the cityscape grow, but more impressive was Mt. Rainier and I think Mt St Helens in the distance horizon. It may be some other Mountains. Well actually, most likely… but mentioning St Helens is a great segway to the next paragraph.

I visited Mt. St. Helen’s by the way… it was covered with heavy fog and rain so the 50 miles trip into the mountains was quite a waste of time. I guess I can just google it and say “oooooo!”

Washington Coast – Olympic National Park.

A tremendously huge park, all beautiful. It is a rainforest area, but during my trip it was all blue skies, and mild temperatures that made me feel like I was living John Denver’s “sunshine on my shoulders makes me happy.”

There are plenty of trails to take into the rainforest’s lush forest, but I stayed mainly on the coast on the beaches and granite rocks that you can climb on that creep into the ocean. It was quite wonderful, I saw humongous multitudes of orange and burnt umber colored starfish clinging onto the exposed rocked. There were plenty of anenomies too. Quite interesting to see them in their natural environment.

In Washington, I visited the MOST NORTHWEST point in the continental US. It is on a Indian Reservation. I picked up a bracelet you may see me donning from now on. I wanted to have something to remind me of my trip across the US, thus commemorating the great time in my life, my life changing trip, in which I accomplished something great… which is having urinated in over 40% of all of the United States.

The bracelet was made by an Makah Indian… with supplies he/she bought at Hobby Lobby.

From Olympic, I headed to a Olympic hostel in Port Townsend, Washington.

The community was an Victorian communities so quaint and beautifully decorated ornate Victorian homes were clustered inland, and on the coast fishing boats lumbered in and out of the harbor.

The Olympic hostel was most wonderful. I had been only getting a few hours of sleep bouncing around from hostel to hotels, and the peaceful atmosphere allowed me a nap and a good nights sleep.

The hostel is located within an old WWII military base of some sort. It is now mostly a small college campus surrounded by the occasional abandoned artillery bunkers and gun emplacements overlooking the bluffs.

You could look over the straight and see what I assume was British Columbia mountainline. Quite beautiful and interesting to be able to actually see over a body of water to another country.

The dorms were military dorms converted into a hostel so the walls were all white and clean. Quite a stark difference compared to some of the hostels Ive slept in.

I also found an independent T-shirt/Screen printing shop called BADD HABIT. They had cool shirts, and I also hit them up about doing some designs for them. I have to contact them, but Im going to try to sell my designs to a small, yet growing company to get my name and designs out.

Astoria, Washington

There wasn’t much here besides the house that was used in the film Goonies. I was hoping that it would be Goonie city, but they didn’t even have memorabilia except a plastic bracelet and some shirt with a skull that said Goonies. Apparently its not a hot spot… I visited the house that was in the film, but it already had someone else living in it, they had a Jewish flag out front. The end.

They did have a 4 mile bridge over the bay though. It was interesting to see the seagulls flying against the traffic pretty close above along the 4 miles. I would assume that the draft/drag created by the speeding cars allows them to glide/hover with little work across the bay.

Near Astoria Hostel

Not quite sure where it was, but I stayed at a hostel where I met a few British boys bicycyling over 260 down the coast of Oregan to Mexico. Pretty impressive. They seemed to come from a well to do family so they were quite proper and intelligent. Very privileged and having had experienced quite a bit in their early life (twins of 18 and 20 years old), they had quite a few stories to tell. I also met another traveler I befriended. We went to Astoria, and he was quite excited to get the picture of the Goonies home as it is a cult movie back home in London? I met so many people, Ive forgotten where they have come from and their names. He was the nicest fellow.

I met the woman who was running the place. She invited me to meditate with her, and I complied. I have never really meditated before unless you count just thinking deeply meditating. It was quite interesting… with my eyes closed sitting still for 20 minutes, my body became numb and I felt as if I were just in my head… even physically… a floating head. I believe its more because the frame of reference when you are quiet and have your eyes closed, you lose all sense of the things around you, and in the space of darkness your brain starts to try to build a frame of reference. I didn’t reach any epiphanies or transcendence, but it was interesting nonetheless.

Twighlight Zone Hostel

Somewhere from Oregon to Montana, I spent a night at some hostel. I don’t remember where it was or what it was called. I had been driving all day, and it was the only place to stop without blowing $70 on hotel room. ($16 per night) It was very odd. It had a eclectic mix of travelers, and they had a no lock out policy so people came in and out as they wanted.

There was a very social hitchhiking German, a super friendly Islamic guy, a black male dressed in a black leather jacket, black pants, sunglasses, and a hat who claimed he was the king at the Chess, a paraplegic girl who had a sour look on her face except when she chimed in with the answer when someone didn’t know the name of a movie, or some other mundane conversation topic on the tip of their tongues.

There was an older somewhat hick couple from Florida, a young teenage boy who seemed to be their son, the white hostel manager girl who had two adorable twins who a hankering for singing lyrics to some gangster rap song… gangster, not rap, or r&B, gangster rap.

Once a tall lanky Jewish guy with his yamaka? with his equally tall and lanky girlfriend who looked oddly attractive like the girl from The Shining walked in and out of the door.

The early shift manager was a typical tattooed, pierced skater who smelled like he hadn’t showered in several days.

There were about 5 other people that came and went out this hostel, a small home with another shed made into a sleep bunkhouse. I ended up sleeping on the floor as the bunk bed swayed too much when I rolled over. It was a small bunkhouse, and by morning there were about 8 people total in a room smaller than my apartment living room.

It was a very odd place. Everyone was super friendly, but it seems that most travelers at hostels are… I mean, everyone is a stranger when you are a traveler, it would get pretty lonely if you kept to yourself.

It’s like a powerline with a bunch of birds on it. The birds all going in some direction rest temporarily on the powerline, chattering about meaningless things before they go to the next place.

At night I was going to sit on the porch next to the big bush, but as I was sitting down, I saw that someone was sleeping in a sleeping bag at my feet under the bush.

Rest of the visit…

I visted Mt Rushmore. Pretty impressive. See the pictures.

I drove through Sturgis. On the way there, I must have passed hundreds of bikers anticipating the upcoming events.

I visited Crazy Horse. I think it will be much more impressive once finished. They had a wonderful Indian history and art museum though. I thought it was a scam that you have to pay to for parking, and then you have to pay to get a bus ride closer to the actual monument.

I visited Devils tower. Much more impressive on the internet and drawings. I didn’t even pay to get in the park itself because I could just take pictures from the road leading to it.

Wall South Dakota. I passed through it around 9 pm. Much was winding down, but definitely a very touristy and interesting place to shop and see weird things like a monstrous jack rabbit statue, a large fake gorilla playing piano, etc. Lots of neat souvenirs.

I drove about 26 hours the last day. It was from Big Timber, Washington, to Nashville. Once I started eastward from Washington, I felt as if my trip was pretty much over. Driving over 1500 miles over the span over daylight, night, to daylight has to be one of the hardest things Ive done physically. I took a nap at a truck stop for 15 minutes once. Its amazing how much the mind will rejuvenate in just 15 minutes. Its more the mind than it is the body.

There was another time I drove for just as long. From Port Townsend, through Seattle, to Big Timber, Washington.

I had thought about stopping in Seattle, but I found the traffic of people and cars too annoying to desire to stop at the tourist traps. So I continued on. I stopped near Bozeman, WA for a hotel room around 11 pm, but when the attendant told me $85.95 for a room, I decided to keep driving all night. He tried to scare me by telling me that there was a forest fire where I was headed and tried to offer me a whopping $5 discount, but I was more insulted at his sales pitch more than anything else…

So… around 1 am, I drove past, A HORRENDOUS MOUNTAIN ON FIRE!!!

It had to be the coolest, (yet not awesome in the sense of Oh how horrible a natural disaster) thing I have ever seen. The mountain had been eaten by fire and smoldering flames covered the whole mountain…

BUT BUT!!! I continued on a few miles further… and two mountains converging were in the process of burning down. It wasn’t just smoldering small dissipating flames, it was covered in huge trees totally on fire. It was most awesome. Im glad I skipped Seattle.

I couldn’t take pictures as it was illegal to stop and police were scattered to keep traffic going…

Another beautiful thing…. Because I skipped Seattle. I reached the Tetons area right as the sunrise was coming up.

It was probably the most beautiful thing I have seen. The Tetons area is picture perfect. The area is a perfect image created by the efforts of man and nature. Nature spots the tall mountains in the distance with lush trees ranging from lush hunter green to the lightest sage. Man takes the fields of wheat, the color of tan and gold, and perfectly manicures them into expansive rows of visual delight.

The sky turns from a light gray to pink to orange, blues, and lavender, as the sun rises. The greens become ever so richer, the fields of wheat golden and bright. Rivers snake throughout the drive upward into the mountains.

It was a scene I am glad to have seen. I’ve never really awaken to see a proper sunrise, and behoove me that serendipity should allow me to see two things in one night that most will never get to experience.

Jackson Hole – Tetons area. I had a nice breakfast in the ritzy tourist town within the Tetons and Yellowstone area. It may have been a nice place to explore the shops and what not, but again, I became agitated at all the tourists and locals who seemed to be speeding quite fast for it being 7 in the mornings.

I headed through Yellowstone. What punishment!!! I had been awake for 24 hours and to get through Yellowstone, you have to go 45 mph for at least an hour and a half through all the tourists. Apparently, unfortunately, everyone and their mothers are on the road with their families in August. I visited the geyser, and the boiling waterpots. It was moderately interesting. The terrain gets pretty boring though after a hour or so. I had some bison walk in front of my car. That was cool.

I forget if I visted anything else. I don’t think anyone will want to read such a long blog. So this is the end of my trip descriptions, except my top ten.

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