Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Day 16: "A Few More Stops"

"Road rage, twisters, and dumpy bungalows… you guys, this is awesome..."

States: Montana - Wyoming - South Dakota
Miles: 786.5
Weather: Hot and Rainy

Gas: 128.10
Pizza: 10.70
Motel: 37

Total: 175.80

Signatures: +0

An aquatic sunrise: The blue grandeur of the morning that most of our people miss. I wander through the brisk air alone taking in the flood of the esthetic milieu. The river heard throughout the night is a crystalline mirror reflecting the fiery white leaking over the horizon and streaming into the pearly black riptide. The stars are slowly closing their eyes as the birds and insects sing dawn’s hymn. I walk back through the still sleeping trees to Matt and Phil… I wait standing on the bench for the alarm to go off… a loud bang echoes in the distance, disrupting the whispering winds and causing havoc amongst a flock of birds in the distance. The phone goes off a minute later and we are on the road. A successful Camp n’ Run. The sky is beaten with an array of colours: violets, blues, and tints of green. As soon as we cascade through the womb of the mountain a fiery fa├žade explodes among our shadowed faces. This is what morning is, an element of its own. The majority of us are enclosed by walls when the eye is shaken or simply it is that we wake up late. Sadly I’m among them, but this morning is the first we’ve been able to see this entire trip.

So we ride, just a day of nothing planned, just like yesterday. No plans, but of course, events. Today we see something most unusual on the highway. We’re out taking a pic of the Wyoming sign and we hear honks from across the meridian separating the lanes. We get a glimpse of a Maroon Ford Taurus driving on the wrong side, fast! We instantly hop in and I hit the gas, keen on seeing what’s up. All three of us are pretty speculative about what’s happening and just want to see what this person is doing. We soon are riding parallel to them which turned out to be a “her”. They are driving fast and we see semi’s driving by calling someone on their phones (the police we’re guessing). We see cars changing lanes ASAP when they see this crazy coming at them. There was a truck pulling a little motor home that couldn’t get out of the way. We gasped a little, but the lady swerved off the side of the road and burned out. We saw smoke and she tried to get back on and keep going! INSANE! We called the cops but they already knew, we just gave them a more specific location. This lady could have killed someone! So we drove on losing her. We saw about five cops racing the direction she was last seen and that was that.

We drive on. We decided in Wyoming to see Devil’s Tower: a monstrous butte out in the middle of nowhere (how did it get there?). It was typical except for the fact that we drove by two ‘mirage’ like tornadoes, which were clearly there. There were also some grey twisters attempting birth but we noticed they miscarried instead. That was a little creepy, but we had to see this butte! It rained! We hadn’t felt rain since day 4 when we slept in the middle of nowhere and hadn’t seen any since day 1 on the way to St. Louis. O yeah, hopes all is well with the storms back home.

Next stop: Rapid City. Let’s face it, we’re cheap. Yes, we saw Mt. Rushmore but we didn’t enter, because it cost money. It wasn’t as big as I thought it was though. It was cool though but I’m sure if it wasn’t raining the four faces would’ve been a little happier too. J We then saw Crazy Horse. Of course we saw it only from a distance, because it cost too much to go up close and personal. The story is the Sioux Indians have been carving this thing for sixty years and are still in the making.

So where are we now? Sleeping wise that is. Well… hehe… no freaking out, but you know those movies with the flea-ridden motels that are sort of dumpy that people stay at just for some rest? Yeah that’s where we are. It’s a little eerie, smells like smoke, one bed, missing fire alarm, and the bathroom has no fan. It’s perfect! It stopped raining. People are hitting the hay and so are we. Mighty night!


Monday, June 29, 2009

Day 15: "Turning Back"

“Did we seriously just waste 2 hours trying to find a giant wagon with a slide?....Yup”
States: Washington - Idaho - Montana
Miles: 703.4
Weather: Warm and Sunny

Gas: 89.53
Ice: 1.69
Parking: 0.40

Total: 91.62

Signatures: +0

I open my eyes in (what I thought was) the early morning sun. Ahh a good night sleep. I check my phone for the time. 10 o’clock. Well that’s okay, we didn’t set an alarm. We depart 30 minutes later and head back again to Seattle to see the University of Washington campus (Matt forgot last time) and then headed to I-90. How could we possibly get lost? While in Spokane we tried to find a giant red wagon, (you know like you had when you were a kid?) We finally found it, but before we could park we had to navigate all the one way streets. On our way from the car to the wagon, we walked through the downtown area of Spokane, which I must say did not appeal to me at all. Just before of arrival at the wagon a girl told us to “have a seat, and watch the fight.” There was a fight between two girls about to go down. After that, we drove a bunch, first Matt, then MJ, then finally late at night me. We talked and snacked, and listened to music while we traveled along. (Again we forgot about eating dinner!) We settled on Beavertail Creek State park. We drove under the starry & moonlit night to a empty camp site and slept under the twinkling stars….Goodnight to all and to all a goodnight of rest!


Sunday, June 28, 2009

Day 14: "Seattle"

Hey, wait a minute, the belly dancers are behind us and that pink float is in front of us... how did we end up here?

States: Washington
Miles: 162.4
Weather: A little chilly at times, but sunny all day! What are the odds of that in Seattle?

Gas: 43.21
Camping Fee: 15
Space Needle: 50.40

Total: 108.61

Signatures: +0 :(

So as you already know, we spent last night at a Motel 6. Let me just say, it was an EXCELLENT night of sleep. We set an alarm for eight a.m., but did not wake up to it. Instead, we awoke to the sounds of the couple in the room next to us screaming at each other about something at approximately ten a.m. What fun, we overslept again, and though we needed it, we were still slightly disappointed.
In addition to sleep, the motel also provided such other necessities as showers and laundry. We all showered, but left without doing laundry because the machines were all in use, and would remain that way for some time...bummer.
Anyways, we made our way back into the city of Seattle, where we parked our car and headed towards the monorail station. Our plan was to take the monorail from downtown Seattle to the Space Needle, but on the way to the station, we were slightly distracted by the Gay Pride Parade going on. We decided to follow the parade instead, and thought it was awesome, from the flags and banners, to the belly dancing lesbians, to the free samples of Starbucks instant coffee!
Eventually, we reached the Needle, and took the outdoor elevator up to the top, which I might add is open air. It was awesome, and gave us some great views of the city and Mount Rainier. After reading about the history of the Needle, we went back down and took the monorail from there towards downtown again. After some more walking about the city and the shoreline (where we saw a group of oldtimers playing classic rock on one of the piers), we headed back to the car.
From there, we went pretty much directly to Mount Rainier, as we were all still really tired, and it was getting to be late afternoon. It took more than an hour to get there, and upon arriving, we proceeded (in our tired delirium) to throw an empty milk jug at each other and use the tent poles as swords (until one of them broke...whoops). After that, we actually got down to the business of setting up camp and cooking dinner (hot dogs and soup... what fun!) For the second time in a row, the hot dogs, when cooked over the fire, developed this black oily residue, which we discovered was from the sap in the evergreen wood (adding to the previously excellent flavor... sort of). Anyways, we ate them, cleaned up, and then read in the tent until sleep overcame us all. Goodnight.


Saturday, June 27, 2009

Day 13: "Vehicle Repair"

"Alright start the car"..."Wait. Let's say a prayer."

States: Oregon - Washington
Miles: 497.1
Weather: Chilly then Warm


Gas: 90.42
Car Parts: 27.49
Tacos & Beans: 8.50
Motel: 73.73

Total: 201.34


Dreaming… (Phil’s phone rings)… awaken. “Aw, you guys let’s get up!” Fall back asleep. (Phil’s phone rings) Mmmmm! Holy $#*! It’s cold! Fall asleep. (Phil’s pho…. You get the gist. We wake up at the Crater Lake campground in the middle of Oregon. It’s a lot colder than we anticipated and we’re all too cozy to move for the first 5 rings of Phil’s phone. Disgruntedly we all get up to the battalion of mosquitoes waiting outside our tent for breakfast. We pack in 25 minutes and are out. It was interesting that it only took 25 minutes, because of the landfill Phil had created in the 4Runner last night trying to futz with the Fuel Pump and seal and such. We did it though.
We knew that gas was leaking and we lost an average of 4 miles to the gallon because of the problem. Our plan: Get to Portland and we’ll fix it there. Portland was our destination for the night, so if we are going to sleep there anyways than why not work on the car the whole time anyways. So we hurry to the top of Manzama mountain to see the lake. As expected beautiful, though it was hard to take in, because there was literally a black cloud following us. We could smell the gas after we parked up there. It was leaking fast and you could the trail of drops that had followed us. We exit the park.
We figured on the way out that we’d stop at Eugene 1st so as to get the parts Phil thought necessary to fix our problem. He led us through a “short-cut” that supposedly saved us 45 minutes at least. It may have but it took a toll on the outer of the truck for it was a gravel road. I’m not necessarily the softest driver. It was like louge through branches, fallen trees, and potholes. Some potholes couldn’t be avoided (that was the 1st time I ever got air in a car). We stopped at our first gas station on when we got out and discovered a chrome piece missing from the muffler. Oops. It doesn’t harm us though. O and in Oregon they do full service at the gas stations. We didn’t have to get out! Sweet.
Eugene: Another somewhat big city in Oregon but not the coziest. There were quite a profound amount of bums and some were those you’d think were just an old-timer walking down the street taking in the rays. Nope. Of course we were asked a favor to gnaw at the branches of the homeless rather than cut at the roots (some cash for coffee rather than a solution to their depravity). There was a festival, like everywhere we’ve been this summer, and we soon found an auto shop. Phil bought a gas filter, oil plate, and a goop that’s called QuickSteel (it seals something I think?). We spent an hour in the parking lot and were on our way to Portland. Phil found that the problem was not a clogged filter. One block out of the way. But he did find there was a hole in a line that went to the Fuel Pump system The plan was to use the QuickSteel in Portland. So we went to Portland.
Portland: the biggest city in Oregon. Not rated at the top of my favorites. It was hard to find a good parking spot to fix the car but we had to fill up again. We did and some dude named John filled it up for us. A talkative fellow whom mentioned nude beached to us and said he’d been to Chicago. It was hard to understand him. Through the mumbling and Ebonics I noticed the words “Red-Caps” and “The Cling”. I assume he was talking about murder and Cook county jail. Nonetheless we found a spot in a thick alley parallel parked.
It was actually a good time hanging in that alley. We got comments about a “rich” smell; we ate $1 tacos on the corner, saw hippies playing an odd genre of music that included yelling and hitting wood, and heard a verbal brawl from down the street. I played the ukulele for kicks with my Grand Canyon hat out and actually earned 91 cents! DUDE… a hobo even complimented me. Then we explored the shoreline of the river where there, of course, was another fair flea-market thing going on. Phil fixed the leak, after a few prayers, and we were back on the road without the smell of gas staining the air.
Washington. The speed limit of course is 15 higher than Oregon’s snail 55 which made us happy. Plenty of green and mountains. O I forgot to say… we ditched the stay at Portland idea and decided to get to Seattle instead to perhaps find a Motel or something to stay in, because we’ve camped so long we think we deserve a treat. So Seattle, mmm, very enjoyable and cleanly cut. Here’s the first human observations we made while parked searching for a Motel through the technology world. A group of different females were gathering together. Hmm? In a parking lot and they all seemd very lively. Ooo. One grabs the other and they hug. Hmm. They kiss. Oh! And proceed with the snogging. Woah! Yes, I believe there is some homosexual holiday going on in Seattle during this particular time, because driving around we saw more same-sex hand holds than the regular boy girl mix. I think the West is going gay. I mean we just dodged the gay parades in Frisco and now this! O well, just a bit of culture. Hehe.
Well, anyways, we didn’t exactly find a Motel in Seattle, but we did find one in Seatac. A nice smoke/pee smelling Motel on the outskirts of Seattle. A lovely Lorena set us up with a room understanding our money dilemma and told me I was 17 for the night and she also added a few other “discounts”. Lovely lady like I said. We got our room and situated. Phil did his own rituals while Matt and I called ad after ad from the TV just to talk to people. It’s interesting how off topic you can get RosettaStone, Sleep Number, and such people’s away from their original job, which is to send you stuff (they don’t actually know the prices off the top of their heads). We stop and now go to sleep. That’s the day. Wow!... the was a long day… TaTa.


Friday, June 26, 2009

Day 12: "Crater Lake"

Hey why's that lady wearing mosquito netting? (Later) Why aren't we wearing mosquito netting!

States: California - Oregon
Miles: 323.7
Weather: Pretty, Slightly Humid

Gas: 93.78
Campsite: 22.89
Showers: 2
Phone Calls: 6
Food: 13.23
Gum & Ice: 3.68

Total: 141.58

Signatures: +9

We woke up on time today, but we didn’t leave on time, haha. We left the State Park and headed back to the Golden Gate Bridge to snap some more pictures. We got some pictures, but it was really foggy out. We headed out on the 101 North, and then Matt missed the exit, whoops. After a few hour highway ride we arrived at Crater Lake National Park Visitor Center. I realized why our mileage had been so bad, we had a gas leak! We drove to our campsite and I started to work on finding the problem while Matt & MJ showered. I got out my tools and started looking around, and taking some things off. I asked one of them to start the car and saw gas leaking from the top of the tank. To me it looked like it was coming from the Fuel Pump seal. I was on and off the Pay phone (no cell service) with my mom and our motor club. I found out that there are no shops open on Saturday or Sunday to help me diagnose the problem. I also found that it was illegal to work on the car in a national park. Great. Matt & MJ made dinner (potatoes & hot dogs) while I tried to figure things out. After we ate we were pretty tired so we left everything as-is and left it for the morning to clean-up. Off we go to bed! Peace.