Wednesday, December 23, 2009

The Journey North

Once we hit Bakersfield, CA, we were pretty much just heading north. Because of snow, we weren't planning to make any stops in Eastern California, so we just drove north. From Sacramento, we went north to Redding, CA, but from there we went further west again because I wanted to see the coast. There's a scenic route up the CA, OR, and WA coastlines, highway 101. But the job on Sunday was to get to the coast. Traveling up I-5 to Redding wasn't a problem at all, but going westward meant driving through Shasta-Trinity National Forest. In the middle of the day, with clear skies and beautiful weather, it didn't seem that doing so would be a problem. But this "scenic drive" is not for the faint-hearted.

It twists, and it winds. And it is absolutely gorgeous--smoky mountains, giant fir trees, gentle rivers. (I take it those rivers aren't always gentle, given the number of rafting houses we passed.) There are tons of RV parks but not really any towns on your route once you pass Weaverville. It was really a beautiful drive--but not for the driver. And I'd recommend anyone who gets carsick to avoid it. But those obstacles aside, it is pretty beautiful.

Unfortunately, in Weaverville some locals told me that they were expecting snow that night, so husband and I wanted to get through as soon as we could. And we were out by the time it was dark--although every time we passed a snow plow we got kind of nervous. It wasn't a road to travel in snow. We stopped to pray in the forest, by a river. That was nice--another interesting place serving as a masjid. And by the time we were out of the forest we were almost at the coast. We decided to go north and stopped in a place called Trinidad, CA, for dinner.

We dinner ate at a local seafood house that was very nice, but our waitress suggested not staying the night in Trinidad and instead driving south to Arcata, which we did. In Arcata, we ate breakfast at a place called Toni's (finding an IHOP or the like in this area is pretty much out of the question, so we asked at the hotel for a breakfast place.) And honestly, the food was delicious. And the pancakes were huge. Seriously, huge. Being in the MM FitLife, our second habit to master is avoiding processed foods. I'd say pancakes are processed, so I wanted to have pancakes at my last opportunity. And it was worth it: they were really good.

Monday we drove north up the coast, and it rained. My husband especially loves the Pacific Ocean--and it is nice, but compared to what all we had seen I was slightly underwhelmed. Rainy and overcast conditions didn't make it easy to see much either. Along our route was Redwood National Park, so we stopped there. We even got out of the car this time and took a few side trails. The trees, in case you haven't been there, are huge. Some of the fallen trees you can take a picture beside, and as they're laying on the ground, they're still taller than you. It was pretty neat.

On the north side of the park was a little museum and shop (Trees of Mystery), with huge statues of Paul Bunyan and Babe (the blue ox.) We looked around, and the museum was particularly interesting. It was called the "End of the Trail Museum," and had a variety of different Native American displays and information.

This symbol is used to mean "End of the Trail." I learned that from a Navajo lady back at the Grand Canyon. She told me they use it for their children, their youth who end up leaving their culture behind, and so for them they are at the end of the trail.

It's sad to see what has happened to so many cultures, so I'm glad we stopped at this museum--it was interesting.

From there we went further north and made it into Oregon. We stopped at a vistor's center to pray shortly before they closed, and planned to drive a little further north Monday, and then head on to Portland the next day. So we stopped in a place called North Bend--actually we had a hard time finding anywhere to eat. It seemed to be a coastal town that was pretty much shut down in the off-season. For breakfast though we stopped at a place called the Pancake Mill, and had a really good breakfast (albeit, no pancakes, sadly.)

Tuesday took us the rest of the way up the Oregon coast--rainy, mostly, with a few scenic views, and some small towns along 101--and we went in to Portland for dinner. My husband wanted to eat at an Afghani place called Kabobi. So we stopped and ate, and then decided to keep going!

So that night, Tuesday night, we drove all the way to Bellevue. I drove most of the stretch between Oregon and Seattle so my husband could sleep--driving in rain really takes a lot out of you and he was exhausted. We then spent the night in a local hotel so we could get started with the apartment shopping on Wednesday.

So now I should be caught up, at least to the end of the honeymoon. So now I'm only one week or so behind. We actually do have pictures of all these things but haven't uploaded them yet, sorry.


Anonymous said...

Very curious topic

Anonymous said...
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