Archive for August 4th, 2008

The river Styx was blocked off due to a chemical spill, so I came back. Just as well, as all I had to pay Charon was a token from Chuck E. Cheese’s.

Fever broke last night and now it’s just weak-kitten shakes and aches. Lesson for you, kids – Never, and I mean NEVER get sick while on vacation. The plane ride back will kick your ass.


(Large portions of this were written en-route and are just now being posted, since my father is on dial-up)

We left Ellensburg, WA at 4pm, which was both later than we wanted and earlier than we wanted.

The original thought was that a later departure time meant the kids would actually sleep on the way. We thought wrong.

The plan was actually a good plan, as plans go. But, as they say, most battles are decided before you even join with the enemy, as the winning battle is found weeks or even months prior, in planning and logistics.

What went wrong…? Well, for starters, my driver’s license expires before the end of the rental car contract. This means that I cannot drive the rental car I’m paying $700 for and only Cruel Wife can. Picture it: I have a bad neck and am a control freak. Chronic pain is not improved by extreme tenseness for hours on end. I’m hoping CW is a good driver when I’m not around, but I’m nervous in the passenger seat. So, 7-1/2 hours in the passenger seat, is not good. It’s pretty, though.

Leaving sooner would have put us in Portland smack dab in the middle of the dreaded Rush Hour. Ya. Hoo. Leaving later as we did meant that the kids would be tired and – yes, WE would be tired.

(Later. MUCH later.)

As I am writing this, traveling down I-5 near Junction City, my neck is screaming like a 7 year old girl with a spider down the back of her blouse.  OK, let’s be clear here.  I’m discovering that Cruel Wife drives a lot using the damn cruise control.  So when she needs to slow down because she was zoning out (because of the cruise control) she not only hits the brake hard but hits it really hard.  This does my neck no good at all.

The flexeril is helping some but the last two days have been somewhere between the Third and Fourth levels of Hell to begin with. (Damn you, Dante!) Notice I said Hell, and not Purgatory. Purgatory is Boardman, Oregon or Weed, CA.

I-5 Southbound, near Aurora, OR, I think.

We have already passed through S. Washington and the Gorge, scurried through Hwy 205 in Portland and are crawling down the I-5 Corridor.

We drove through the Indian Reservation and down 97 to Biggs Jct., Oregon. Along the way, we saw some very nice areas that if I ever win the Powerball, I will relocate to this area where there are no neighbors besides undomesticated equines, rattlesnakes, and coyotes. Nice river running through that area, too. Made me think of the valley they settled in near the end of the movie “The Outlaw Josey Wales”.

Biggs Jct. is a real hole in the wall but they have the bestest cheap corndogs in the world. They aren’t the best, and they aren’t the cheapest, but they are the best cheap corndogs in the world, for the price of $1.19 each. Cheaper than food, by far, so I had two. We took off from there and I took lots of pictures, and am only posting a few of the best here.

As I said, pretty trip. The skid marks in the photo below aren’t pretty, however, because this is a much steeper grade than it looks. That there is the bridge to Biggs, from the Washington side. with the Columbia River threading through it.

Problem with taking pictures in a dirty car, into the sun, while driving down the road, while NOT rolling down the window (because it is 154F in the shade) is that quite a few pictures turn out to be trash. Reasons vary, but mainly because you catch a lot of photos of bug guts or you find that both you and the camera have sensor burns from staring into the sun. Other photos get trashed because of the latency between snapping the photo and when the camera actually decides to take the bloody picture – usually about 3 seconds later, when you catch a lovely picture of a nondescript bush.

The Gorge was beautiful. Really really beautiful. If only The Dalles had a large science industry. But, The Dalles is on the map for windsurfing, not technology. Tech is booming in Bend, Oregon, last I heard but I haven’t a clue what they specialize in.

Looking upriver on the Columbia, West of Biggs

Heading west towards The Dalles

Taken through a windshield with Oregon Dead Bugs™, Mt Hood I had no right to expect this to turn out

Outside of The Dalles

A stitched panorama I did, halfway between The Dalles and Hood River (Warning! That is a 2MB file if you click on it for the larger version…)

Columbia River, Near Rooster Rock

Down through Hood River, Troutdale, Portland/Oregon City, Wilsonville, Aurora, McDonald’s (run the kids silly and feed our faces), Albany, Brownsville, Coburg, and… Eugene! Wahoo! I forgot the map, sorry. Here you go:

The blur is the easiest way to show the probability function of our being at any one location for the remainder of the trip.

Interesting note: Outside of Albany there was a sign “Last Burgerville 24,291 miles”. Ok, write that down… good to know… Note to self: Pick up two burgers when traversing the globe via the south pole.

Eugene, home of the Fighting Ducks, Delta House, the Butte to Butte Race, and lots and lots of slackster-in-a-haze, flannel-wearing, duck-squeezing, tree-hugging, coffee-house misanthropes nonpareil. Truly world-class hippie-dippy loser boneheads who will never achieve much more than being a blight to anyone who tries to pursue the American Dream and be successful at it. Success is bad. Actually success is good if you don’t turn a profit and use whatever money you make to pay taxes so the government can bail out people who can’t manage to succeed themselves. God knows we have to keep people from learning from their mistakes through hardship. That wouldn’t give us a warm fuzzy and allow us to sleep at night if we don’t give successful people’s money away.

Yeah, I’m a little disgusted at Eugene, an otherwise fantastic town, since it feels the need to embrace socialism and to embrace the idea that the enviro-elite shall pass down to the masses the approved Gaea-centric environmental conscience.

We just passed the turnoff to Hwy 58, which if followed, would take you to Oakridge, the Willamette Pass, La Pine, and eventually end up in Oregon’s equivalent of Michigan’s Flint (a real dive of a town), Klamath Falls. Ok place to go to school but it’s otherwise a place where they drink the beer and eat the glass.

Here we are, at my dad’s place. It’s 11:30pm, and I’m bushed.

(Now next day…)

Not a lot of time to write but here was a fun pic of me and my son at Dad’s. He loves the swing and has no fear of heights – he got the idea that hanging on was important when I threatened to not push him if he loosened his grip for even one second.

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