Michael and Sarah's Great Cross-Country Adventure

This is a blog about our 6-week trip driving across the USA. We set off on March 18, 2008.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Starting the trip back east: Oregon to South Dakota

I'm getting totally overwhelmed with the blog. Sarah is better at filtering. We can't possible mention all the things we see and do, not even all the fun or interesting ones. There are just too many. So as you read, keep in mind that there's lots we haven't said. With that in mind, please see a couple new old posts below that I recently finished (Lakewood Church and California: the other blue state), they were posted in a funny order.

From California, we drove from the redwood forests up the coast of Oregon, catching a herd of Elk along the way, and many many miles of New England type rocky shores. In fact, much of Oregon looked just like Cape Cod or Maine. Sarah loved it; to me it was ordinary. But the sea cave full of sea lions (a different species than previous sea lions) was cool.

We stayed in Portland for a couple nights, where our friends Ruth and Dustin showed us around. Portland was cool and trendy, much as I imagine Seattle to be. There's this famous bookstore there, Powell's, that one could spend hours in. And cool public art that you can play with. The last morning we had to wait around a bit for my contacts to get shipped - let me explain.

In California, we hiked along the Big Sur river down to the ocean. It was a hot day, so despite the near ice cold water, I jumped in to the river at this point where it curved and made a whirlpool and deepened to more than 10 feet. You could jump off the rocks along the edge into what had previously been a very shallow river. Two other people were swimming too, though most people just sat around and watched as I stripped down to bikini underwear and jumped in. I was so excited, I forgot that I was still wearing my sunglasses, which were gone when I bobbed back to the surface. Then swimming through a couple more times for fun and to search for my glasses, which I eventually found, I managed to lose my contacts. Being late on a Friday, my optometrist was already closed, so I went nearly blind for the next five days, ordering contacts to be over-nighted on Monday, which didn't arrive till Wednesday. Ahh what a pain. Anyway.

So leaving Portland, we saw several really cool waterfalls, then drove through a lot of nothing until Spokane, Washington, where we had dinner. This reminds me. Road Food has failed us. It's biggest slight was in California, where the author insisted on "ordinary" food. We started realizing that she didn't necessarily pick the best food available, just the most edible ordinary American diner-type food. This works great in the middle of nowhere, but in cities and blue states, there are better options. And it plenty of middle of nowhere locations, she's left us high and dry, having not covered the regions we traveled, or naming once place over two day's worth of travel. Anyway.

We stayed the night in Coeur d'Alene, Idaho, which pretty much started the wide open beauty of the US, in my humble opinion. I mean, the spaces just get enormous, and there's a disproportionate amount of beauty, especially in Wyoming. Between Coeur d'Alene - a beautiful lake resort community - and now - near The Badlands, South Dakota - we've seen the most beautiful, and the most boring, stretches of nothing in the US: Montana and the rockies, Yellowstone, grasslands, the Big Horn mountains, Mount Rushmore, and The Badlands, just to name the highlights.

The Badlands, which we just finished seeing tonight, are rather similar to the geological formations we'd seen 8 years ago in Cappadocia, Turkey. And the most interesting part for me is coming to understand, at least in part, why some people think it's not worth leaving the US. There really is everything available here. I mean, if you'd seen the Badlands, don't go out of your way to see Cappadocia. It's almost the same, minus the fairy chimneys.

Well, since I could go on for hours, I'll just stop now. Some little things though. I'd rather live in Montana if I had to live in an empty state. The people there are pretty cool. Wyoming gets the prize as the most empty state, which incidentally also has both extremes of the most beautiful and most boring landscape. And lastly, I'd highly encourage that everyone take a few months or more visiting the US, not just for the beauty, but also for all the different types of people and things. Some of it will be boring, but it's exciting even in the boring parts. Like the random Devil's Peak in the middle of grasslands in Wyoming. Wish I'd had time to do some climbing.


Blogger tarryn said...

Hey guys, Please don't stop blogging - I know it's a pain but I appreciate it and I know you will in the future! Sorry I haven't said Hi in a while- we went to Playa del Carmen for a few nights with the boys - a whole experience in itself traveling with 2 infants. It reminded me how much I love traveling internationally with a baby. We were always pushed to the front of an imaginary "baby-line" in the airports and given very special treatment everywhere we went. Hey, we deserved it! Keep blogging!

April 21, 2008 3:23 PM  
Blogger InYourRearViewMirror said...

Devil's Tower! I soooooo want to see that!!! Oh my gawd - makes you want to climb it fur shur.

April 21, 2008 7:55 PM  

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