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.

Friday, April 18, 2008

winding our way through the Northwest

At the risk of a laundry list, I will try to describe what we've done since I last wrote. I'll post lots of pictures to make it more interesting.

San Francisco is a beautiful city, it's hard not to like it. I managed to get my only sunburn of the trip there, as the weather was hot and sunny. We walked a ton, probably because I was desperate to avoid the car. We had a great time at the Farmer's Market at the Ferry Building, eating very well at all the stands. Then we walked through the center of town, through Chinatown and Market Street, and then took a bus out to the other side and laid in the grass with a view of the Golden Gate. It was kind of a lazy day despite the walking.

We stayed with a cousin of Michael's dad, who has lived in California for years. I'm not sure that I had ever met him, but we had a really nice time with him and his wife. They cooked us dinner, which is always appreciated during our long travels.

The next day we headed up the coast to see the Redwoods. We first stopped in the Humboldt Redwood Forest, and wandered among the trees. The trees have a way of dampening the sound and it feels very relaxing among them. There's also that inevitable feeling of being small around something very big.

We camped that night in the Jedediah Smith Redwood Forest. What we saw of it was less impressive than Humboldt, but it was nice (despite my whining about camping) to sleep in the forest.

Then we drove up the Oregon coast. Apparently I am a true girl of the Northern coast, because I really loved that drive. The rocks and the waves and even the grey weather were much more my style than the California coast. I told Mike I wanted to spend the rest of the trip there and then just fly home. (I had gotten very sick of driving by that point.)

We ended up in Portland, which sadly is not on the coast but is really a nice city. We have close friends from New York, Ruth and Dustin, who were from there and have moved back. They toured us all around, but mostly we just hung out the way we used to do in New York. Lots of coffee shops and good restaurants. It was a nice change of pace, and great to see them.

After a slight delay while we waited for a new pair of contact lenses to arrive by DHL (Michael had a slight mishap in the Big Sur River), we finally headed east. We took I-84, which I liked since we had been on I-84 in Massachusetts/Connecticut. I84 goes through the Columbia Gorge, into which drop some really beautiful waterfalls. Then it heads into the nothingness of Eastern Oregon, and then we headed north into the nothingness of eastern Washington. We managed to not take a single picture during our short time in Washington.

We spent the night in Coeur D'Alene (pronounced Core Dalaine), Idaho. There's a big lake there, surrounded by mountains. I can't say it looked that different from something in New Hampshire, but it was our one taste of Idaho so I tried to make the best of it. We also drove I-90 East, thus making it to my own personal "Mother Road" (just 3000 miles to Boston!).

The ultimate goal was Montana. I'm not sure when I got it in my head that it would be cool to drive across Montana, but that was an important part of this trip for me. As it turns out, Montana is not a long string of amazing mountain vistas like I'd thought. But it is extremely cool to be in a series of big valleys and crossing huge mountains, and the only cities you cross are less than 50,000 people. Mostly, actually, we passed towns of three or four buildings only. We had a nice first glimpse of the Rockies, which I realized I've never seen before. We also drove through a preserve for Bison, which are very very cool animals. They stand around like cows but they run like slow horses, and they are huge and look so cool!

Mentioning the bison reminds me that there were sea lions and elk on the coast, but it's starting to get difficult to remember everything.

Tomorrow we're headed to Yellowstone, so we drove as close to the park as we had time for. We're staying in ski country but the season is over, so I'm not sure there's more than one other person in this huge hotel.

With love from Big Sky,

Sarah

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