Thursday, June 29, 2006

Uncle Traveling Matt

Remember Fraggle Rock and there was the character named "Uncle Traveling Matt"? He was Gobo's uncle and was always going on journeys.

Well, that's who I feel like that last few days.

Lil' E and I traded in the monster rental car, Durango, from Idaho for a fuel-efficient Toyota Matrix and hit the road. Our first destination was Merlin, Oregon at the Pine Meadow Inn, a B&B. I picked somewhere before we left WI that seemed halfway between Spokane and SF. The entire drive was supposed to be 15.5 hours. I have no idea where MapQuest got that amount of time. Our first leg, stopping in Merlin, took from 9am until 8:30pm. NOT the anticipated 9.5 hours. Yes, we did stop for gas, a quick look at an outlet mall, but that was about it. The roads were reminiscent of the hills of North Carolina. We followed the Columbia River along the Oregon/Washington border. We saw Mt. Hood. Pretty cool. And encountered some WINDY wind. Later, I found out that the area is considered the best place in the US to go windsurfing. I could tell, just from the car ride.

Upon leaving the Columbia River, we passed by Portland and eventually, Salem. This is where our drive went from windy to twisty and turny. Unbelieveable. We finally arrived in Merlin, where it was stepping into an "up north" town, where there is the local grocery store, the fireworks stand, post office, lots of little junk shops that were closed and the one restaurant that served until 9pm. It was 8:30 when we rolled into town.

We made it to the b&b, which was very nice and the hosts were great too, and headed back out to that restaurant just in time to order. I was exhausted, tired, hungry and bummin' because it was my birthday and I'm celebrating with the locals. Boo, hoo.

After a good night's sleep, we were greeted with a tasty breakfast of organic yogurt, granola, raspberries from the garden and oatmeal spice waffles. That was a great way to start the day! With some advice from one of our hosts, Maloy, we headed to Redwoods National Park just below the Oregon/California border to hunt down the elusive redwoods. After a couple hours of driving, we found the grove of trees along the Smith River. How very impressive. They were massive.

After MORE and MORE hours of driving, more hills, switchbacks galore, we eventually entered Wine Country in Sonoma County. That was a pretty and less hectic drive. And, finally, we made it and crossed the Golden Gate Bridge! I'll post pics later. And more updates about the trip to come.

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