July 26, 2007

Highlights (and a Few Token Low-Points) of the Road Trip to Seattle

Day 1
We arrived in San Francisco early enough on our first day out to explore the Fisherman's Wharf area. I first made us walk up to Ghirardelli Square where we enjoyed an ice cream sundae among the throngs of tourists like ourselves at the Ghirardelli store. We then walked down to the waterfront for some photo-taking. The skies were clear and blue, and there was no haze - Alcatraz looked so close out in the bay.

We were thwarted from eating our dinner of choice (at Boudin's Bakery for some sourdough delights) by a nasty power outage which lasted most the evening. We wandered into a pizzeria during one of the fleeting powered moments, and were able to place our order between power-outages. I took it all in stride, mostly amused by the silliness of it all, but when I was shaken awake by an earthquake at just before 5am the next morning I swiftly decided I had had just about enough of San Francisco for this trip.

Day 2
Earthquakes aside, Day 2 was pretty wonderful. We set out early and had the city streets mostly to ourselves as we drove out towards the Golden Gate Bridge and beyond over to Highway 1. We stopped by the Muir Beach Overlook and had a chance to witness the amazing views all by ourselves.

Our next stop was Point Reyes. We got there early, before the staircase down to the Lighthouse was opened. It would not have mattered much anyhow, as there's no way I would've been able to successfully ascend roughly 30-floors worth of those steps on the way back up. And it was really foggy, so we couldn't even see the lighthouse in the distance, we could only hear the foghorn. But we spotted a bunch of deer and their fawns, so the small hike in the morning fog was worth it.

The rest of the day was full of winding country roads and breathtaking ocean views (Sonoma Coast State Beach/Goat Rock was particularly spectacular). Late in the afternoon, after breezing through the redwood forests near Hales Grove, we landed at the Benbow Inn.

Day 3
From the Benbow Inn we took off north on the 101 and meandered through the Avenue of the Giants - a wonderful display of those mighty Redwood trees. My photos could not do the forest proper justice. I don't remember much else from that day other than the fact that we crossed the border into Oregon much earlier than we expected.

We stayed that night in Shady Cove - a small recreation town along the Rogue River, which our motel room overlooked. We dined at a "family restaurant" with a Mexican theme (think smalltime El Torito or something), and thankfully the food was much better than anticipated.

Day 4
They don't let you pump your own gas in Oregon, so this morning was my first experience of having someone else pump it for me. It's a strange thing. But then off we went for Crater Lake. I was worried that the drive up to Coos Bay was going to be too long with the visit to Crater Lake factored in, but I ended up being way wrong about that.

In hindsight, we should have spent more time up at Crater Lake. Have I used the word "spectacular" too much? 'Cuz it totally fits. The water in the volcanic lake is such an intense shade of blue that in some of the photos I took it looks like I'm shooting trees against a very blue sky, but in fact it's just the vast lake beneath them. At one of the viewpoints we had a chance to come to the aid of some unprepared tandem cyclists who made use of our sunblock and remaining bottled water. They both needed it far more than we did.

Day 5
I took this morning in Coos Bay as an opportunity to sleep in a bit. We had made such great time the day before I felt like it wouldn't put us too much behind. Once we got out to the proper coast we were again greeted by a thick layer of fog. We stopped at the Seal Caves - known for being the "largest sea cave in the world" (I don't actually know this to be a fact).

A few other high points of the day were when we stopped at the Tillamook cheese factory (Cheese! Hurray!) and the beaches at Cannon Beach and Ecola State Park (both featuring famous scenery from The Goonies). Before long we were in Astoria, just below the Washington border, where we stayed for the night.

Day 6
The first stops of the day were Goonies-related: the county jail where the Fratellis escaped and the Goonies house where poor Chunk was forced to do the truffle-shuffle. Originally, we were going to do a straight shot to the 5 so that we could be in Seattle as soon as possible, but our temp housing wasn't going to be ready until 3pm, so we decided to take a more scenic route. We crossed over a very long bridge in Astoria and crossed over the border to Washington State, headed, in a roundabout way, for Aberdeen for lunch.

From there on it was just a big push to the end of the line in Issaquah, where our temp housing is located. We had to make a quick stop near the Microsoft campus to pickup our keys, but we were nestled into our temporary abode by around 4pm.

I'd stop here, but unfortunately, there's more to tell. After we got settled in a bit we decided to step out to stock up on groceries and maybe to find a wifi access point, as our rental place hadn't been setup for internet yet. After an extended session of shopping at Albertson's, my car started idly roughly and bottomed out while idling in the parking lot in front of a Starbucks. And then it would not start back up. After I did a bit of panicking, Erik called up AAA and we were towed back to our apartment to figure things out.

Day 7
This day was spent trying to pickup the pieces of my dead MINI. Erik called his relocation contact to get a rental car so we could get around, and we found a nearby Tully's coffeeshop with free wifi so that we could research places to get my MINI fixed.

It just so happens we're in the AAA-allowed towing radius of the only auto shop with a MINI factory-trained mechanic on staff in the entire region. So my MINI took it's second ride on a flatbed towtruck in as many days over to Eastside Bavarian to get diagnosed.

Day 8 - Today
Turns out the fuel pump is shot, and the filter should probably be replaced as well. It's going to cost me over $900 to get it fixed, but gosh, having a non-starting MINI is one of the worst feelings in the world, so it needs to be done. Other than that, we now have internet access at the apartment, my MINI is going to be fixed, I have a third (and in-person) interview at a really exciting company setup for next Tuesday, and we should be going out to look at permanent apartments sometime next week. Things aren't going perfectly, but I'm still pretty stoked about the whole thing.

posted by julie at July 26, 2007 02:49 PM

things people have said

Hooray! I don't have it in me to write up this trip, so I'm glad that you did!

so said: Erik at July 26, 2007 03:18 PM

Ouch! Sorry about the MINI trouble with the big price tag! At least you got to your destination first, your car loves you!! Good luck with the job interview! It sounds like things are going ok - you have internet - I found that to be enough to make everything ok when we moved! :-)

so said: Rachel at August 1, 2007 06:37 AM