Last of the Road Trip Posts (long!)
Today was all about the driving. We had done as much preparatory packing last night as we could, so all we managed to be on the road by 8. We are taking the most direct route home and are planning to power through as fast as we can. We are limited by the 55 MPH max for vehicles with trailers, but really, the car can barely maintain that anyway. Any more than a 4% grade, and 55 becomes impossible.
There were only a few hilly stretches today. Most of the driving was long straight stretches on flat valley bottoms. We got to see where a good chunk of our produce comes from and it was a little horrifying. First, the scale is inhuman in magnitude; second the smog we drove through was less than appetizing. We are going to make more of an effort to grow veggies and store them this year.
Yes, that as far as the eye can see is vineyard!
We managed to make it all the way to the Walmart in Red Bluffs, a drive of some 411 miles, since I was generally good and obeyed the speed limit, that means we drove for 7.5 hours. Adding in the food, gas and pee breaks, we finally pulled into the Walmart at 5 PM, 9 hours after we left the camp site.
All in all, the girls did very well for that long in the car. We had one scare just after lunch when a horrible smell filled the car and Ru-chan woke up saying, “I pooed!” We took the next exit and pulled into a gas station. It turned out she had just farted and woken herself up with her own vile stench. However, 5 minutes before we arrived at our final destination, she actually did a bit of a shart, which made for a great final approach, somewhat reminiscent of Miwa’s giant poo in Sienna, though parking was a lot more ample this time. Jill’s near instantaneous stuffing of a towel under her bum reduced the collateral damage.
This Walmart didn’t have food, so we got some salads from a nearby supermarket for dinner and swung by the Starbucks for a latte and free wifi for plotting tomorrow’s trek.
Went well despite the inauspicious number, and it being a Friday. Except perhaps for the shitty sleep I had in the Walmart parking lot because I thought every little noise was one of the car people that lived in the parking lot. Or the little tiff Jill and I had. Oh and all the times we were nearly taken out by huge trucks changing lanes. Also getting very lost trying to find the Albertsons in Eugene based on our mutually shaky memory of a poor map. Well, maybe not so well after all, but at least we all survived.
Miwa snuck down to my bunk around 2am, snuggled up, got hot, took off all her clothes, then spent all morning complaining how sleeping with me was “sticky,” like it was all my fault. Oh well, I didn’t mind the company.
Ru-chan discovered just how funny having horribly stinky farts can be, the more we complained the harder she laughed. Must be my daughter. Next thing you know she’ll be asking, “Do you smell bacon?”
The highlight of the day was probably our early lunch stop in Weed. We fried up bacon and sausages on the BBQ in the rest stop parking lot with a lovely view of Mount Shasta. The mountain passes were wonderful, despite all the dire warnings we got and the amount of worry and contingency planning Jill devoted to it. Warm, dry and only a hint of snow on distant mountain tops.
A reservoir that should be full but isn’t, hard to tell but the tree line is a looming way from the surface of the water.
I really wish the Girls would get some traffic smarts. They seem to be drawn towards traffic like moths to a flame. I yell at them at least 5 times per rest stop. I think shock collars are the only solution.
Jill and I have also been remarking on what wussy campers we have become. Oh how we used to mock people like us. What need for more than a sleeping bag and a tent, we wondered? Maybe one day we will be able to return to our purist roots, but not until the girls can carry their own gear. As it is, I am packing at least one of the girls at any given time.
Tonight we are enjoying our wussy camping to the hilt as we sit in our fully serviced site, sipping on an Old Vine Zinfandel (Old Soul Vineyards) enjoying the free wifi (we are about 10m from the wifi hot spot.)
We got going pretty early this morning, pulling out of our campsite at about 8:15. We were hoping to be at our friends F and J’s place in Seattle by 3:30 pm.
Our first stop was for gas 5 minutes out, then we made a solid 15 minutes before I realized I hadn’t zipped the awning cover up completely. We were a whole 45 minutes into the day before the first pee break. Then it was a quick stop for lunch, another gas stop and a detour for a wrong exit before we finally rolled into the RV park(ing lot) at 2:30.
Our initial impression was ghetto. Lots of older RVs that looked semi-permanently installed, the pavement has seen better days, and we were about 150 m from the freeway. However, the staff seemed on the ball, and put us adjacent to the playground, and the indoor heated pool is the best we’ve seen this trip. The camping fee being only $22/night helped make things seem a bit better too.
We un-coupled, set up and headed off for our friends’ house, arriving at 3:35. Not bad since the initial arrival time estimate had been made 8 hours prior. We hung out, caught up, yelled at kids, comforted kids, fed kids, had a couple beer and some pizza, then hit the road again around 8. Perhaps we should try to visit people for longer, but our general approach is a flying visit.
We hit Trader Joe’s on our way back to the RV park. Kind of a fun store, mostly for the novelty. We’ll try some of the stuff we bought later to see if it is really as good as advertised.
The girls were both asleep by the time we got back, though Miwa woke up and ate a yogurt and an entire cucumber before passing out again.
I think we’ll watch some Star Trek and join the girls in sleep soon.
Girls woke up at 6, so we ended up getting an earlier start than anticipated, rolling out around 8. This got us to Cabela’s in Tulalip at 9am, where we wandered in past the gun-check (like a coat check, but for those pesky firearms you hate having to carry when you shop), and marveled at the vast array of sporting goods. We picked up a few items like sausage stuffing spices and casings and got out just before 10, so we could hit Restoration Hardware at the outlet mall just up the street. The girls and I stayed in the car while Jill went in. Unfortunately, she couldn’t find what we were looking for.
We ended up making much better time than anticipated and had a less than 5 minute wait at the border, so we made the 12:45 ferry from Tsawassen to Duke point by the skin of our teeth. We went through the ticket booth at 12:35 and drove right on. I had been pushing the limits of what the car could do since the border. “I’m giving her all she’s got Captain, but you canna defy the laws of physics!” kept going though my head.
We had lunch on the ferry and while Jill was getting our order, Miwa returned the tray Ru-chan had “borrowed” from the tray rack, and I told her just to leave it alone, since it made Ru-chan happy, to which Miwa replied, “It’s my life, you’re not the boss of me!” 5 going on 15.
The ocean was flat calm, and the only bad part of the crossing was that instead of burning off energy in the play area, the girls stared at the TV like a couple of podlings. Despite that, they were both sound asleep before we got to the Island Highway, and slept all the way to the Oyster River.
We missed the 4:45 by 10 minutes, so we had dinner in the Trillium. On the ferry, I took the girls upstairs where they ran around and screamed despite my frequent pleas that they use their inside voices.
Finally, home at last! The dogs (and the cat, sort of) were ecstatic, and the girls were very happy to see Obaachan and Ojiichan again. Our house feel like a palace after living in the Trillium for 2 weeks!
Girls using Jill’s bra like a tandem parachute pack…. Haha, this basically sums up our entire trip! Happy Road Tripping!