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Road Trip Logs Yet Unposted

Here are the logs that I had not posted because I didn’t have them…

Day 12 (Friday, December 12, 2003)

We didn’t quite get the jump on the road that we were hoping to, but were on the road by around 9:30 am. Reset the trip odometer at 301 miles.

11:16 am — 146 miles: Two hundred miles left to Los Angeles. Gas prices took a huge jump after the California border, the only border we have come across that had inspection points set up for all vehicles. Of course this is where I we choose to stop for gas, and its my turn to pay. Clearly, dumb liberal policies are destroying this state. Hopefully the Terminator can fix things up some. Also, Scott and I agree that California should be split into at least two smaller states — I would say three states myself. Too bad this country has forgotten about state rights and the need, as expressed by Thomas Jefferson, for constant revolution.

11:55 am — 193.5: We enter Joshua Tree National Park, but learn that there will be a $10 entry fee that we do not want to pay, so we decide just to drive a very little bit and read one of the signs before tuning around and continuing to Los Angeles.

Scott, being lazy with the log, doesn’t bother to write down when we get to Los Angeles, what we think of the smog, the hugeness of the city, our meeting with Brennan at Venice Beach, our thoughts on the Venice Beach culture, Jim and Pat’s enthusiastic welcome, our chat with Jim late into the evening — I suppose I could have written about that last one, but the rest of the time I was driving. Los Angeles is a bit hectic, but I had no problem dealing with traffic, even at rush hour. People were mostly polite and nice, except for a few idiots — such as one lady who had her blinker on for several miles. She didn’t notice, even though she was changing lanes — she apparently never uses her turn indicators. The smog over the city obscures the sun with unnaturally tinted hues, and accumulates in the back of my throat, feeling slightly acidic. Maybe that’s in my head, but it still feels nasty. After Venice Beach, where we saw a man on roller blades playing a distorted electric guitar to passers-by, a man in a speedo-type suit holding snakes with a log balanced on his head, the classic Cobra car with a bikini model posing next to it, numerous street and street-side enterprises including palm and tarot card reading, temporary tattoos, real tattoos, junk food, and art of all kinds. We then drove on Santa Monica Boulevard to a highway that we took into Simi Valley, where the Jim and Pat live. Simi Valley is the Bellevue of L.A., we decided. It’s clean, nice, and moderately upscale. We chatted with our hosts, got suggestions for the next day’s drive, were fed, and talked politics, engineering, life decisions, and more with Jim before getting to bed.

Day 13 (Saturday, December 13, 2003)

8:00 am: We get up, have breakfast, and then I drive with Jim to the mechanic to ferry Jim back home while Scott showers. I shower after we get back, then we say our goodbyes and head up the coastal highway at about 10:00.

11:00 am: We stop in Santa Barbara, where there is supposed to be an interesting market on Saturday morning, but instead all the Mexicans seem to be out in force. It looks like they town is prepping for a parade of some sort later in the day. We refuel, and unable to find the market, we quickly leave.

1:30 pm: We stop at Pismo beach, walk on the sand, spot no hot girls in bikinis (I guess its too cold for California girls), play with the surf, and eat lunch.

3:00 pm: We stop at Morrow Bay — there is a big rock hill spit and beach all around. There are surfers and many other tame animals. Scott takes a large format photo and I get some “tamelife” photos with my telephoto lens and some scenic shots with my regular lens.

3:50 pm: We recalculate our trip, trying to make it to Colin’s place by 7:30 for dinner. It looks like we can make it if we maintain speed and don’t stop for more than 15 minutes.

4:50 pm: Along US-101 we notice a car in the ditch, Ryan and I both ask each other if there was someone in that car. We make a u-turn and check and sure enough there was. A kid who couldn’t have been older than 17 was in his car, unharmed, but definitely shaken. The kid admits that he is sick and had taken some cough medicine. His car wasn’t starting. He tries it again and is now somehow working. Ryan and I don’t know what to suggest to the kid, being that we don’t know if he is likely to doze off again. He drives off and Ryan and I still don’t know what we should have done. Will the kid drive off into the ditch again, we don’t know.

Day 14 (Sunday, December 14, 2003)

Ryan and I enjoy a scrumptious breakfast with Collin’s parents, Mark and Anne, his brother Greg, and his girlfriend Katie (I set those two cuties up).

We take the plummet into the abyss of San Francisco, have no fear, we don’t care that there are liberals here (We are “tolerant”).

First thing first, we headed for downtown San Fran. On the way I called Yeung Chan, woodworker extraordinaire. I chat with Yeung for a little bit and ask if I could stop by and see his shop. Yeung is very generous and invites us to dinner with his wife and son, who arrived back from MIT that very evening. We exchange phone numbers and agree to have dinner.

Ryan and I continued our journey in San Fran. We went in the general direction of downtown. Ryan and I had both previously been to San Francisco and had seen the major touristy sites, so we decided we would take the wanderer’s approach to seeing the city. We began our wondering and came across a scenic drive sign, which takes a tour of all the best parts of San Fran. My brother and I had previously taken it and I suggest to Ryan that we start our wandering there, ha, organized wandering.

Day 15 (Monday, December 15, 2003)

7:00 am: Hit the road jack. No hitting road jacks hurts, so instead we started out.

7:12 am: Instead of hitting road jacks, Ryan decides to take his aggression out on a seagull, hitting it smack on with the car; that is one dead bird.

10:48 am: Scott takes over driving so he doesn’t lose his breakfast on Ryan, immediately after a stop on the coastal highway to take a picture of an arched rock. Previously, while Ryan was still driving, we stopped at another beach and walked on the shore and took pictures. At the arched rock beach, Ryan went to the beach itself, down nearly sheer muddy cliffhanger walls while Scott took a large format picture and Ryan climbed rocks on the shore where, at times, he was surrounded by swirling ocean currents of death. Fortunately, strong legs enabled Ryan to jump to safety while Scott continued to figure out his large format photograph. By the time Ryan completed the death-defying scramble back to the top of the sheer cliffs, Scott had almost decided on how he was going to take the picture. After Ryan gave Scott some useless advice, cleaned off his shoes, reorganized part of his gear, had brunch, and simply did nothing for a while, Scott finally took the picture, packed up, and Scott began driving, letting Ryan partake in the loose stomach feel for a while.

12:00 noon: Five hours after leaving, we begin to worry that we might have missed Fort Bragg, which Scott tells me is Mecca for woodworkers. Now Scott is making his pilgrimage. However, we look at the map and find out where we are, and learn that we haven’t gone harldy anywhere at all. It looks like we’ll be staying in Brookings tonight, since Portland via the coastal highway would get us in no earlier than 6:00 am, tomorrow.

1:16 pm: We are getting ready to leave after stopping for lunch in a small Oceanside town along Highway 1. Along with the sound of the waves are the incessant chanting in various languages of a man who may or may not be crazy — we can’t quite figure that out. He talks half like a preacher, half like a political activist, and all with a hint of lunacy. Its quite interesting.

3:05 pm: We stopped at the gallery for the College of the Redwood Woodworking program among other works of art. There were some pieces that were absolutely amazing, some obviously influenced by Krenov.

4:00 pm: We stopped by the College of the Redwoods and met with David Welter, who kindly showed us around the shop. The students were just finishing up there first pieces, some of them had already left for the holidays. The people there all seemed to be a jovial bunch.

5:04 pm: Yowzers, look at that sunset. Ryan got a panorama with his digital camera.

5:12 pm: Ryan and I notice the coastal highway pattern for hills and turns: downhill right followed by uphill left.

Around nine, we pull into Brookings. Scott chooses not to eat and is in a foul mood. We are overdue on an oil change too. Christine gets back maybe 15 minutes after we find her place, gives us a call, and we meet with her. She is very nice, and after a brief chat we all get ready for sleep. No cell internet access here it looks like, so no update tonight. Portland should have plentiful WiFi though.

Day 16 (Tuesday, December 16, 2003)

8:35 am: We leave Christine’s house after more talk about the trip, the cat, and family. We are both showered, I feel well rested, but the first part of the journey is very quiet.

9:15 am: We stop to fill up — its over ten and a half gallons, and the biggest fill-up to date. The attendant who fills our gas tells us where we can get our oil changed up the road. Still no talk today.

10:00ish: We stop at Battle Rock Park in Oregon. Here, 9 settlers were holed up on a small rock island outcropping on the ocean shore while natives surrounded them. The settlers escaped one night, and returned with a stronger force to more permanently settle the town. Scott took a large format photograph while I climbed battle rock and made my way to the side facing the ocean. The winds here were so strong and constant that I had to lean into the wind to maintain my balance, and I walked very carefully to avoid a slip that, with the wind, could have sent me into the angry ocean below. I took pictures with my digital camera, including some I hope to make into a panorama later. After I returned from my extravagantly long and luxurious trip up Battle Rock, Scott was having trouble with camera movement due to wind, so I helped by holding the camera while he opened the shutter.

10:34 am: I have added a sheet to the trip statistics excel worksheet calculating total costs of the trip (that we have recorded) — and it looks like our total expenses will be below $600 and our out of pocket expenses will be below $400. Seems like a good place to be, considering we are almost home and how many places we’ve been.

4:30 pm ish: We arrive in Portland earlier than expected — we may go home today.

7:30 pm: We make contact with Brita, have a good chat and pick up some take and bake pizza. We are well fed and on our way home tonight. It would be a pleasant surprise for both of our parents, except that Scott told my mom. Bah. Joska, my nephew, is bright and rambunctious as he always is, Brita loves to talk about her plans, and Jason is as nice and mild-mannered as ever. Their house is looking pretty good, sporting a new fence and with some interior work as well. We were sorry to cut out stay so short, but be are also excited to get home, and we are well fed with pizza and salad, ready for the final leg of our epic journey.

10:26 pm — 125662 miles on odometer: We arrive at Scott’s house and declare the road trip officially over.
Total Time: 15 days, 14 hours, 56 minutes.
Total Distance: 7025 miles.
Verdict: Success!

Road Trip – Day 14

Today we had an incredible breakfast with Collin & Family, then we headed off and tooled around the Bay Area without really ding anything excapet seeing Golden Gate and Ghiradeli’s – which we have both already done. We eventually made it to U.C. Berkley, and went to the gate of the Lawrence Berkley National Labs, and played some frisbee near Golden Gate Park, then we went to a woodworker friend fo Scott’s for dinner, then we settled in at Collin’s mom’s place for the night.

Road Trip – Day 13

Once again, the official log is not entirely accessible, so I will write this from memory and upload the official one later. But really, the official one isn’t so good since only one of us logs anymore. Today we went from Simi Valley to San Francisco primarily on US Highway 101. We stopped at Santa Barbara where there was supposed to be an intersting market, but we couldn’t find it and the entire city was half shut down getting ready for a parade of some sort, so we got out of there and continued on to Pismo Beach. There, we had lunch, enjoyed the waves, took some pictures, and continued on to Morro Bay where Scott took a large format picture and I snapped a roll and a half on the SLR along with some digital photos. On our way to Monterey, it got dark so we bypassed the rest of the coast and went straight to the San Francisco area. Collin’s family welcomed us and fed us well, offered excellent conversation, great music, and a nice place to sleep.

Road Trip – Day 12

We are in L.A. – or actaully in Simi Valley, just outside of L.A. We drove through L.A. during rush hour, a process which took a couple of hours, not because the traffic was so slow – it actually moved pretty well msot of the time – but because L.A. is so big. The Lakers lost, this is good. Scott’s computer is off, so you’re not getting the “official” log today. But here’s the general idea: Gas here in Cali is expensive, there are lots of wind generators, the smog over L.A. is pretty gross, and Venice beach is quite interesting. We saw Brennan again, and Jim and Pat Chatterly are great hosts and fun to talk to. We will be going to San Fran tomrrow via the Coastal highway. Thats all for now folks!

Road Trip – Day 11

Today was a rest from driving day. We had a lazy morning while Jeana took a final, then we went on a hike of Squaw Peak, overlooking the entire Phoenix area. After that we returned to GCU and played some Frisbee and had Mac and Cheese for lunch. It burned a little bit, but it still tsted alright. Next, we refilled waters and washed dishes, then Jeana went off to work at the Suns game while Scott and I went to Scottsdale to see art galleries and get postcards. We got the postcards and saw lots of interesting art. We also met a photogrpaher whom we talked to for a good half hour about all sorts of things – from Ansel Adams and large format photography to modern digital techniques and everything in between. We returned to GCU and had dinner, then Jeana got back and we hung out for a while until she needed to go to bed, so we said out goodbyes since we are planning on leaving early tomorrow for L.A. and now we are getting ready to sleep.

Road Trip – Day 10

Here’s our most recent activity – and here’s to more frequent updates! I’m disappointed at GCU’s lack of ethernet in its residence halls, but I will search dilligently for fast internet tomorrow. You all deserve pictures.

Day 10 (Wednesday, December 10, 2003)

11:48 am — 0.0 miles: After showering, reorganizing, and breaking camp, we leave Catalina state park for the Biosphere — the same biosphere that we visited last night and were told by the security guards that we couldn’t even look at the thing from the outside. When I asked for any information, the security guard told me he had none. Way to be useful, foolio. On the way out, the other security guard was at least useful enough to tell us what hours they were open. We pull into Bashas, a grocery store, to get some more food for the rest of the trip.

2:45 pm -19.7 miles: Scott is good enough with the stick shift, and bad enough at logging (I even called him a “lag slocker” — I was trying to say “log slacker,” but that’s not what came out) that he is driving in Tucson while I log. The Biosphere 2 is a grand project still waiting to be made great. Admission was only $6, less that the $13-23 we were expecting, so we were quite pleased and entered without much debate. The entire place felt like it was past its prime, although some construction was ongoing. The Biosphere was built in 1987 with the money of a single man (this is why it is good to have rich people in a society). The original intent of the Biosphere was to seal humans inside to see how they could live within an ecosystem using recycling and so-forth. These experiments ended in 1992, but the information and the guides didn’t seem to care to elaborate as to why. I suspect that it has something to do with a story I heard on NPR a long time ago — that the biosphere was not as self-sustaining as was planned, and that there had been clandestine insertions of materiel from the outside to ensure the viability of the project. When this was discovered, the project came to a dismal end. In 1996, Columbia University took over the management of the Biosphere 2 facility with great plans on turning it into the focal point for environmental research in the world. Recently, Columbia retreated from its plans to buy the center and vastly scaled back its research activities at the site. Financial reasons may be involved, but I personally suspect that the results being produced by the Biosphere were not what the closed-minded liberal environmental research scientists wanted. Most of the “educational” displays on the walking tour were designed to scare people about the dangers of global warming, the drastic effects of human activity on the planet, and all sorts of other unproven or disproved liberal ballyhoo. There was a clear political intent to Columbia University’s involvement at the Biosphere, and I believe that the data the Biosphere produced didn’t fit the wants of those in charge of the University’s involvement.

5:04 pm — 71.7 miles: We stop at a Phillips 66 outside of Saguaro National Park to refuel, having just witnessed a dumb cop make life dangerous for ourselves and several other drivers. We think we’ll be in Phoenix around 7:00. This day seems really short, but I guess that’s what happens when you don’t get going until noon.

10:43 pm — 236.1 miles: We are in Phoenix. Since Jeana wasn’t going to be available until after 10 pm, we decided, on the advice of Suzanne who lived in Phoenix for a year, to go to downtown Tempe, the site of Arizona State University. Tempe earns Arizona massive points — it is a beautiful, colorful, lively city that is great to walk around in. It is well decorated for the season, has nice parks, and is full of beautiful young people. Tempe is good. After we got tired of walking around Tempe, we went to the International Airport to recreate the scene from Wayne’s World and other movies of watching the planes land nearby. Our spot wasn’t quite as good as in the movies, but it was still fun. On our way back to Phoenix and Grand Canyon University, we stopped to help a motorist of the side of the road. He had a flat and couldn’t find the jack in his car, which he had just bought. We dug out our jack (in the trunk, under all our junk) and let him use it, then raced against time to get everything back together in the trunk as a street sweeper bore down on us. We returned to Phoenix proper, got in touch with Jeana, and now we await her arrival at the Applebee’s here in Phoenix.

2:13 am: Jeana took her time getting to the Applebee’s, but she finally showed up and we had a joyous reunion. It turns out that we were kind of crashing one of her friends’ birthday party — but they didn’t seem to mind that much, at least not after the Jagermeister shots the four girls shared. Scott and I split chicken wings and each ordered an entre on top of that — I got a mediocre but filling chicken parm and scott had chicken fingers and fries. After Applebee’s we moved to an Irish bar down the street where Scott, Jeana and I caught up while the others enjoyed some more alcoholic beverages. I feel really in my element at bars, let me tell you. Finally, about one o’clock, we headed to Grand Canyon University. Jeana set us up our very own room with mattresses and box springs, a toilet — but no Internet access! We are shocked! It looks like my phone will get to use some more nighttime minutes to upload this.

Road Trip – Day 9

Day 9 (Tuesday, December 09, 2003)

7:56 am — 0.0 mile: I, Ryan, wake up during the last moments of golden hour. I quickly get more clothes on, since it is bitter cold, and snap a few pictures of the mountains and a wandering deer. The deer around here are plentiful. Scott gets up too and we have to granola and milk for breakfast before breaking camp. While I journal, Scott is using his large format view camera to take a picture of the mountains. It has been a while since I updated the ‘blog; I’ve got to get on that.

9:20 am — 0.8 miles: We leave the visitor’s center, headed back to the campsite where we are supposed to pay our $8 fee — on a self-serve basis. After paying, we set out on US Hwy 62/180 toward another Highway into El Paso.

11:34 am — 110.5 miles: In El Paso, we decide to take a look at the US/Mexico border. We see it, but the wait looks too long and we don’t know all the procedures to get back and forth, so we decide we’ll just continue on to Phoenix.

12:05 pm — 136 miles: We cross into New Mexico for the second time, and once again only briefly, as I-10 jogs North before turning west again towards Phoenix.

12:01 pm — 201 miles: We change our clocks back an hour, so no, we didn’t just time warp. We are headed west on I-10, trying to figure out the rest of the day.

4:57 pm — 399.7 miles: We stopped at the Chiricahau (don’t worry, we can’t pronounce it either) National Monument, about an hour and twenty minutes out of our way, and spent a couple of hours admiring the scenery and taking photographs. Among the regular pillars of rock are some very unique ones: The Totem Pole is 137 feet tall and only a yard thick, and the Pinnacle Balanced rock weighs over 1000 tons and rests on a base only 4 feet wide. On our way to the monument, we had the opportunity of driving on a dirt and gravel roadway. Because of this stop, we won’t be able to make it to the Biosphere II in Oracle, Arizona, which I think would have been a pretty awesome thing to see. Its two hours away from Phoenix, though, so we probably won’t be returning to see it this trip.

6:57 pm — 523.1 miles: We missed our turnoff to Hwy-77, so we had to do a little bit of backtracking, on W Tangerine Rd, which is only significant because the road insisted on bobbing up and down, over and over again, similar to a kiddy rollercoaster.

8:11 pm — 565.7 miles: AAA’s campground guidebook sends us to a “free” site in the middle of nowhere down dirt roads. The signage for the campground is handwritten on cardboard. And after all that we find out that the campground actually has a ten dollar per night fee. I am very perturbed, I am very perturbed indeed.

12:18 am — 678.4 miles: Scott left some things out. The reason we are looking for a campground instead of staying in Phoenix with Jeana is twofold. First, we spent so much time getting up this morning, looking at the border to Mexico in El Paso, and photographizing at the Chiricahau National Monument that we got way behind schedule. Second, I still want to see the Biosphere, which is four hours out of the way if we were to go to Phoenix tonight. So, we decided to camp somewhere near Tucson so we could take things at a more leisurely pace. The first campground we attempted to go to, called Peppersauce, is the closest to the Biosphere, which itself is near a town called Oracle. Peppersauce turned out to be a pay site, as described above. Since the last place the AAA campbook told us was free was actually free (in Canton, Kansas), we thought that this Peppersauce deal was just a fluke and thought we’d try another one of the free campsites. On the way to where the other free campsites are supposed to be, we passed Catalina State Park — it, however, costs $12 a night. We pressed onward, but we were getting delirious from the lack of food and the fitful rest we had last night. So we decided to stop at a Subway for a break and some food. We headed out again, entering the same national forest that the Peppersauce campground is in, but from the other side, only to find out that the other two “Free” campsites are also pay sites. By this point, we didn’t care, and the cost was only five bucks, so we figured it’ll be alright. Well, upon arriving at the first campsite we discovered that it has been shut down for renovation. So we decided to press on to the second campsite, a mere 14 miles up a steep and twisty mountain road. About 10 miles on our way, we are informed that the road is closed in 2000 feet. Sure enough, it is blocked off. We cursed, and turned around, trying to figure out what to do next. We decided that it would be alright if we set up camp in the under construction campsite, for just one short night. However, upon driving into the site, a domesticated dog began to bark at us, warning us that there were indeed people manning the site. He got out of there, cursing again, and headed back to town. Now we have finally settled in at Catalina State Park — the one we rejected earlier — after a series of campground fiascos beyond belief.

Here’s to adventure!