Posted: July 6, 2005 in Uncategorized

In the interest of those like me with stunted attention spans when it comes to reading anything less than stellar writing on the internet, I’m serializing my trip diary from my vacation.

Day one is over, and I’m just flat out beat. The day has been such a compilation of experiences and thoughts that my head is aching a bit. Or maybe that’s the beer.

9 AM saw my departure from Eugene, plus one Humble Bagel with cream cheese, into the expanse of the western US. Over the past couple years, I’ve driven over Santiam pass more times than I can count, to the point that I know each corner and landmark like I drive it to get to work. Because of this, the impact of what I’m doing doesn’t really strike home until Bend is in my rearview mirror, and I’m passing landmarks I’ve never seen.

One thing is for certain about Oregon: the splash of green valleys between the coast and the cascades pales in volume compared to the vasteness of eastern oregon. I knew it was big, but damn, there’s really a whole lot of not much out there. Hours tick by at 65 MPH with barely a tree to mark my progress. Mick Jagger gets me through the miles with some Sympathy For the Devil in the devil’s own country.

The first thing I notice when entering Idaho was the delightfully high speed limit of 75, a luxury after the agonizing 55 of Oregon highways in country where you could see a squirrel in the road 20 miles off. However, I soon realize this was because nobody wants to stay in southern Idaho any longer than they have to. If anything, Idaho, in proper Morman fashion, decided that eastern Oregon was really too flashy, and could do without all the excessive sagebrush and occasional rock formation and go with the nice, plain, slightly rolling treeless fields for hundreds of miles.

After a painfully uneventful drive and with the sun sinking fast, I estimate my way to City of Rocks using a quick glance at a road atlas in a gas station and tidbits I can remember from glancing through the guidebook over 2 weeks ago. Luck is my co-pilot tonight. Not only do I find the park with little effort, but as I drive through unexpected packs of boyscout troupes and early holiday campers, my dwindling hopes of finding a spot sleep are suddenly revived by a passing Canadian couple. According to them, the campsite next to them has been reserved for several days, but so far nobody has shown up. So I pull into the parking spot for the site, putting together a story to give to the people I’m hoping I won’t see.

With a little socializing, I get some room at my neighbors’ campfire and even a few beers, and shortly thereafter I roll into the back of my car and pass out, thinking I have 12 more days of things I’ve never seen before.

  1. a_wags says:

    youre pictures make me want to do a road trip… i havent driven anywhere since my last trip to colorado in 2002

  2. Anonymous says:

    youre pictures make me want to do a road trip… i havent driven anywhere since my last trip to colorado in 2002

  3. snoboy says:

    Very cool trip. 10 thumbs up! I love the road to the horizon pics.

  4. Anonymous says:

    Very cool trip. 10 thumbs up! I love the road to the horizon pics.

  5. chloralone says:

    The axle grease messages are way cool. I hiked up Diamond Peak with a guy once, and we took the PCT trail route and then he broke off to show me something his grandpa had shown him: fairly intact wagon wheel ruts from when the pioneers came through. They’re were set in the Oregonian clay mud and fairly rock solid, now.
    Anyhow, pretty cool what treasures lie out here. Now I’ve gotta hit the City of Rocks.

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