Saturday, August 2, 2008

Day 1: Our neighbor to the north

After a little bit of a slow start to the day (who would have thought I should have done laundry BEFORE the morning I was leaving?), I finally made it out on the road; where I promptly got stuck in traffic before even leaving Portland.

The first part of the trip was fairly uneventful. The Columbia gorge is beautiful, for sure, but lets be honest: it's not exactly all that new and exciting when you've lived in the area for 23 years.

I-84 took me all the way to where I-82 ends abruptly in a T-junction with 84. At this point I turned north, which took me through what some would probably call the lovely quaint town of Umatilla, but I think I'll prefer to call it simply interesting. Granted, I only spent a few minutes driving around almost unsuccessfully looking for a grocery store, but in that time I was able to compile the following lists.

Things Umatilla has
  • A military depot named after it
  • A bridge
  • Multiple strip clubs (or "exotic experiences" as one signed described it)
  • A plethora of shady little shops (one of them being some kind of testing lab)
  • About 27 gas stations and truck stops

Things Umatilla doesn't have
  • More than one street of substance
  • Any kind of well labeled grocery store
  • A city hall (a sign in a gravel parking lot proclaimed this was "coming soon")
  • A reason for me to return

Luckily I was able to find a Western Family product peddling store, purchase some sandwich making materials, and be on my way into my first new state!

Washington: The Evergreen State
Washington: The Evergreen State
Despite the slightly barren landscape, this part of the drive was fairly interesting, in as much as this was the first time I had driven this particular stretch of interstate.

It passed fairly quickly and rather enjoyably in fact. At Kennewick I branched off of the ol' interstate and took US395 north out of town. There was a pretty amazing bridge that I completely failed to get a picture of, so I'll just leave that one as an imagination exercise for the reader.

Doing what I do, I caught a pretty neat sunset through an old structure of some sort, while taking care not to trespass and probably get myself shot by an irate rural farmer.

Neat sunset
Unfortunately, once the sunset it made it a bit harder to appreciate the landscape, so I jumped off at what may end up being my first night stop (I haven't decided this yet): Spokane. The city is actually quite a bit larger than I had imagined. Granted, what I had imagined was based off of entirely zero knowledge of the place, other than the fact that it is in Washington "somewhere". After driving around looking for a Starbucks to snatch some wifi, I realized that 1. Not every city is like Portland, with a Starbucks at every half-block, and 2. Starbucks wifi is not free wifi.

But Colin, you may ask, how then are you uploading all of these neat sunset pictures?

Gonzaga: provider of free wifi
BAM internet problem solved
Thank god for higher education and open access points.

I cruised around Spokane for a while, searching for somewhere to purchase eye drops that I had completely forgotten to get while "getting ready to go this week" (read: shopping yesterday and packing this morning). Think I may go check out a bar or two before deciding what to do for the night.

Trip status so far: good start.
Total miles: 390
Currently listening to:
Feist - The Reminder
Norah Jones - Feels Like Home
Billy Connoly - Classic Collony in Words
The Ricky Gervais "Bodcast"


Scott Nichols said...

Awesome! Dude that is come crazy trip you have planned... Don't get raped... Where are you sleeping? Is it in the car like our trip? Lookout for train tracks that harbor trains all freaking night.

g said...

Dude! Feist is fantastic.

Gonzaga is good at basketball and thats it. They were the rivals to my school in bball, but we always got tromped... so yeah.

Yeah man, are you camping in the evenings?

Spokompton, thats what kids from there called it. Its also where the Penny Arcade guys are from. Ya know, cuz thats hugely historic and stuff.

Good luck wandering through Montana dude! Can't wait till you get to Ohiiiioo.