Monday, June 8, 2009

LK's Final Thoughts

(Why should only Jerry Springer and Andy Rooney get them?)

America is a large and diverse country impossible to see within just 9 days, not even a whole month. But certainly, the parts you can get to are worth going to. Some parts of the country are really weird, some of the people are vastly different, but in the words of Sean Hannity (whom we took the advantage of laughing at since we had satellite radio), "We are all American." To understand your neighbors, your fellow man, you should visit them and try to understand them.

I would recommend a lengthy roadtrip adventure to absolutely everyone regardless of age or origin. Roadtripping is about freedom, the journey, and spontaneity. It was an awesome way to kick-off not only what will be a fun summer in Portland, but a new chapter of my life as a part of the workforce and on the path to full financial independence. This road trip was also a great way of bonding with Web on an adventure neither of us will forget.

Beef is the choice meat of America. If you are a vegetarian or vegan roadtripping and really experiencing America, you are gonna miss out on some beefy eats. I recommend lapsing into carnivorous sin before you get on the freeway.

Jesus is alive and well in America. The Bible Belt can get really hardcore.

America is actually creating some renewable energy from wind turbines. I have evidenced them with my own eyes. I know people sometimes complain about how they look or that they may kill a bat or bird on occasion, but 1) shiny glass building kill way more flying animals, and 2) I think the gigantic white titans, swirling their arms in circles are beautiful compared to a steam cloud from a nuclear plant or a layer of smog from a coal plant.

I went to school at an extremely divserse university. I was a solid minority in the vast majority of the places we visited along this roadtrip. I was in culture shock in places like Iowa.

I would totally do this again, at the first chance I get, once I get some vacation days and money. I think the next destination is exploring the Southwest and Texas... maybe New Orleans...

I also hope all my and Web's family and friends enjoyed following us on this journey. We were thinking of you along the way.

Home, Sweet Home (and a Stop at Bend)

Sunday, June 7th, was the last day of our amazing roadtrip across Amer'ca. We started realizing we had to work the next day and mild dread and plots to run away to Canada or Texas spontaneously occurred throughout the day.

I slept hardcore at Diamond Lake, and both Web and I agreed that sleepinging in the outdoors feels so much better than indoor sleeping. I'd agree more fully if it hadn't been super cold that night in tent that isn't very well insulated.

However, due to a combination of Sunday's Day of Rest implications and 8 days on the road (and possibly drugged olives) I passed out in the car most of the day and didn't record much by way of film or photographs. Documentary fail. Web accounts I was very passed out and slippig into dream sleep cycles quick. At some point I had a nightmare about a centipede and scared myself awake.

When I woke up, we had made it to Bend, OR. A little out of the way, yes, but we figured downtown might have something cool to do. As it turns out, Bend isn't interesting at all, despite being the largest city in Central Oregon. But we did find a Sonic for lunch, Web's first Sonic. For those of you that haven't seen the savory teaser commercials on TV, Sonic is America's drive-in and they have a plethora of choices of food and drinks:

We got some grub for the road:

Mmmmmm, limeade:

Mmmmmm, jalepeno burger:

Mmmmm onion rings:

After Sonic, which was a tasty meal, we headed towards my hometown of Vancouver, WA. Again, I must have slipped into a deep food coma or Sonic's secret sauce is roofies, because I was out cold until we got well into Washington state.

I'd like to proudly point out how that our state route signs are the profile silhouettes of a bust of Geroge Washington's head. They are cute:

Also, that the people of the Northwest have adapted to live in a climate without sunlight, much like bats and small albino cave-dwelling animals on Planet Earth:

In the Hazell Dell neighborhood of Vancouver, WA, where I am from and where my mother and brother live, there is a cornocopia of fast food joints, used car lots, strip malls, and big box stores. In fact, it reminds me of Cincinnati. Except we have an awesome fast food burger joint called Burgerville with seasonal milkshakes and the option of veggie burgers:

If you ever visit my next of the woods, you should try a Tillamook cheeseburger and a shake.

We got to my mom's house and unloaded all my stuff into the house. I took a much needed shower after conversating with my family for a bit. Web and I then joined his parents, also Vancouverites, for a homemade dinner. Yum yum. I have met the majority of the Web clan in a matter of 9 days, incredible.

Crater Lake & Diamond Lake Camping

We got into Crater Lake National Park in Oregon in the early evening of Saturday. The elevation got a lot higher, and we got a lot colder, since apparently snow at Crate Lake doesn't melt by early June. But here is the crater, the lake inside, and Wizard Island:

I have memories of Crater Lake from when I was a kid in the summer. We must have visited much later in the year, since it was hot and not just a few degrees above freezing. Crater Lake was formed by a volcanic eruption and the collection of water overtime. So the bacteria in Crater Lake are totally different since they have been isolated for so long. It is also one of the deepest lakes in the world.

Web took an unflattering picture of me in from of the lake, I look like I have Down's:

And my picture of him turned out a lot better:

The views are nice in the Cascades, one of the reasons why Oregon is better than every other state.

This peak was really high:

Crater Lake has a long way to go until the snow melts...

And another pleasant snow landscape:

We camped at Diamond Lake that night, just north of Crater Lake. Real camping, no KOAs. It was also swarming with bugs and was freezing cold. I actually wore 4 layers of shirts and 2 layers of pants to bed, and a hat! Here is the lovely abode:

And we made a sweet campfire and roasted wieners over it and tossed back a couple brews:

And we were starting to get a little sad since this was our last night on the road, nearing the end of our grand cross-country adventure.

Jelly Beans, Olives, and Weed (CA)

We left San Francisco on the morning of Saturday, June 6th. But before we left town entirely, we had to see the Golden Gate Bridge, since Web had managed to stay in SF for 2 weeks and not see it somehow:

Despite the name "Golden," this suspension bridge is misleadingly red, and even more misleadingly, is technically orange according to Wikipedia. Californians may be color-blind. I suspect "Golden" refers to the fact that California is the Golden State, not the Silver State like Nevada.

Once you cross the bridge, you are out of town. Good-bye San Francisco!

On our way to I-5 to head to Crater Lake we stopped at a Jelly Belly outlet store (since we missed the factory). Jelly Bellies are a native food to Californians, like Ronald Reagan. Apparently the Jelly Belly factory has commemorated Reagan with a portrait made entirely of Jelly Bellies. Neoconservatism has never been so flavorful! But the outlet was nice, since I don't have to put any crappy flavors in my bag (i.e. Licorice, Dr. Pepper, Tutti Frutti, etc.) Instead I loaded up on Juicy Pear, Peach, Margarita, Mango, etc.

The outlets also sell giant 2 lb. bags of their reject beans, entitled "Belly Flops." Since my mom goes out of her way to each the deformed jelly beans, I bought her bag of just funky ones:

Once we got onto I-5 we passed farms, orchards, burbs, but the roadside billboards for the Olive Pit in Corning, CA caught our eye. AKA, caught my eye since I love olives. So we made a stop at the Olive City:

The Olive Pit was awesome. They had 120 types of olive products and tastings. I ended up bringing back three jars: Deep South Cajun Style Pitted, Mediterranean, and Sicilian. Yum! And the brine of the Cajun ones will make for spicy martinis in the future.

After Corning, I passed out for awhile. But I woke up when we were getting near Lake Shasta:

And soon we got closer to Mt. Shasta:

This view was from Weed, California, the junction between I-5 and Highway 97:

They had clever souvenirs like an "I <3 WEED" T-shirt.

Other than that, there is not much in Weed.

Welcome to San Francisco

After eating our In-N-Out and getting out of the 'burbs, we headed back out on I-80. When started seeing a lot of water (the Bay), we new we were getting closer to our destination, San Francisco.

When we passed through Berkeley, we also knew we were in Berkeley by the lone protester on a walkway bridge who was shirtless and holding up a large sign. However, this man could have used a lesson or two in proper activism, since he was holding his sign opposite the direction of oncoming traffic... so whatever he was protesting, it will always be a mystery to us.

Traffic also indicated we were nearing San Francisco:

California used to keep their prisoners here at Alcatraz:

Props to all the escapees that risked falling into the freezing cold water of the Bay. I feel like they should have gotten automatic parole if they managed to escape there.

Interestingly, Treasure Island is actually located outside of SF, unlike the Caribbean like I had imagined:

The treasure wasn't in this tunnel:

Maybe the treasure is San Francisco itself? Here is the skyline from the interstate:

We found out thay many stereotypes about Californians are true in San Fran.

For example, Californians like palm trees:

Californians like to surf:

Californians have the Smug (see South Park), driving hybrid cars and smelling their own farts:

Californians also are Obama voters and drive the official car of lesbians, Subarus:

California is also the last place on Earth where Volkswagen Beetles are cool:

Did I mention they really like hybrid cars? So smug.

Californians may also be perverts...

...since they have a ton of strip clubs:

There are also a lot of Chinese people in California:

Some stereotypes about San Francisco are also true, like that there are many hills:

There are also a lot of gays in San Francisco, even this pug is crossdressing using a feather boa instead of a leash:

But after a little driving we neared Web's sister's neighborhood in North Beach, near the Italian neighborhood (our crash pad for the night). Parking was a bit of a hassle. However, San Francisco is very considerate of your blood pressure needs as well:

Once we actually parked, Jenny, Web's sister, has a cute little apartment and a very friendly and pleasant roommate and cat. How quaint! We chitchatted for awhile then headed to Japantown to go to San Wang's, my mothers favorite Chinese restaurant from when she lived in the heart of SF. It was also on Travel Channel, as is a ton of food for the money. I ordered the San Wang Soup, which was actually a lot like Korean soups I have had. In addition to the kimchi served at the table and the Korean names for some dishes I suspect this resturant may be owned by Koreans or ethnic Koreans from China, since there was some Korean-style Chinese food on the menu.

After San Wang's we retired for the evening, but only after I made a large number of blog posts.