Drive time: 50 hours
-Powell’s Books in Portland, OR
-That town with a big blue lake in CA
-North Tahoe, Squaw Creek.
-The end of the Lewis and Clark Trail
And here is the map...
Yes, this was a huge push, and I didn’t drive at all so I can’t speak to the ease of this leg of the trip. I can comment on how amazing the drive was, especially as we hit northern California. The first big stop, however, was at Powell’s Books in Portland. Imagine the biggest book store you’ve ever seen, multiply it by two, add a coffee shop, and make the average book price $10. I could hardly contain myself. I could have spent hours there, if not days, being completely content to sleep on the floor on a bed of paperbacks. We hit the road after two hours of browsing nirvana and I promptly passed out from all the excitement.
The next thing I remember is being woken up to look at the changing scenery. We’d gone from Oregon wet to California dry, crossing a snowy mountain pass in the night. (Ok, I do remember that too.) Trees in that area are spaced with short shrubs in between, the alpine biome. Our route took us through Eagle Lake, CA, a hidden town at the edge of a turquoise lake. This is the kind of place I’d love to vacation in, it’s beautiful and no one knows about it yet.
The SDO Science Conference took place at the Resort at Squaw Creek. When not in meetings, I spent my time looking at this… The resort was beautiful, and the scenery surrounding it was restorative.
North Tahoe is extremely beautiful and very matchy-matchy. Every building has the same look and feel. I’m sure this is deliberately done for the tourists, but I don’t care. It’s lovely. I’d like to spend some more time there, taking advantage of the skiing and snow sports, or maybe come back in the summer and climb.
This leg of the trip was deliberately lengthened to include KatieBeth in Fresno. After lunch with her we decided to take the longer route home up Hwy 101 and take our time driving up the Oregon coastline. Couldn’t have made a better decision. We stopped in Napa for dinner, where I had beer (gasp! Not wine?!?) at Downtown Joe's brewery on Main St, then drove through miles of fancy vineyards as the sun set. Napa it’s self is lovely. The rolling hills dotted with low trees surround a cute town I’d like to retire to some day. We pushed up to the Oregon border before calling it a night and getting some sleep at a rest stop.
In the morning we started north. The western coast of the US is an “emergent” coastline, meaning the shoreline is being lifted up due to the plate tectonics deep under the surface. Because of this we see features such as sharp cliffs next to the ocean and monoliths that dot the water. In contrast, the east coast looks more like it’s been flooded. No sharp edges (take a look at google earth), it’s a “submergent” coastline. While I enjoy the long flat beaches of the east, there is something about the wild and rocky tormented west coast. Oregon especially, with lush green forests only feet away from the pounding surf.
The rest of the coast included tiny towns, cheese factories, and more espresso shacks than I can count.