Monday, July 14, 2008

Photogram? (photos)

Distance Signs at Portland, Oregon

We spent an afternoon in Portland to gather our bearings and supply ourselves for the trip to San Francisco. In the main part of town there is this sign of signs which lists mileage to locations such as Times Squre and Red Square, Moscow, to obscure places like ‘kangaroos.’ (I guess they mean Australia?) Portland itself was a friendly city. Tim and I happened to come when the farmer’s market was in full swing. Lucky for us we were able to score fresh organic berries and even sample a delicious soda made out of strawberries.

Red Wood Giant

Coming to see the Redwood Forest was one of my lifetime goals I set for myself. To actually be there, touching a real redwood tree was beyond words. The entire time there I felt as if I were transported to another world where I was the smallest thing there. The trees towered above everything. Patches of three leaf clovers were even bigger than I had seen them before. Small paths weaved their way through the forest leading to new ones of exploration and adventure. When Tim and I arrived there was a bird hoping between branches, occasionally flying down near us. The entire time there he followed us through the woods as if he were a personal tour guide.

Pacific Coast

The beautiful Pacific coastline. This shot was taken off 101 close to the evening. You haven’t seen a coastline until you see the Pacific. I know I’ve said that before but it’s true.

Rodeo Point

Here we are, the beginning of highway 101, Rodeo Point. When you get onto the road there’s a huge interstate sign painted on the ground reminding you of which road you have just begun, or finished. The wind nearly knocked me over when I got out of the car. This was also my first chance to see the Pacific raging against a rocky cliff. Behind me is about a thirty to forty foot drop towards the ocean.


A modded Ford truck Tim and I encountered on our way out of Portland. The people on the west coast sure are an interesting bunch!

Deer in Olympic

I spotted this guy at Olympic park in Washington. Tim and I were spending some time in the natural hot springs that afternoon, which were an hour’s hike up the mountain. The path used to be on eused by traffic until the ice flow destroyed parts of the road. Occasionally you could see drainage pipes sprouting out from the side of the mountain. The hot springs themselves ranged from small pools that could fit one or two people, to bigger ones which could house a family. The water temperature was so hot you had to get out for a while occasionally. Sulfur made the air smell funky and it made everything slippery to the touch. After a few rough nights of long driving the hot springs made for a relaxing pastime.

Trees at Olympic

Tim spotted this unique display of soil erosion on our way to the hot springs. The trees’ roots are holding the soil together while underneath it slowly falls away. I wouldn’t want to be around when these trees give in to gravity and come crashing down.

Olympic morning

On our way to Olympic Park I made a critical error and missed our exit off I-5. Eventually Tim woke from his nap and alerted me to my mistake and we turned around and rerouted ourselves. This mistake cost us five hours of driving time. Frustrated at myself, and eager to get to the park, I tried making up for it by driving through the night. Our map showed a National Forest at the south end of the park where we could camp. It came to be two in the morning and I was unable to find a campground so I pulled over and slept in the car. To avoid any trouble I woke up before the sun rose and continued the journey north along the eastern side of the Olympic peninsula. Tim snagged this shot of the morning mist coming off a lake as we drove towards Port Angeles.

Victoria Ferry

This shot gives a good look at how small Scottie really is. Tim and I are on a ferry bound for Anacortes, Washington. The ride was a nice reprieve from driving and I took full advantage of my time to read. There’s a wonderful allure to being the foreigner aboard a vessel. You feel unique in your international status and while I rested on a bench I listened to people speaking in French Canadian, Japanese and Korean.

Fond Farewell

This was a difficult time in our journey. Julie made the difficult decision to part ways and strike out on her own towards San Juan Island. She had friends out there who she could stay with. I wish she had decided o stay with us because the trip had barely begun and we had yet to make it to California. I couldn’t argue with her choice though, and all I could do was wish her the best on her own adventures.

Vancouver Water Fall

About thirty minutes outside of Vancouver, BC, by bus, is a rope bridge and hiking park. I cannot remember the name but I do remember the green, moss covered trees and the overwhelming feeling of peace this place instilled in me. Tim and I walked off the path up the mountain away from everyone to sit and meditate. From where we were we could see joggers, hikers and visiting travelers like ourselves.

Shot of Trees in Vancouver Park

This was a fun shot of some trees in Vancouver Park, a different one than the waterfall. Vancouver Park isn’t very different than many parks that you can find in New Jersey. There’s the usual collection of pine trees and oaks and maples, but a very large difference, and this is quite literal, everything is much bigger! I wasn’t able to get a shot that could accurately display this difference in size. The trees are much older than the ones you find in New Jersey, probably because of Canada’s excellent preservation methods. If you ever find yourself in Vancouver I suggest you spend an afternoon exploring this park.

Totem Pole

By the harbor area of the city this totem pole towers over everything else. I found it a bit late in the day so the lighting wasn’t ideal for the picture. I’m glad the airplane came out though.

Vancouver at night

While on a long day trip in the city, Tim and I found ourselves without transit and were forced to walk back to our hostel. In order to get back to the main district we needed to walk across a bridge with traffic moving 50mph right next to us. It got to be a little scary at times, and the thunder storm in the distance didn’t help our enthusiasm. To help cheer myself up, I stopped to take this black and white picture of the city. I didn’t think it would come out this good and I’m proud to have taken this shot. On a side note, Tim and I made it before the rain hit, but lost our way and ended up walking in a complete circle, literally spending an hour doing so. Seeing the same bridge suddenly appear in front of us after an hour of walking wasn’t the highlight of my evening.

Vancouver at day

Here is a shot Tim took of the city as we drove down the main highway, right before the bridge into downtown. You have to remember we arrived in Canada on Canada Day, so the streets were packed with people all celebrating. It was probably the best timing we had the whole road trip. Sometimes, in order for me to make a turn while driving into the city, I had to slowly make my way through people crossing the street at the same time. I felt like I was breaking the law but even though I had a green light, people still crossed unconcerned about oncoming traffic. Vancouver is a rough city!

Danger! Helicopter

Tim spotted this sign as we drove towards Vancouver City. I couldn’t imagine why it was there, sitting among a hedge line, but perhaps there really is a concern I am not aware of.

Border tree

Another one of Tim’s excellent photos. While waiting at the border between the US and Canada Tim snagged a shot of this interesting tree. To this day we don’t know what kind of tree it is, other than something that really grabs the eye. The landscaping around the border is just as impressive, with many different colored flowers and impeccably groomed grasses.

Farm in Washington

This was taken to show just what northern Washington is really like. Once you get past Seattle things start to slow down and if you get off the highway you drive along tractors, rather than cars. Something curious I noticed is that there are a lot of signs which say something along the lines of ‘watch for drunk drivers.’ I asked Tim and Julie what they thought it meant and they considered it could be a reference to the various Indian reservations in the area. While none of us are 100% positive of this deduction we did continue to see these signs all over the west coast, where coincidentally reservations were located.

Scotti taking a break

While we were busy setting up camp in Washington, the night before we arrived at the border, Scotti was taking a break recovering from his long excursions across the country. Poor Scotti, he’s quite the trooper!

Julie and the Troll

An interesting side quest found us under Interstate 5 in Seattle with an actual bridge troll! Lucky for Julie he was cast in stone and was unable to perform his usual troll activities, such as terrorizing those crossing the bridge. Mike and Kim told us about this place while we were staying with them in Seattle. (Thanks again, guys, for giving us a place to stay. Much appreciated!)

Two trash cans

Julie captured these two trash cans together one night on the road at a rest stop.

Bumper Sticker Bus

This bus in Boulder, Colorado didn’t hesitate to express itself. I caught it from afar and had to run to catch up with it so I could grab a shot. I was a little disappointed that the stickers were actually painted on, rather than actual stickers put there by people. Who knew opinions could be so easily manufactured?

Cultural weekend

14 July, Monday -
At 145pm on Monday afternoon, I have got a fair bit done and now to head to the library. This isn't for me a 'fun-only' stop; during my 4th visit I'll need to get some research done to decide if this may be a place for me. Maybe for a while, or not at all.

13 July, Sunday -
After exploring much of downtown San Francisco, I found most non-commercial establishments were closed. Dolores Park was packed, however, and I bet the great weather played a big part in the makeshift rave tent, complete with speakers, DJ, and tables. Such an assortment of diverse groups dancing together is rarely seen, except maybe here.

12 July, Saturday -
A lazy day, after settling into an awesome hotel right in downtown @ 40/nite (+ parking...). Golden Gate Park was way laid-back, but I forgot how chilly it gets just after sunset, even here. Haight Street was a trip, but seemed like almost every square inch was owned. Bummer. I guess Corporate America really can market and manipulate all culture: war culture, consumer culture, culture of fear, ... even counterculture.

Friday, July 11, 2008

"Be sure to wear some flowers in your hair.."

Definitely not. But, like the setting of that one old song (some classic rock-ish/folk-y song of yore), we're here: in San Francisco. I'll update on the past few days below, and upload more pictures tonight... I think I'm beginning to build something of a photographers portfolio...

Friday, July 11 -
Arrival in San Francisco. Spent last night in an inn just outside the city. After a 10 minute ride, we crossed the Golden Gate Bridge; my first time seeing it closer than from across the city, even after 4 visits.

On another note, we still have much of California to explore. While I am taken with San Francisco (now my 4th visit in 2 years), Joe R. says San Diego is a very close competitor for 'Awesome City'. Certainly, with a $1 bet on it now, I will find much to like about San Diego... although it definitly has warm water going for it.

Thursday, July 10 -
Yesterday we drove through Oregon via Rt. 101, the coastal route - wholly one of the most scenic stunning roadways in the nation. Portland was nice and I hung out one of the most strongly willful people I have ever met. With a victim-turned-heroine type story, needless to say, I feel I have been let in to the wisdom of a modern-day sage, one no older than I. More on this later, perhaps.

A pleasant day of driving today after crossing into California; though we spent last night in the car - EVERYWHERE along a 35 mile stretch was full (or way overly expensive). We managed to spend a nice afternoon napping and reading in a park along Avenue of Giants in an ancient redwood forst.

Tuesday, July 8 -
We left Olympic National Park today. It's a whole new, wild ecosystem to me - mountainous, temperate rain forest - totally thrilling. For the first time this trip, we got to hike some trails through a park we were staying at - en route we discovered some natural hot springs. Not a bad way to spend a Monday afternoon.

Tonight we spent a night at a rest stop in Washington, we just drove all night and had to stop. Fortunately we're just by the Oregon border so we can get provisioned in Portland tomorrow. Then down to California; we think we'll hit that border tomorrow night.

Sunday, July 6 -
We reached the U.S. again. It took us a while, longer than we though but we avoided another ferry. Chris will drove all through the night to reach Olympic National Park. A wearisome day of travel and movement.

Friday, July 4, 2008

Photos! Before Boulder,

Scotti’s ready!

This was a shot of Scotti in Collingswood just before Tim, Julie and I embarked on our road trip.

Julie in the ‘cave’

We nicknamed the rear seat of the car ‘the cave’ because it felt exactly like that, a cave. There was so much stuff packed into the car that when it came to fitting a third person in they sat right up against all of it. I feel bad for how often Julie had to sit back there while I got a front row seat everyday.

Drum Circle in Washington DC

This is a picture of a drum circle in Washington DC. Part of our first day experience, the three of us spent a few hours in DC gathering food supplies and enjoying some good music. This drum circle happens every Sunday for 40 years in western DC. I’ve gone to it a few times and it can range from just under twenty members to over forty people either grooving to the beat or dancing in the street. It’s always a good time.


Here’s a shot of the Great Plains of Kansas. I remember wanting to see nothing but fields really bad until it was five hours of nothing but fields. The trip wasn’t all that bad because I had great companions and smooth tunes the whole way.

The Delaware Memorial

Another shot of the first day experience. Here we’re driving over the Delaware Memorial Bridge.

More photos from before Boulder, Co.

Photos! Before Yellowstone.

4 July 2008 -
So video didn't work out so great - crummy wireless, slow uploads, and an uncomfortable chair. On the other hand, I found some pretty nice pictures. In this post are images from the early part of the trip until Yellowstone. Chris will fill in the captions (at his leisure).

5 July 2008 -
Julie has left us this afternoon for San Juan Islands. A day later than the 4th, Chris and I are on our own exploring Vancouver Island. We expect to be heading back Stateside in the next few days. I'll upload pictures up to Vancouver soon; I'll need to get more video filmed and find a way to upload it all, too....

Tim with his Booze

Before our trip into Yellowstone we stopped to resupply ourselves and send out a few postcards. Tim took the break to a new level and helped himself to some wine before we headed out. He calls me a fish!

Twisty road

This picture is from the road leading out of Yellowstone. I think Tim was trying to capture both the road and the boulders and trees surrounding it all in one shot.

Food troubles

Here I am trying to find a way to pack all of our recently purchased food into the car. I think we spent nearly an hour trying to find a spot for everything. Our cooler only held so much, and we needed to preserve our cool items and the ice together. When we bought the cooler it guaranteed to keep ice for five days, and I think the closest we got to that was three. In order to solve our food storage problem, we ended up cramming random food items into the smallest of corners in the car. It wasn’t until a few hundred miles later that we realized the error of our ways, and maintained a ‘food bag’ to hold PB&J and snacks for quick access on the road. Nothing was more frustrating than wanting something to eat and not finding food at hand.

3 Garbage Cans

Another one of Julie’s garbage can shots. This was taken somewhere between Ohio and Kansas.

Peace Sign in Boulder

As soon as I walked out of a coffee shop in Boulder this caught my attention. I had just savored the absolute best cup of coffee previously, I was going through caffeine withdrawal for two days at that point, so I felt on top of the world. I wanted to capture the moment by snapping this sign. I had only been in Boulder for two hours by this time and already I was in love with the city. Everyone was in a good mood and group spirits were high that day. Julie and I finally got some coffee and Tim was able to reconnect to the internet world. Boulder was probably my third favorite city out of the whole trip, trumped by Vancouver and San Francisco.

Photos! Yellowstone.

Yellowstone Falls

I walked away from these falls with a feeling of both excitement and joy instilled in me. It wasn’t the actual falls that did this, but rather the ambient nature of the area. People all had smiles on their faces and it seemed that not one person displayed an ill temper. Even the squirrels were friendly. You could walk right up to them and it wasn’t until you were within touching distance that they scampered off.

It's near day 19. We're pushing 3 weeks. We have covered much ground and crossed international borders! From Vancouver, I present some of the choicest pictures from the past 3 weeks. {Chris will supplement with captions.}

Yellow stone -

Glacial Lake

Tim, Julie and I stopped over at a vista point to get away from all the crowds for a few minutes. What we ended up with was this view of a glacial lake all to ourselves, aside from the two men in the boat. This picture does not give the scenery any justice at all. Imagine blues and purples that you’ve never seen before in a completely pure setting. The only evidence of humanity was this boat, and of course, ourselves. There is a great sense of peace where one can commune with their self in new ways out here in the great woods of Yellowstone.

Yellowstone Bison

The bison of Yellowstone! Everywhere you go in the park you can spot one of these creatures either basking in the sun or munching on green grass. You are warned not to approach these beasts at least several times a day and I’m sure for good reason. I wouldn’t want to be on the other end of this bison’s rage.

Yellowstone Steam Pits

This cool picture is thanks to Tim’s continued efforts of good picture taking. The mud pits reeked of sulfur which made it hard to hang around for very long. Over on a hill nearby dead trees littered the ground. A sign informed me of the soil heating to temperatures of over 300ºF killing all root systems thus causing the trees to die standing up. Occasionally one will fall over because it could no longer support itself. The volcanic activity underground was what caused the steam pits to form. After visiting Yellowstone I began to appreciate nature that much more due to its power and beauty.