Monday, April 25, 2016

Oregon Vacation - Week 1

Friday night, my supervisor let me leave work 2 hours early so I could get on the road earlier and make better progress before stopping for a nap.  I left my apartment and was on my way out of Austin by 9:30pm.  I drove until 5:30am and ended up at a truck stop and parked in the “darkest” part of the parking lot I could find.  Still had to adjust the front seat to block a lot light that was shining straight into my eyes.

I woke up about an hour after tucking myself into the backseat of my car thanks to my bladder.  So I ran into the truck stop to use the facilities only to find that their bathrooms were closed for cleaning.  Seriously?!?!  So I had to drive to the other truck stop across the street to go potty.  By then, the sun was pretty much up and so was I so I said forget it and got back on the road.

I drove thru Santa Rosa, NM looking for somewhere to stop for breakfast but the one place that looked good (the Route 66 Restaurant)
But it wasn’t open yet.  So I continued on.  Next city was Albuquerque.  I searched for American style restaurants and ended up at one that looked good and apparently it was because it seemed like EVERYONE was there.  So I looked up another restaurant and started making my way to it and let me tell you, the part of Albuquerque I drove through was extremely ghetto.  So I just kept driving.  At the north side of the city I discovered a Cracker Barrel!  By this time, I had a stabbing headache, was super nauseated and you know that feeling when you’re drunk and everything is spinning?  Yea.  There was that too.  All I could think was altitude sickness.  Which is weird because I’ve made this trip many times before without an issue.  Also, I was only at about 5500 feet above sea level.  So at breakfast, I chugged as much water as I could and ate my pancakes with blackberries and whip cream!  I felt a little better after that.  Then, back on the road.  While I was there, I bought a mermaid!
At some point driving through New México, I stopped at a couple of the famous Clines Corner 66.  Before that, I had stopped at the Exxon on I-40 in Moriarty, NM.  I found a copper bracelet that I just had to have!  It was only $20 and it was the style of bracelet I had before but managed to lose.  So I was super happy to find this bracelet!
I also bought a little sand tile magnet for a friend at work that wanted a pretty magnet.  I think she’ll really like it.
As I made my way north, toward Colorado, the temperature dropped.  And kept dropping.  It got all the way down to 34°.  There were intermittent light snow flurries.  Then there was a mix of snow and rain.

I stopped at a gas station somewhere in SW Colorado and got me an ice cream sandwich.  I’m thinking because of my lack of sleep that my body was having a little trouble regulating my body temperature and so I was feeling really warm despite it being only 34° outside.
After Colorado was Utah!  Just before Moab there is Wilson Arch.  It’s right there roadside and they have a pull off area where you can park and then hike up to the arch.  I stopped and decided to “run” up the hill to get to a better spot for my pictures, and then I ran back down the hill.  That felt GREAT!!! 
So then, I was super hot to find a trail to run a quick out-and-back on.  But I was having a problem finding anything with public access.  I got into Moab and googled “hiking trail” and got a few responses, but because I have no clue how to understand Utah’s grid system for how they label their streets, I couldn’t find them.  I was about to give up when I got to the north side of town and noticed there was a paved trail just off the side of the road.  Hmmm.  So then I was looking for a place to park.  And then Lions Park appeared!  So I swooped in and parked.  I hit the potty real quick, came back to the car and suited up with my hydration pack.  First thing on this trail was a pedestrian bridge crossing the Colorado river!  Then, it made a left and ran along between the highway and the cliff of red rock!  I decided not to care about my pace and just ran hard because that’s what I felt like doing.  I didn’t wear music for this run because I just wanted to fully enjoy my surroundings and because, well, I didn’t feel like fishing out my headphones.  Ha!

As I came off the bridge, my FitBit buzzed that I was at 2 miles.  I was breathing pretty heavy but felt amazing.  A guy was walking toward the bridge and asked “you’re breathing heavy already?”  I replied that I had just run 2 miles and he said “ooooh!”  I checked my pace post-run and discovered I was running my average pace of 10:34.  It seriously felt like I was trying to PR a 5K while I was running!  Hooray altitude!  Haha.  Now, I need to buy a “run” Utah magnet to go with my Oregon and Texas ones!

Back on the road I went.  I stopped for dinner at another Cracker Barrel in Provo and then continued on my way.  My goal was to make it to the rest stop just east of Santa Rosa, Idaho.  I just barely made it.  I was soooo tired that I seriously considered pulling off to the side of the interstate to sleep for a little bit.  Thankfully I made it safely.  I got there and was curled up in the backseat by 1:30am and set the alarm for 5:30.  Woke up around 4:10 to potty.  Alarm went off and I reset it for 6.  Got up, started driving again.  Made it to Boise, Idaho and stopped at a Shari’s for breakfast.  About an hour later, I was just so over driving and just wanted to be at my parents’ house already.

I stopped for lunch at another Shari’s in Hood River, Oregon.  A much needed mental break.  I continued along the Columbia River until Portland. 

As I was driving through the Columbia Gorge, I stopped at a truck stop to use the bathroom and found this shirt! 
I made it to my parents’ house right at 4pm on Sunday.  We unloaded my car, exchanged hugs!  Then I was in the shower.  The glorious, glorious shower!  After that, we headed over to my brother Alan’s house for a family BBQ!  I loved getting to see everyone!

Monday morning, I just let myself sleep until I woke up naturally.  Which was just before 9am.  FitBit said I got over 8 hours of solid sleep!  Daaaaaang!  I slept so hard for so long I was what I like to call “sleep drunk.”  It took me almost 2 hours to feel better.  I got dressed and headed out the door for a 10K run.  Happy Marathon Monday!  Congrats to everyone that ran Boston this year!  One day I will be one of you!  Every year, I run one of the Boston virtual races that benefits the survivors of the bombing.  This year’s medal was pretty neat too.

I love running around my hometown.  So many old houses in many wonderful colors.  So many flowers.  So much green.  So many trees.  

After my run, I loaded up my car and started toward my friend Patricia's house.  Before leaving town, I stopped at the Dutch Bros coffee and got a carmelizer iced coffee.
And then I was on the road!

I arrived at Patricia’s house just before dinner time.  Got up around 8am Tuesday morning.  Around 10:30, Patricia and I left for the Oregon Zoo!  We had a great time walking around and admiring the animals.  The temp was a little warm, got up to 90°!!!  Dude, this is OREGON…in APRIL!  What the heck?  Anyway, I won’t overload you with zoo pictures.  Just a few of my favorites will do.

Wednesday morning I woke up and went for my annual run on the beach.  I did the same 4 miles as last year.  Honestly, I would have done more, but I was having a potty emergency.  Booo!  It was still a really great run.
A few years ago while visiting Patricia, there was a hoodie at one of the stores in their souvenir aisle that I really wanted, but I wanted it in a t-shirt as I don't like pullover style hoodie sweaters.  This year, they had a wider variety of pullover hoodies, zipfront hoodies and t-shirts with this particular design on it.  And, even though orange isn't my first choice, I couldn't say no to it.  Isn't it cute?

Thursday I left Patricia’s house to head back to my parents’ house.  Before getting on the road, Patricia and I walked back downtown to the Carousel Mall so I could buy some seashells.  On the way to my parents’ house, I stopped in Tillamook at the Pelican Brewery & Taproom and got an elk burger.  It was good, but the meat, like bison, is somewhat bland.  Elk, like bison, is very lean so there you go.  It was good, though.  After that, I went to the Tillamook Cheese & Ice Cream Factory.  I was going to do the self-guided tour, but decided against it.  I hit the cheese sample bar and had a sample of all the cheeses, including the squeaky cheese!  However, I guess I was eating it wrong because mine didn’t squeak.  I then went into their store and picked up some chocolate covered espresso beans, some marionberry honey (and this isn’t honey that’s collected from the flowers of marionberry bushes, nope, this has marionberry juice added to it!), an Oregon 101 shirt, a “greetings from Oregon” postcard (because I can’t remember if I have one or not), and then I hit up the ice cream bar and got 1 scoop of their coffee almond fudge on a sugar cone. 

While in Tillamook, I also stopped at the Pelican Brewery & Taproom to get an elk burger.  I'm guessing elk, like bison, is somewhat bland since it's such a lean meat.  I couldn't really taste the meat because they had this chipotle aioli on it that just kind of overpowered any other flavor.

After that, I stopped at the Otis Café to buy some molasses bread just to discover that they had already closed for the day.  Oh well.

Friday, after an oil change for the car, I headed to Bend in eastern Oregon to pickup race packets for the 2 half marathons I’d be running over the weekend and then check into my hotel.

1 comment:

  1. Sounds like a fun trip. And I agree, lots of ABQ is very ghetto! I was there for work last summer and I did a Breaking Bad tour (self-guided in an uber), but I still had an overwhelming "ghetto" impression of the city. Lots of homeless on the streets downtown who appeared to have significant mental issues (as opposed to normal homeless who are all over other cities).


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