road trippin'

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Wednesday, August 30, 2006
abrupt edge

I just got back last night from a whirlwind driving trip to San Jose. I almost didn't go, which would have been terrible! Nothing particularly spectacular happened, but sometimes a simple change of scenery can be a very good thing. (this is another success of the say yes philosophy.) I drove (and drove and drove) down with my mom to visit her brother and his wife -- they've been married about 5 years, but I'd only met her once before so there was a little bit of that "I don't really know you, but I'm going to go use your shower now" awkwardness. Thankfully that dissipated quickly and we all settled into a good time.
Things I would have missed if I hadn't gone:

* my aunt's cooking! She* is from India and decided after a day that I reminded her of her daughter. Her daughter loves her cooking, and let me tell you, her daughter is not stupid!
* Seeing one of my favorite cousins and his family. Baby Jake (who is about 1.5 yrs old) has reached the extreme flirty but shy phase. He would hide behind one of his parents and scrunch up his whole face to blink both eyes at me (his version of the wink). So adorable. His mom is on the coaching staff for the Stanford women's bball team and he is growing up surrounded by athletic tall young women who think he's the cutest thing around. It will be interesting to see if this warps him for life.
* I got to lay eyes on the San Jose State campus which is one of the three schools on the west coast offering the MLIS degree. (...)

and now for some general I-5 road trip notes and observations.

1. if I were to simultaneously win the lottery and lose my mind, I might make a perfume called I-5 Through the Siskiyous. It would smell like burning brakes, but the bottle would be really pretty.

2. A nice thing about driving (off-freeway) in California -- huge wide streets perfect for sloppy u-turns. The dark side to this is that the streets are so wide they are not pedestrian friendly at all. (At. All.)

3. Since I live in Oregon, I never pump my own gas. Never! It's against the law!! I will admit this is not something I hate, especially when it's raining (which honestly is not an insignificant amount of the year). However, this little state quirk does make pumping gas a kind of fun novelty when in California. I would also say Washington, which is the place I am second most likely to be driving, but those people are mean! I swear they just sit inside and laugh and point and make bets about how long it will take the idiot from Oregon to figure out that she has to pump it herself. Not that this has happened to me. More than once. That I know of.

4. Tanning and Antiques: We saw this shop in Merlin, Oregon while chasing down some insane viewpoint. Who shops here?? I picture lots of leathery orange women of a certain age carefully inspecting depression glass and hand carved duck decoys.

5. Thing that still makes me laugh every time even though it is extremely juvenile: calling Grants Pass Grant's Pants. should we stay in Grant's Pants, or drive on to Medford? etc. HI-larious! Or maybe it's just the first stage of Road Trip Mania. (possible/probable)

6. In Yreka, California, I was called "my little hamburger queen" by a waitress. This is just so wrong. First of all, I had a CHEESEBURGER. Secondly... well, I don't think I need a secondly. It's so irresponsible! What if I was crazy enough to show up at BK headquarters convinced of my Hamburger Queenness and attempted to foment an overthrow of the plastic-headed Burger King? Is Yreka Waitress ready to take responsibility for her words? Will she speak on my behalf at my insanity hearing? I must admit for all that the restaurant annoyed me (Yes, the actual physical building! you don't want to know), the burger was really tasty.

7. Fun Freeway Fact courtesy of my sister, who knows these things: The reason that large urban areas have 1800 freeways with very similar numbers (the 80, 580, 680, 880 and so on for the Bay Area) is not just to make me crazy. (Insert boilerplate sisterly reminder that making me crazy is a) not that hard and b) probably not the sole purpose and intention of freeway engineers.) Here's the trick: the 80 is the main freeway, derivatives beginning with even-numbers (like 680, 880) are bypasses that will loop back onto the original road. Roads beginning with odd-numbers (580) are spurs that only go away from the main road. I'm sure she'll come along and correct me if I got that wrong.

8. Getting lost is probably the best way to figure out how to get around in a new area. Mountain View, I'm thinking of you. Does every city in the state of California have an Olive street? I think they must.

9. Best song to start of a trip of this nature? Down South, 10 Hours, 1-5 by the All Girl Summer Fun Band.

The window's open, we're getting rained on, we’re still here, but not for long,
I heard it’s sunny, heard it’s sunny, heard it’s sunny ....
Down South, 10 hours, I-5
Down South, 10 hours, I-5

*not to be confused with Uncle Pig's Cuban Child Bride who lives with him in India. This is a different, nicer aunt.
9 comments on "road trippin'"
  1. 1) what did you think of the campus?
    2) Grant's Pants IS hilarious! I hope that you stayed there!
    3) Rebecca - how come 205 does not loop back onto I-5?
    4) I love that, on the way to somewhere, you and your mom take the time to chase insane viewpoints! I always get so goal oriented that I say "on the way back" or "next time"...neither of which ever happens.
    5) Welcome Home!!!

  2. Leslita took the words right out of my mouth: So what DID you think of the campus? Give, girl.

    And speaking of viewpoints, (sigh)in Boise there is this Bird of Prey museum that I always want to stop at that we always zoom past at about 75 mph. Something about the 700 mile trip puts the kibosh on that enticement. It is so great that you take the time......

  3. Leslita: 1) Um... to be fair, I didn't get a chance to look around too much. To be honest, I didn't really want to. BUT, if that's where I end up (if I end up anywhere at all) it may all be a lovely surprise and they make it look that way to keep out shallow looky-loos like myself.

    2) We did! Across the street from the Grants Pants Caveman!

    3) Good Question...

    4) Well, we didn't stop at as many as we would like, but I can now say I have seen the hellsgate canyon of the Rogue River. (it is very impressive and not that far off the road)

    5) Thank you!

    Patty -- you've got to stop next time! our trip was over 700 miles, and sometimes you just need a break from the relentless push to destination.

    I can't believe I forgot to mention my almost favorite thing from the road! Between say.. stockton and sacramento there were a lot of tomato trucks carrying HUGE overflowing loads of roma tomatoes to become salsa or canned tomatoes or spaghetti sauce. Anyway -- there were lots of tomatoes on the side of the road and they almost looked like rose petals as we zoomed by at 85 miles per hour. It was very festive.

  4. Personally, I think "Hamburger Queen" may replace "jennsect"

  5. Maybe I should learn how 2 drive so I can take fun little road trips. They sound like lotsa fun.

  6. anonymous tara -- you are going ON THE LIST!

    bbd -- road trips are the bomb diggedy! You should learn how to drive. It's mostly fun.

  7. Being the pig that I am, I am curious about the good cook Aunt's good cooking. What did she cook?

  8. well, my favorite things to eat were when she did indian style cooking! Let's see if I can remember ... okay, there was a SALAD that was cucumber, red onion, radishes (cut in a fancy garnish-y style), cilantro and something else I can't remember with little hot peppers sticking up throughout for garnish (I only ate 2 by accident!). Then there was a vegetarian dish that was very delicious, but I can't remember everything in it. (shopping list: good thing, tasty thing, delicious thing, etc.) I think it did have potato in it, and some indian vegetable that she had found that was sort of like squash. Then there were the meatballs (Patricia -- that's my aunt's name-- is a catholic anglo indian, so she has none of the beef restrictions) that were in a brown gravy, which sounds kind of gross but was, in fact, DELIGHTFUL. All served with coconut rice (basmati rice cooked with half water/half coconut milk).. Ooh, and as a special treat we got to try some pickled mango that someone had made for her daughter's wedding! The mangos were tiny and had been brined in salt and I don't know what else.. they were very salty but also sour. I liked them a lot, but Mom couldn't eat them because she is very sensitive to salt.

    Anyway, this leads me to a bit of mango trivia! There are hundreds of varieties, (esp. in tropical zones like southern india, the islands of the caribbean, etc.) but we only ever get about 2 different kinds here.

    Now I am hungry. I hope you're happy!

  9. Thank you for indulging my everlasting curiosity about what people are eating and would I like it? Yum! That food all sounded so good. Sigh.........I need to get out more.


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