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love that bridge

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Tuesday, August 30, 2011
I saw AgesandAges as an opening, opening act on Friday and I enjoyed their set so much! Even from far away with the crowd still arriving, even though there are a lot of band members and they had to stand in front of two other bands' equipment - they stuck in my head and I had to come home and do some internet searching right away.

Video #1  Navy Parade (escape from the Black River Bluffs) - this video gives a fine view of St. Johns (in North Portland) in the wintertime. I L-O-V-E the St. Johns bridge and you can totally see it in this video along with green jello, some sort of fraternal lodge interior, doctor's office waiting room interior, hey - that one guy looks kind of like Ryan Murphy, cafeteria interior, paper hats, squeaky vinyl banquette St. Johns bar interior, THE BRIDGE, handclaps, tambourines, la la la-ing my heart out, AgesandAges I will hold your hand even though these sort of public displays are outside my bubble of comfort.

Video #2 So So Freely - reading about this band I've seen "tent revival" mentioned more than once. It makes sense - the blended voices, the rise and fall; there's a revival rhythm there, for sure - but also the sense that we work on these problems of life together. (I haven't been to anything that would be called a revival in a lo-oong time, but it was a factor in my childhood and I just saw some old-time camp meeting tents on my road trip - I'm experiencing some reflexive nostalgia despite linking to a video called 'no nostalgia' and having no desire to go to a religious revival ever again.)

Video #3 No Nostalgia - I haven't heard the album yet (I will!) and I expect to enjoy it - but do see them live if you can.

is there something I should know?

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Monday, August 29, 2011
I've decided today is Get Ready To Paint Day - I'm going to paint one wall and two parts of a different wall so they're all the same color. Then I'm gonna paint the floor! Woot! But first the boring hard parts, which is putting everything away, moving things away from the wall, etc. Because I'm me, not everything has an "away"  - sitting on a pile on top of the bookcase/table/floor is not away when it comes to paint. (I just indulged in an hilarious self-pitying heavy sigh at the thought of it.) But PAINT. I will persevere because it's gonna look awesome.


my ipod just played this - ha ha ha!  these videos always make me laugh, but it's out of fondness for and not embarrassment at my former Duran Duran obsessed self. (Also, they made AWESOME VIDEOS and I will thumb wrestle anyone who says otherwise.) (I have double jointed thumbs - you will not win.) 

I was going to post a video for a band I saw on Friday, but I think I'll give them a separate post later today.


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Sunday, August 21, 2011
I made a crucial, life-altering discovery while on the road the past couple of weeks: I can read in the car again! I used to read in the car all the time when I was a kid (those Trixie Beldens and Anne of Green Gables weren't going to read themselves), but then I got older and reading in the car became a stomach-lurching impossibility - UNTIL NOW. I think I might have cracked the code - it has to do with where my eyes are pointed. If I'm sitting normally (feet on the floor) and reading in my lap, it's no good. Sick city. If I sit with my back to one window and my legs out across the seat, it's no problem. I think it's something to do with how the eye perceives the horizon in the background or some other eyeball science thing.  Normally I love just looking out the window, but sometimes long road trips call for alternate measures.

In other news, things are weird again. This vague life-weirdness only happens every so often and weird doesn't equal bad, but I definitely feel like I'm at a shifting point of some sort. Maybe it's just post-vacation malaise.

Thursday's Drive

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Saturday, August 20, 2011

Thursday was a LONG DAY, but we made it back to Portland.  I've been doing an extended shamble-shuffle around today: a little laundry, some watering and clipping of plants, talking to the cats, reading a book. My greatest Friday accomplishment is mostly not driving, though.

dateline: Minnesota, but really Wyoming

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Tuesday, August 16, 2011

I AM TIRED. I know all I've been doing is sitting and driving and sitting some more, but it is wearying business. Not to say that it isn't fun, because it is. I honestly think everyone should drive straight across at least once - you see a lot, even on the freeway. (don't even get me started on the "throughways"  - what a racket! Why don't they just shake all the money out of your pockets once and be done with it?)

But I'm tired and want to put on my pajamas and finish my book and eat one more ginger cookie. We're getting up at the crackalacka tomorrow to try to press our reverse time zone advantage, and I want at least 6 hours of sleep in a bed.  Montana is enormous, so we have to leave early. Not to mention the rest of Minnesota, South Dakota, the corner of Wyoming, etc.

So from Rochester, Minnesota on Interstate 90 heading home, I bring you Freeway, Wyoming on Interstate 80 going there. (There = New York)

Number of cops I saw in Wyoming: 0
Number of "show 'em if you got 'em" signs on the back of big trucks: 1
Number of speed limit signs I saw: I dunno, but it wasn't many
Number of devices to close the freeway entirely in inclement weather: a lot
Number of people on motorcycles: MANY! It was just before Sturgis and the turn off is somewhere in Wyoming.


More amazing rock formations. This looks like it's out of a Road Runner cartoon. I think the coyote would balance an ACME anvil on top of it. Probably dynamite somewhere.

Did you know Dwight D. Eisenhower is the father of the Interstate Highway system? You do now! They call it the "five star interstate highway" which is why he has stars around his head here. Or maybe he got hit by a falling coyote anvil. I don't know, I wasn't there.

Heading east!

Trains like crazy in Wyoming.

we have reached that point

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Monday, August 15, 2011
This drive back is going to be a long slog. I mean, I think it will be fun and good times will be had, but there are a LOT OF MILES between here (just left of Cleveland) and there (just right of the Pacific ocean).

Today was a day of gravel roads, miscommunication, and allergy attacks. My sister and I thought we were going to be bugging out of NY and get as far as Chicago tonight. My mom thought we were going to drive around, see a couple more family historic sites and then head on out.  You can see how there might be some disconnect when five hours after we started for the day, we were still over 150 miles from the border of the state.

I can tell you this: I have relatives buried and living all over New York. I don't think I realized the extent of it until I traveled hither and yon to look at their graves, the churches they got married in and their farm houses and split-level basements.  More on this later. I'm going to try to read a little more of my book (Kate Atkinson's One Good Turn) before I go to sleep. It's due at the library on Thursday, not that I know for sure I'll be back by then...

In the meantime, here's a picture of Wyoming from the trip out - this was an out the window random rock formation.  Something to look forward to: on the way back we hope to see the Devil's Tower, also known as that rock everyone was obsessed with in Close Encounters. I'm excited!


water, water, everywhere

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Sunday, August 14, 2011
welcome to Utah
Greetings from Auburn, New York! I know it's confusing with the Welcome to Utah above, but I'm at that phase of the trip where these things happen. I fell behind because I was without internet for a few days, which was surprisingly not stressful and in fact was kind of nice.  But back to Utah and the Great Salt Lake...

This photo was from the rest area where my mom took full advantage of the volunteer working behind the counter. She asked him the best place to see the lake, and what to see on a 'just driving through' tour of the city. He provided maps and advice; we went to the lake first, and it was well worth it! (We spent so long there, we never made it to SLC proper. I wanted to see it  because my sister said the streets were wide to allow for a six horse team pulling a (wagon? buggy? carriage?) to make a full U-turn. WIDE! But after we got away from the lake itself we realized we needed to start heading east - Salt Lake City is close enough to visit another time.)

causeway to Antelope Island on the Great Salt Lake, Utah

There's a 7 mile causeway to get to Antelope Island State Park. There's also a little radio station you can tune into to get basic information - did you know that one side of the lake is saltier than the other? That you can go for moonlight bicycle rides? That there is a herd of 500 bison on the island? Neither did we! This photo is of the causeway from the visitor's center.

the great Salt Lake

I thought this viewfinder looked like a Jawa from Star Wars. The lake is HUGE. Miles and miles wide. You can read more about its saltiness and largeness and Jawa population here. 

the great salt lake, utah
The visitor's center is made out of formed concrete, which I imagine holds up to the salinity of the air better than wood or metal. The air was very salty and briny - totally provided beach hair despite being landlocked.

the great salt lake, utah
There are also birds EVERYWHERE. (those tiny specks out the window are birds.)

the great salt lake, utah
More birds! This part of the lake was estuary-stinky. The rest of it was beach-fresh.

lake blue
the signs all said that things look closer than they really are across the lake. I believe them.

bison and that guy
There's a herd of 500 bison on the island - every sign explicitly states not to get too close. I know it's wrong, but I was kind of hoping for a mini-stampede or non-lethal trampling for this guy - he got in EVERYONE'S picture in order to get a better picture for himself. If it's that important to you, maybe you should get a zoom lens.

the great salt lake
I love the blue look of the surrounding mountains. It looks fake, doesn't it? Like a painted backdrop for an old film.

the great salt lake

So pretty. I'd definitely go back - I'd like to try swimming in the lake. (Which is allowed! you can also camp there.)

it's a lake, but not that lake (yet)

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Monday, August 08, 2011
Idaho rest area info

So, best laid plans, etc. etc. I do not have all of my Salt Lake pictures up yet.  Here's a helpful and informational sign about ancient Lake Bonneville and the formation of the Great Salt Lake.

Today was a pretty lazy day spent with my Uncle in Altona, Illinois. We haven't seen him in a while, and it's always lovely to visit with him. I'm ready to get on the road, though. Tomorrow we drive forever to get to the Buffalo area, then the plan is to visit more relatives and see Niagara Falls. We'll see. A lot depends on the weather, etc. We got delayed by a night getting to Altona due to a huge lightning storm that was dumping down rain... but I digress. The point of my story is that I can't say for sure that we'll get to XY or Z tomorrow, but I do know we'll be driving a really long day.

puffed out
here are a couple of pictures from the same Idaho rest area as the sign at the top.  We'd spilled out of the car and started making a beeline for the plants - some random dude asked if we were botanists. From now on, if someone asks that I'm just going to say yes as it will take less time to explain.

Idaho wildflower
bee power!

if you ever wondered what Juniper Berries look like, wonder no more.

wind blade

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Monday, August 08, 2011
wind turbine blade

OMG you guys - the past couple of days... More on that soon, but first - here's a blade from one of the big wind turbines - you can kind of gauge the scale against the little car next to the truck. This was taken in Oregon, but I've seen wind things in Iowa and Illinois, too.

We're in Altona, Illinois today (and part of yesterday) visiting with my uncle. Hope to have some Salt Lake (the Great, not the city) pictures up later tonight.

famous potatoes

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Friday, August 05, 2011
Bridge in Twin Falls, Idaho
(bridge in Twin Falls, Idaho)

I've been to this part of Idaho one other time, several years ago. I was visiting with a second cousin (I don't know - my mom's cousin? Does that make him a second cousin to me?) and he said that one thing he learned after he moved to Idaho is that you don't joke around about potatoes. Potatoes are (in addition to being DELICIOUS), the major agricultural money crop for the area.

This morning, while my sister and I were packing up the car in the Twin Falls Best Western parking lot, I overheard a bizarre in any other context conversation about 300 lbs. of potatoes that this guy had up in his room. Apparently he was in town for a few days and it was too hot to keep them in the truck. They were good ones, he said - one pounders! When asked by the cowboy-hatted gentleman from whom he was borrowing a luggage cart, he admitted that he planned to eat them.

I love this idea of renting a room for your potatoes! Did he line them up on a table in front of the air conditioner? Did he have them in luggage?

(I'm writing this from Laramie, Wyoming and I'm super tired! But we saw the Great Salt Lake today, which was amazing. A-Mazing. More pictures and whatnot soon.)

day one, mostly pictures

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Thursday, August 04, 2011
Just east of The Dalles, Oregon
I have no idea if I will be able to (or want to) sustain this for the whole trip, but I thought I'd share some pictures from day one. I ended up taking a lot of pictures on instagram (via an ipod touch) because my regular camera had a low battery.  That instagram is also fun and requires no cable to get from there to here is a bonus. This is a basic out the windshield picture just east of The Dalles, Oregon. That weird shape in the foreground is a reflection of the air bag thing. The Columbia river is to the left (out of frame).

heading east east EAST. So many people only think of rain or the rainforest when they think of Oregon, but so much of it is desert or mountains or ranch or farmland.

wind farms everywhere - we passed several wind turbine blades being moved by truck  - they were as big as a whale. I've got pictures of those on my other camera.

This was at a rest area -  I did not find the news very restful at all. AT ALL.  The gravel I had to stand in to take this picture was all rattlesnake colored and I had minor heebie jeebies for the entire second it took me to snap the sign.

X-Files looking container. I'm sure there was some sort of alien lab or medical lab inside - probably guarded by rattlesnakes. The rectangular shapes to the right of the 45 are bales of hay on a truck passing by.

By the time we got to Idaho, there were lightning storms brewing. There were blue skies above the black clouds - very weird, headachy weather. I watched lightning and thought about Zeus throwing thunderbolts from Mt. Olympus. (I've been reading a book about Greek and Roman Mythology, so it keeps popping into my mind.)

More moody clouds.  We're staying tonight in Twin Falls, Idaho - a cute town, but it pretty much smells like cows outside, everywhere.

Tomorrow we head down to Salt Lake City and points beyond - I've never seen the Great Salt Lake - I'm looking forward to it!

barnacles and real estate

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Tuesday, August 02, 2011
I like these barnacle pictures - they look like teeth or little volcanoes or oatmeal formed to make teeth or little volcanoes.  My sister just left me a comment on flickr that said from the thumbnail, this one looked like a hat. I agree!

The ocean is amazing to me - so much goes on down there that we know nothing about.

beach houses
I would gladly take possession of any of these beach houses - even the one with a stingy helping of tiny windows. (I would embiggen them! Or just live in a sleeping bag on the deck.)

Needless to say, I am procrastinating. Or rather luxuriating in a moment of calm before 2+ weeks of road trip hustle bustle. (hustle bustle? I know! I am secretly 150 years old.)