On the Road I

On the Road I

Somewhere, U.S.A.

My first road trip across the country.  We left  Vancouver, WA just over a couple of days ago and thanks to the focus and driving style of “the hub” (what I shall heretofore call husband Michael), we zipped through about 1200 miles in the first 48 hours.  We set off to move through landscapes I had never seen before- states I had never flown to nor driven through.

If there’s anything on a road trip to dampen excitement just a tad (or perhaps to incite historical interest), it could be place names.  I’ve got to look up the history of some place names in Oregon because driving down the Columbia River Gorge Highway one would think the hands of death were perpetually near.  Perhaps that’s how it was for early pioneers and settlers, and their experiences made way to the map and place naming process.  Starvation Creek, Dead Man’s Pass, Malheur River, Hell’s Canyon.  I know every place does not need a chipper or pleasing sound to it, but there seemed to be a particular concentration of skull-and-bones type place names on this particular stretch of road.  Skull and bones, yet very scenic and beautiful. A light sprinkle moved with us on the first day’s journey and I delighted (seriously delighted) in watching the progress and mood of the cat in the back seat.

By around 21:00 we hit Boise, Idaho and hunkered down for the night.  The 2nd morn we took off at a good hour and were cruising.  I dedicated my last post to Ronja’s experience of the road trip thus far, for a couple of reasons.  Reason 1: She’s the animal I live with and I adore her. Reason 2: I generally dig pet stories and tips as to how experience moving/on a road trip/air flight can be made less tortuorus for pets who just don’t seem to do so well during travel.

As I noted, Ronja surprised me.  I expected kitty howls for hours.  But because of the calming solution, the first few hours were pretty peaceful.  The solution wore off within a few hours (the stuff can be bought in almost any pet store) and she spent some time familiarizing herself with the contents and layout of the trunk and back seat, found her way into my lap in the passenger seat a few times, and spent a good deal of time just chilling on her pillow.

On the 2nd morn it didn’t look like any calming solution would be needed.  Hurrah!!  Ronja is an on the road kitty now!  But about an hour into the trip the classic skittishness started and administering the calming stuff was a no brainer.  Within minutes it was like Fear and Loathing Boise style for kitty, just not quite as hectic and psychedelic as Thompson’s journey.

The driver (the hub) notes ‘weird weather patterns.’  Indeed, the weather was shifting around quite a bit as the landscape changed and mileage increased.  I’ve always been a bit partial to the mountainous look but was definitely curious to see a different North American setting.  If I had my way, I’d be stopping frequently  to take photos of road signs (i.e. strange and funny place names), cloudscapes, land features, main streets, neighborhoods, railroads….in short, it would be a very different road trip.

OR4Driver and passenger take a rest at Devils Valley, or Hell’s Passage or whatever it’s called

We wanted to see the country, but with kitty in tow and a small fire under our arses to get where we were going, this is not a sightseeing road trip.  That said, shooting photos from the interstate is not ideal, but it’s basically what I’ve been up to.  If I allowed myself to stop every time I saw a potentially good shot it would take us two weeks to get through a few states.

OR1 Typical on the road shots, while in Oregon

OR2

The glimpse I got of Utah looked like a bit of nice country living.  By the end of our days journey we were pulling up in Cheyenne, Wyoming and stayed the night at the very picturesque Warren Air Force Base.  Pictures on that to come in a later post.

UT1A Landscape in Utah

Today, I gave a hand at driving for the first time on the road trip.  80 mph doesn’t freak me out and feel so fast when I’m in the drivers seat.  Felt nice to drive after a long period of not driving. I “whiteknuckled” it (as the hub put it) for a good part of the 3 hours I was in the drivers seat.  But hey, the road’s a wily pace.

OnTheRoad1

On the Road, U.S.A.

OntheRoad2

I can’t say I was curious to see the plains of Nebraska. I just knew they were coming.  But I was surprised what a nice effect I felt from them.  Different landscapes affect our vision and mind in different ways.  It’s not a science of any sort, just kind of a sensory reality.

Today we made it from Cheyenne, Wyoming to Fort Leavenworth, Kansas.  Looks like a beautiful post. Didn’t expect that.  More to come.