Today I finally left Portland. It was raining when I loaded the car to make it more fun. I stopped at the motel I first stayed at in Portland to leave a couple of books with their book exchange. That was easier than trying to find a used bookstore and haggle about it. Then I went to the grocery store one last time for some ice.
Only then did I actually leave Portland. It stopped raining once I got past Salem or so, but it would occasionally rain again. Not a really hard rain, just sprinkling most of the time.
And then of course we got back into the mountains. Ugh. I suppose no matter which way I went I'd have to go through mountains again. Which of course means a lot more winding and twisting and such. It was worse than when I went from Seattle to Portland because I stuck to I-5 this time, so there were a lot of semis. Semis and mountains do not mix, as you can imagine. It's a good reason for me not to become a truck driver.
I got gas and lunch in this town called Sutherlin. Apparently there's a law in Oregon that an attendant has to pump your gas. Why? I've been pumping my own gas for 20 years, consarnit. I guess it's a good way to create completely meaningless jobs. Michigan should try that.
And then in bigger mountains, things got dangerous thanks to a truck, though not a semi. I was driving past this older pick-up that was towing a trailer when I felt a thump that I thought at first was just a rock or something. Then I look over and see the truck's just lost his front driver's side tire! Fortunately for me he didn't spin out into me or anything like that. The thing is, the tire didn't go flat; the whole freaking tire came off! Maybe he didn't tighten the nuts on it or something. But that's not a great place to get stuck. I mean if your phone even works, I'm sure it takes AAA a while to get out there. I'm not sure how much I'd want to go around those mountains with a freaking baby tire on either.
I had to stop briefly around Medford to take a whiz. Then I could finally get into California. Maybe Andrew Leon can explain what the inspection point is supposed to be for. I pulled up there and the old guy just waved me through. I'm not sure what they were inspecting then. Maybe they figure a Focus from Michigan doesn't have any contraband or illegal aliens or whatever hiding out. Or does that have to do with their emissions standards there? But the truck ones you needed a bill of lading so that wouldn't make sense. Whatever.
To make the last stretch to Yreka fun, they had only one lane for construction and of course I was behind a couple of semis. There was an observation point where I could have got some cool pictures of the mountains, but it was closed because of the construction.
Anyway, here's the pictures from the road:
And then I went into Yreka, population 7500. Apparently a lot of the people working on the road construction are staying at the Super 8 here. What's odd is this place has like a dozen motels and yet no fast food restaurants. No McDonald's, Burger King, Subway, Carl's Jr., etc.
So I had to go native for dinner tonight. I ended up going through the main drag of town, but most everything was closed. All I could see open was a couple bars, a Mexican restaurant, and a Chinese restaurant. I was about to say screw it and just find something to microwave from the grocery store. Then I saw across the street there was this place called J&D's Family Diner. Which sounded better than a bar or the grocery store.
Apparently it opened recently, so I guess I got here at a fortunate time. I splurged on some pasta with shrimp, lobster, fish, asparagus, and tomatoes in it. All the seafood and vegetables were good, but the pasta was pretty bland. But I guess what can you expect from some hole-in-the-wall restaurant in some dumpy town in northern California? The salad kind of sucked too as they gave me a couple of big chunks that were largely stem. You don't need Gordon Ramsey to tell you that you don't serve that bottom stem part. Yuck.
Anyway, here are some pictures of Yreka. I don't think I'd want to retire to here. It looks like it's seen better days.
Tomorrow it's another long haul through mountains and shit, to Reno. Appropriately I listened to a Twilight Zone story in the car about a slot machine that drives someone crazy.