A Travellerspoint blog

October 2009

A Hitchhikers Tale

Ok, please DONT FREAK OUT!! I'm ok....no harm done! I promise that I was careful and I didn't tell you until now because I knew that you would all have a heart-attack!!

I picked up a hitch-hiker! Yes! It was SO MUCH FUN!!!

How? Why?

I was driving along I5 somewhere in Southern Oregon chatting with Teresa on the phone and came upon a hitcher. He looked innocent enough...young kid (around Corey's age), clean looking, with a backpack and a guitar strapped on his back. 'OHHHH Teresa!! It's a hitchhiker! Can I pick him up?!' Well, you can imagine what the response from Teresa was, "HELL NO, Are you CRAZY?" As I pleaded with my friends good senses, there was a fuel stop for the Explorer. I took advantage of the stop (as I passed the hitcher), and stopped to feed the explorer and my-self. After eating and taking Aco potty, I hopped back onto the road. I had continued thinking about the hitchhiker and was certain that he would be about at the exit I was on by this time. I was right!! As I approached the on-ramp to the interstate, there he was! Rolling down my window, I shouted "where you headed". He was going my way it seemed so he jumped into the Explorer and off we went!!

I was correct in my first assumptions that he was just a young man. Let me introduce you.

Jared is a 21 y/o from Denver on a very similar journey as I am. He left Denver hitching (and his mother is having near daily heart-palpitations), going from one town to the next and staying with friends. Some he knows and other were recommended through other friends. He is playing music along the way and hoping to find work in California to fund his trip for just a little while longer. He loves photography and has a tripod strapped to his pack.

We chatted easily along the drive. He was headed to Ukiah, CA to stay with friends there. Now, Ukiah is a little off the path that I was originally going to take.....but, looking at the map I decided that if I were to drive him all the way to Ukiah, I could then hop over to the ocean and enjoy some great scenery along the way.

We got as far as Willow, CA and I was getting tired of driving and hungry. I got a hotel room and Jared splurged on pizza and beer. Yes, we shared a hotel room and NO, nothing else (except some pizza and beer)!! It was great to have someone else along for part of the drive.

The next morning, after fueling ourselves with the free breakfast we hit the road again. Along the way to Ukiah, Jared got a text about a favorite band of his that was going to be playing in San Fran. He knew that I was headed to SF and asked if he could ride the rest of the way. Of course!

We traveled through a mountainous area with winding roads, great redwoods, and beautiful vistas. Stopped at Sonoma Lake, and finally made it to the coast. It was a long drive but the scenery was beautiful. Along the coast were more beautiful vistas and winding roads.

I was impressed by Jared's courage, attitude about life and personality in general. We had an enjoyable time on the road. It was equally exciting for me as for him when we wandered out to the beach for a little stroll. It's fun sharing new experiences with people. Although I had previously explored California beaches, it seems that Jared had not. It was like seeing everything new again through someone else's eyes.

We made it all the way to San Francisco, then got stuck in traffic trying to cross over the Golden Gate Bridge. With the recent cable breaking on the Bay Bridge, the traffic was horrid! I'm at Peter and Brent's now and was greeted as an old friend.

More on San Francisco later...

(don't forget to check out the gallery for more photos. These are some of the best of the trip so far!)

Posted by Khandilee 09:56 Archived in USA Tagged automotive Comments (3)

I hate it When I get Behind!

Really!! I do!! It's been too long since I last posted and I am feeling the details fading. I'm going to try to remember....

I finally arrived at Mike and Kims after the LONG trip through and around Hells Canyon. Driving into Oregon, I followed the Columbia River and through the Columbia River Valley. Wow! I wish that I had realized that this area was as beautiful as it is! There seem to be many places along the way with interesting sites and stops. I did none of them... I will someday now that I know I need too!! I had already spent too much time wandering around in Hells Canyon and it was approaching dark when I finally drove into Portland and made my way to Mike and Kims.

Again, I was blessed with wonderful hosts!! Although very busy with normal weekday activities ie; work and school, they were wonderful and I felt very at home there. We shared some great wine during my trip which I really need to remember to start writing down to remember! I can never pick a good wine and need to learn to 'steal' the names from those that know how to pick it!! ;o)

I took a day while in Portland to go exploring. I visited the Voodoo Donut shop. I've seen it featured on many a travel/food channel program and it just looked like a fun place to visit and have a taste!
I had my taste's set on a maple and bacon (yep! BACON) donut. I ended up with an 'old dirty bastard' instead. I was told that if a person wants a 'maple and bacon' you must arrive long before I am even awake....my loss!!
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Portland is a somewhat 'gritty' city, but I really liked it. I wandered around mostly lost looking for the food carts that I was told to check out and unfortunately, never found them. Aco and I walked along the riverfront park for a bit
then I ended my day at Elliott's bookstore,
WOW! Loved it! I think I spent about 2 hours there and probably could have spent even more time if I hadn't been worried about Aco in the truck all alone. Bookstores are BAD for me!! I ended up purchasing some reading material for the next week or so on the road. I really didn't do too bad. It's the first real money that I've spent on the trip other than the dreaded 'feeding of the Explorer'.

I found some great Graffiti along my route:

And saw the coolest building with artwork along the outside walls. I realized after I uploaded the photos that the artwork is actually the window blinds. There are tracks that the canvas slide along to cover the windows! How cool is that?!


Bikes!! Lots of bikes in Portland....some normal and some quite interesting:

Then, for you bike lovers out there....there is this....

What is it? It's some sort of weird cover for bikes!! I guess it's to keep the bike from getting wet/dirty, pretty awesome!!

Aco was pretty docile during our day-trip through Portland. She did enjoy getting out at the riverfront and exploring. After we arrived back home (Mike and Kims) she enjoyed playing with Bently. He's a little too excited for her most of the time but I think she got used to his excitement and they played together some.

A great day exploring Portland and definitely someplace that I have hopes to return....

Posted by Khandilee 09:55 Archived in USA Tagged travelling_with_pets Comments (0)

Hell's Canyon then onto Oregon


The day was spent driving through Hells Canyon. Was it worth it?
Well....sorta. I really can't say that I would recommend that you do
as I did and re-route your entire trip just to see it. It was
actually sort-of blah. The drive up the canyon was interesting and
there were tons of trees with fall coloring...


But...once you've seen one yellow pine tree, all the rest look the
same. I did get some great (well I think they are great) photos of
the frost in the morning...

Most certainly, the most interesting part of the trip was meeting Dick
and Charlene.


Yep...some ole' guy that I just happened upon while just wanting a
picture of the river. He was stoking his campfire and started up
conversation as soon as he saw me. Now, I hadn't seen any other
people so far on the drive up the canyon. For all I know this guy
could be the next chainsaw massacre'. Did that deter me? Hell NO!
He offered a warm fire, a fresh cup of coffee and some fascinating
conversation. I was told on arrival that the 'wife' was indoors and
would be out soon. I wondered if there really was a 'wife' for the
longest time until she finally made an appearance about 40 minutes

What is so fascinating about an ole' guy in the canyon? Well, either
Mr. Dick is a jack-of-all-trades, a gleeman, or straight up
pathological liar. Whatever....it was a good hour and half spent
conversing, some good coffee and most importantly, a warm fire. Let's
see if I can remember everything. Dick lived in the canyon for 25
years, until they evicted him when the government took over management
of the canyon and made it into a National Park. He worked as a tour
guide in the canyon, was in the US Air Force, mined for gold, has a
degree in Hydrology, spent time in South America where he ended up in
prison for pissing off the South American President, and has hosted an
array of visitors and travelers from abroad. It was delightful
listening to him chatter about his past history (although I only
believed about a third of what he said). His wife did corroborate
most of his stories when she showed herself a little later.

So....I didn't get poisoned by the coffee, not thrown into the river
never to be seen again, and not hacked up into little tiny pieces and
fed to the bears.....A Good day! Who knew that there are good people
in the world?

The rest of the day was spent driving....and driving....and driving!

I did have perhaps the best blueberry muffin of my life in the small
town of Joseph (just outside of the park).

In Portland now with Mike and Kim. They are wonderful hosts! Kim
made me the greatest cocoon last night and I slept like a baby....or
is that a bear? Spent most of today working on paperwork for the CA
job as well as the Germany position. With the paperwork mostly in
order, I think tomorrow will be spent exploring downtown Portland.
Maybe the rain will let up for just a little while?

(check the photo gallery for more photos)

OH!! Aco was a trooper during the long day. She played with Dick and
Charlene's dog 'Blacky' and snooped in the trees during our stops.
Then slept most of the way to Mike and Kim's.

Posted by Khandilee 17:03 Archived in USA Tagged travelling_with_pets Comments (2)

HalfWay Oregon

How did Halfway get its name?


The town is located "halfway" between the communities of Pine and Cornucopia. As the Halfway area became more populated with an influx of miners at thriving Cornucopia and more ranching families, a new post office was established in 1887. The name "Midway" was requested, but postal officials said it was already in use and suggested "Halfway." So Halfway it remains. For a short time Halfway became the nation's first "dot.com" city and some maps still depict Halfway as "Half.com."
What an interesting history. This is where I am sitting tonight as I write this. Halfway, OR is a small town on the way into Hells Canyon. Total population is 337 in 2008 according to the website. It was a dark drive in on Hwy 86 so I cant comment on what the scenery is like on the way here from I84. I can however say that it's a scary drive in the dark. Hairpin turns and roads that simply drop off into darkness were encountered on the drive out. The town encompasses a total of 0.4 sq miles. There are three restaurants (two of which are bars) and the entire town is closed up at 2000 excluding the two bars.

My friend, Lisa found the hotel for me online while I was driving and called to make my reservation. She was told by the owner that 'I go to bed at ten'. Mind you, this was at 1900! I stopped for a possible final feeding for the Explorer in Baker City before venturing out to find Halfway. The gas station attendant told me that SR86 '....isn't too far' when I asked how to get there. Hmmmm.... Further instructions included; 'it's all black-top' and 'careful for deer and cattle, it's open range out there'. At this point I knew that I was in for a fun drive!

I'll fill you in tomorrow on the canyon. I am soooo excited to see it......

Now, lets back up a little bit. I left the hotel this morning and made an unscheduled stop at a roadside park along the Great Salt Lake. There was a pay station at the entrance but no-one was there. The sign probably said something like 'Day Use Fee: deposit $10 entry fee into an envelope and deposit here' but who really knows what the sign said...I wasn't reading!
We spent about a half hour playing on the beach and Aco got a good dose of dirt/sand caked in her coat. Yeah ;o( She had a blast though... She did manage to get her feet just a little wet but decided pretty quickly that it was WAY TOO COLD for her to go for full body immersion. Thankfully! I can just imagine a wet and dirty dog in the car for 8 hours...ugggghhhh. Crises adverted!
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(see gallery for additional pics)

Next stop was at Twin Falls, ID. I have been through here in the past. Actually on the way to Elko, NV about a year ago. I wanted to stop and see the falls then but didn't want to take the time. I decided that it was now or never....and I'm glad that I did. My only regret is that I didn't choose a little warmer time of the year and that I didn't plan to do some hiking and spend the night here. The falls and the surrounding area were beautiful...

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Now remember, this......
CIMG1992.jpg....is what I had been driving in all day and then the beautiful oasis of the canyon and the falls! I still am not certain if the falls are really as pretty as I thought or if my senses were just dulled by the previous surroundings and therefore the falls looked more amazing than they really were....hmmm?

And, just because I am a little strange....here are some pictures of the tumbleweed for you! haha

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I had a very enjoyable day and am still smiling. :o) How was your day?

(Don't forget to check out the photo gallery for additional pictures!!)

Posted by Khandilee 22:28 Archived in USA Tagged travelling_with_pets Comments (2)

Road Trip Continues

Denver to Portland


Somewhere in Wyoming I ran across the above photo. At first sight I thought maybe we were being invaded by giant Buffalo. On the approach, there was sign after sign advertising 'Buffalo Burgers'. I've had buffalo (can't remember where right now), and it was pretty good. A lot like very lean hamburger. Crises adverted on the giant buffalo invasion as I got closer, I could see that it was simply a billboard!

I had recalled reading somewhere that there was a giant Boot statue in Cheyenne, WY and I decided to check it out. After feeding the Explorer (she seems to have an insatiable appetite), I headed into the old downtown of Cheyenne, following some vauge directions given at the gas station.

On my approach to downtown, I came upon the Depot Station where the following pictures were taken. The boots were a little disappointing. I really expected something the size of the Louisville Slugger bat in Louisville, KY. It was interesting non-the-less.

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I was actually more impressed by the horse below made of scrap metal. Aco enjoyed the short break and spent her time sniffing at everything.

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I loved the 'COWBOY' billboard I caught sight of on my way out of Cheyenne.


Somewhere outside of Cheyenne I snapped the pic of Lincoln Below. I'm not sure why it's here and didn't feel like making another stop to find out but if anyone has any information on this, let me know.


As the drive continued, the sun began to set. It was one of several fabulous sunsets that I have had during this trip.
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Aco might be in need of a restraint! I don't know what was up with her today but she kept trying to get over in my lap! Several times during the trip, my elbow made it to her side. You would have thought she would have gotten the hint after the first time. She is being very clingy/needy today. Hopefully tomorrow will be a better day for her.

I'm exhausted tonight. Didn't sleep well last night. I'm going to go crawl into the covers now.....gnite.

Posted by Khandilee 00:02 Archived in USA Tagged travelling_with_pets Comments (1)

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