Oregon, oh my
Today was day one of our trip and we got off to a great start. We crossed the border early, found no lineup at Sumas and had no trouble getting across. We were able to get toiletries at a Walgreens pharmacy at a very early hour. Twenty four hour pharmacies might have a place after all. We made good time all through Washington state, although Seattle’s morning rush was somewhat congested. Even caught a glimpse of the Seahawk’s new stadium, Qwest.
Oregon, on the other hand, was a mess. The $#@! hit the fan when we crossed from Vancouver, WA into Portland, OR. The I5 south was completely closed to all traffic due to an accident on a bridge. We didn’t find out what it was until much, much later, but it turns out a truck dropped a 20 tonne pipe on the bridge deck. I imagine getting equipment onto the bridge to move it was a real problem. Some cars under the bridge we damaged by debris. As you can imagine, getting around this was not easy for a couple of kids from Canada. Get around it we did, but it was s-lo-w. I think we lost well over an hour here.
Once we were past it, there were two more accidents on the I5, none of which were all that serious, but they did slow us eve more and they added to the frustration. Luckily we were not going north as there was still another accident there that had traffic backed up for miles. When we finally got into Eugene, we missed an off ramp in trying to get to our intended stay, near the University of Oregeon. We had quite a time trying to get back to it, as none of the roads seemed to run through and we were thoroughly turned around and frazzled. On finally getting to the Campus Inn, we were told straight away that there were no vaancies because the University team had a huge game this weekend and there we about 4,000 out of town fans. They told us we would have a hard time finding any accomodation in Eugene at all. I think the Oklamhoma Sooners are in town. Y’know, in Canada, no gives a hoot about college sports except maybe family members. In any case, so far Oregeon is not making a favourable impression on either of us.
We contined south on I5 and when we pulled off for gas we bumped into a Best Western that did have room for us, and a nice mom and pop restraunt out from. So we took the room, even though it was a two bed, larger and more costly than we needed. It was just good to put all of that stress behind us and get a bite to eat. And so, here we are.
Our trip so far reminds me of a book I just finished, Patrick O’Brian’s The Fortune of War. In that story, Aubrey and Maturin set sail and make fabulous time south from England until thier boat gets stuck in the tropics with no wind. The crew then suffers from disease and the voyage goes quite awry from there. I hope we have better luck tomorrow because this afternoon was not something to wish on anyone.
#1. I knew you could buy wine and beer in the supermarket here, but it’s very odd for a Canadian to see wine next to the cookies in a Safeway. And the stuff is so cheap too! I saw a bottle I saw selling at home for $16 selling for $6 here. I knew we were getting roylly screwed on “sin” taxes in Canada but wow, that is an awakening. And then there’s the fact that we can only buy the “sinful” item in a government run store.
#2. It is a bit of a challenge to find restraunts that sell good, healthy food here. If you want greasy food packaged for children, you will have no end of choices. I was really plased to see the restraunt at our final stop because it offered more than fried junk (although it had that, it also offered “home” style fare).