Friday, October 26, 2007



we arrived in McMinnville Wednesday night. pretty small town about an hour outside of Portland. when Andy called to make our reservation at the hotel earlier that day, the lady said that there should be someone to check us in at the desk, but if there wasn't, then we could check in at the pub next door. thought that was pretty weird...until we got there. the hotel was called Hotel Oregon and was very unique. it's not only a hotel, but a restaurant and pub as well. so that explains the weird check-in places. most of the inside, the doors and some of the walls, where all made of heavy wood and some were decorated with writing on the wall. all the writing told stories about wine or famous people in the town, etc, etc.

so we checked in and our room was awesome. we got the room pretty cheap wasn't actually a hotel room. it was more like a hostel in that the bathroom was not inside our room. we had to walk down the hall to use the bathroom. although we did have a sink in our room...which was handy. all of the rooms were named after people and on the walls inside the room was the stories of the people. our room was named Chef Wayne if I remember correctly and inside on the wall it told the story of how he progressed from a singer/entertainer in the hotel to the chef.

that night Andy wanted to see a movie...had been wanting to see Transformers for a while. so we asked if it was playing in any of the theaters in town...and it was. a theater right across the street from the hotel. so we grabbed our jackets and ran over there. the theater was actually *inside a pizzeria. there were tables in front of the chairs in the theater and there were several huge couches, too. so Andy and I got delicious pizza and then sat on the comfy couch in the back and ate. it was so awesome...I'd never seen a theater like that before and I loved it. I wish all theaters were like it.

the next morning, Andy had to get up early and take the car to the shop. thankfully it wasn't too far away because he had to walk back. on the way back, he picked up breakfast at a cafe and brought me breakfast in bed. :) then we explored the town. there were several things going on that day. there was a farmer's market in the middle of town...and homecoming later that day. we walked around the market and got samples of almost was pretty good. hey, we couldn't be picky. we were broke. :P we also spent a good bit of time in a bookstore and an antique store. oh and we went to an amazing toy store. Andy bought a toy. its basically a propeller on a stick, and when you spin it in between your hands it flies up into the air. I'd never played with one before but it was so much fun. we went into an empty parking lot and had a blast trying to catch it after we spun it up. here's what it looks like:

and again we come back to how awesome the hotel was. even though we had checked out at 11am, we could still go in and do pretty much what we wanted. so we went to the second floor to the balcony there. that's where we watched the homecoming parade. another cool thing was that there were electric outlets we could plug in our computers and get online.
the parade was cool...very small town so not very big but it was fun to watch. and I got this one kid riding by to throw candy up to me. I think he was the only one who saw me. he made one piece of candy up to where I was. the rest fell on the ground. not to worry though, Andy got them later. :P

the trees in McMinnville *and really in Oregon everywhere* were amazing. the most brilliant fall colors I have ever seen. almost every other tree in the town was a bright red, or orange, or a really bright green, or a mixture of them all. it was gorgeous.

later at around 4pm the shop called us and told us the car was ready. so we walked there and picked it up. fairly long walk which only seemed longer because we had alot of our stuff with us, but it was okie. we hopped in the car and headed towards our next stop, Portland.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Brookings - McMinnville

Alright. so we're in Brookings, OR. without a tire. pulled it off in the freezing rain. cause that's how we roll.
so we go to the Les Schwab, which is a pretty cool company from what I can tell. only in 5 states, all on the west coast/north western area. free coffee and popcorn, which is always handy. a lot of free services if you've bought a tire from them. they'll check a ton of stuff on your car for free. and the same prices whether you're in a small town or the middle of a big city. not bad.
anyway, we replace the tire. or rather, buy a new one. more money out of the budget. oh well. the plan for the day is the drive to Lincoln City, a good 6 hours drive or so. we've wasted a good bit of the day with the tire stuff, but I still want to make it. so we drive, pretty boring really, up the coast. there's various creaks and pops that have been coming from the car for some time, so I plan to get it checked out in Portland. assuming it makes it that far.
we get about 4 hours into it and it's already dark, I'm very tired, but I still want to make it. about 30 minutes before we get to Lincoln City, we hit Newport. I had to stop for gas, and Mary-Beth suggested we check some hotel priced around there, just to see if we shouldn't stay there instead of Lincoln City. normally I'd just keep driving, but I'd started seeing No Vacancy signs for the first time our entire trip. so we stopped at a few places, asked prices. I was gonna keep driving unless I happen to find a place for $35-$50, which is what I was going to pay in Lincoln City, assuming we got a room. so, we came across the Newport Inn, or something like that. the price was good, like $40 or something, tho the clerk was kinda creepy. so I decided to just go with it, I was tired. this was a mistake, tho it didn't turn out horrible. the room ended up being pretty ratty, the furniture was on wheels, the door had some iffy locks. only place we stayed the night the entire trip that I didn't feel good about. but I went with it anyway, tho I did block the door. ;)
anyway, ended up ok, got up in the morning and left, went to Lincoln City, got the guys at Les Schwab there to look at my tire, and make sure it was ok. (after all, the last one didn't really have a reason to explode, so I don't know if there's any rubbing going on.) they said it was fine, but they had to drive it into the garage to check it, and heard all my popping and grinding noises. they said it was my tire end on the front right tire, and the bearings on the front left. the tire end wasn't the end of the world, needed to be fixed, but I could drive on it if I had to. the other had to be fixed right away tho. bad trouble if it went out. so. they didn't have the parts, but I got them to look up the closest store that did, and on my way to Portland. the drive to Portland was only like 2 hours, but about halfway there was McMinnville, which had the parts I needed. so I had to go there to get it fixed. great.
while we were in Lincoln City, we visited several places I had read about and wanted to go. both involved glass. the first was a glass blowing shop, where they blew these globes of glass, and made them different colors and sized, etc etc. it was pretty cool, at least for me. we watched that for quite a while. then on the way out of town we went to Confusion, a glass fusion shop. that's different the glass blowing, glass fusion is just fusing glass. molding sheets of glass into shapes, and joining things together, etc. the lady there gave us a tour of the store, and showed us what she did. we got 2 free glass icicles for a Christmas tree, and got to learn how fuse glass. she didn't actually fuse any while we were there, but explained it all, and showed us everything there. it was pretty cool.
from there we went to McMinnville, where I had reserved a room in Hotel Oregon. it was a chance thing, looked pretty cool on the website, and had cheap rooms. so I chose that over a chain. turned out to be one of the best decisions of the trip. more on that next post.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

leaving CA.

so, Mary-Beth explained most of what we did Saturday. minus the part I wanted the write about. that's the Cornfield Maze. it was about 30 minutes away I think. we decided to do it at night, with flashlights. greeeeeeeeeaaaaaaat idea....

this isn't any cornfield maze. this is the 2007 Guinness World Record Cornfield Maze. or so they say. it's 40 acres. so large there are markers in it to make it into a grid, and each group is given a map.
our group is made up of Sam, myself, Mary-Beth, Angie, Jordan, their friend Spencer, and 2 of their other friends, whose names escape me. between us there were 2 maps, sam had one, and one of their friends had the other.

we figured the maps are for pansies, and told sam and the other guy to put them away, and don't use them. now, as soon as we get into the maze, sam waits until we're not looking, then goes the other way. does it by himself. pretty soon we lose their 2 friends too. so now the people with the maps are gone, and it's myself, Mary-Beth, Spencer, Jordan, and Angie. piece of cake eh? no. we spend a couple hours going in circles, find out that their friends, and sam are all finished and waiting for us. we're not even half way. we finally get someone to give us a map, and have to use that and only that to get out. if there had not been a map, it could have been another 4-5 hours at least. it was ridiculously big, and too hard to do entirely without a map. assuming you want to do it in less then 12 hours.

I even asked the staff at the front if they ever have to go in after people and they said no. there's always someone outside the maze, 24/7, but they never got in after someone. people always eventually make it out. that's scary to me, what if I have a heart attack? (of course, if I had a heart condition that puts me in risk of a heart attack, I shouldn't go in a 40 acres maze in the first place.)

anyway, the maze was alot of fun. very interesting, we had a good time. tiring tho. after that we went home and slept. next morning, as Mary-Beth wrote, we went to San Francisco. only think Mary-Beth forgot the mention that I found fun was that there was an air show in San Francisco that day, and so while we drove over the Golden Gate Bridge, and around SF, there were Blue Angels flying low over the city, and a couple other types of airplanes too. pretty cool.

then, on Monday, Mary-Beth and I said goodbye, and headed to our next stop. Klamath, CA, in the middle of most of the Redwood Forests. Northern California. very pretty.
I don't have too much to say on that right now. partly because it's 4:30 am. we got to drive through a tree. that's always fun. and it was so amazingly pretty up there. so much green, and other colors that have come with fall. but mostly green there, the rest of the color was mostly in Oregon. anyway, we stopped several times to walk through the redwoods and explore. we spent one night there, in Klamath. then headed out again to go into Oregon. we found a beach right outside Klamath, which was really pretty. cloudy and overcast, but we stopped for a while anyway. that was really cool. good break from driving.
once we got back on the road it was only another hour or so before we crossed the Oregon border. instantly it started raining. not hard, but still, it was rain. that was when our tire blew. our brand new tire, we had purchased less then less then 72 hours before. brand new, and it just exploded. parts went everywhere. I actually had a really tough time getting it off, because the rubber kept getting in my way as I worked. but I eventually put on the spare, and drove back into the last town we had passed, which happened to be Brookings, OR. and that's where I'll leave the story, for tonight. I'll pick it back up in Brookings, without a tire.

as always, there are more pictures up on our Flickr.

AHHHHHHHHH!!!!!! I forgot one of most important things about San Francisco. while we were at Pier 39 with Jordan and Angie, they took us to see the World Famous Bushman. haven't heard of the Bushman? neither had I...I'm not sure many have. but, anyway, we saw him. on the sidewalk of Pier 39 is the Bushman, and old black homeless man, (I assume homeless,) that sits, with his bucket for change, and some bushes. some leaves and a couple branches. and he holds them in front of him so people can't see him. now there aren't near enough to hide him, and anyway, brush on a sidewalk is out of place. but that doesn't stop him from shocking people. we stood and watched for a few minutes. he waits, with a big smile on his face, hiding behind his few branches until he sees someone walking towards him that is zoned out. meaning not really paying attention. and then when they get close, he shakes the branches or moves or something. he knows how to pick too, cause it always scares them so bad. they jump or scream. pretty funny to watch, cause everyone's standing right there watching him, but one person will walk by that's not paying attention and be scared so bad. I think creative homeless people are a big step ahead of the rest of the homeless population. good stuff.


In Sacramento, we stayed with the lovely Angie, her boyfriend Jordan and Jordan's parents. we also met Lois, Jordan's mother, the night we got there. and technically they don't live IN Sacramento, but they live about an hour from the city in Rio Vista. they have a great big house and 4 dogs, the big one who stayed outside all the time was Jack. smaller ones who were really hyper and came into the house were Ellie, Yoda, and Widget.

they gave Andy and I their whole trailer/fifth wheel in their backyard for us to stay in. It was so awesome...they had even hooked up the electricty and water for us.

Friday morning, we slept in late before going to the house to hang out with Angie for a while. she was going to take us to Sacramento to see the capitol, but decided it wasn't that big a deal and went to a small town the same distance away called Lodi. it had little shops and such and so we walked around for a while, spent quite a bit of time in a little bookstore. then we decided to see a movie and picked the Brave One with Jodie Foster. fairly decent movie.

Saturday morning, Andy and I had planned to go to San Francisco again to see more of the city. however, when we had driven about a mile down the road, we realized we had a flat tire. so. no San Francisco that day. we went back to the house and made everyone breakfast. then we went with Angie to pick up a new tire, go to WalMart, and pick up Sam...who forgot to get his luggage off the bus. smart sammi. ;)so then we had to drive all the way down to Sacramento to pick UP his luggage. almost hit an idiot who cut RIGHT in front of us on the road downtown. freaked us out a bit.
then we went to....well I'll have to let Andy tell you about the rest of our night. :P

Sunday morning, Angie made us a delicious breakfast, then we all headed out to San Francisco. drove across the Golden Gate Bridge, drove down Lombard Street (supposedly the crookedest street in the world. Jordan drove us down it this time), almost got in a wreck a few times :P, and then drove down Castro Street. finally parked and walked down Pier 39 and walked a while in Ghirardelli Square. little shops, chocolate factory, old mustard factory, most awesome hat store. :) Andy was the only one to buy a hat I looks really good on him...and I've taken to borrowing it as often as I can. :P

when we were walking back on Pier 39, we got to see all the sea lions on the docks. you could hear them from a pretty long ways away. there were alot of them and they were loud. very cool to see.

Monday morning...we said our goodbyes and headed out for Portland, Oregon. Lois gave us a "goingaway gift". a whole bag of matches so that we could "burn our tires for people to find us when we were stranded in the snow". she continually told us NOT TO LEAVE THE CAR. :P

and we were off again. with many more adventures to come.

Sunday, October 14, 2007


evening folks,
the plan was to get into San Francisco pretty late, check into our hostel, sleep, and explore the next day. we got part of that done. we did get into San Francisco pretty late. parking was incredible. downtown parking was $3 - 15 minutes, or $36 max. cheapest parking anywhere downtown. I've parked in Hollywood, LA in general, Santa Monica, Portland, DC, etc etc, and haven't seen it quite that bad. we went to Chicago and NYC of course, but I don't remember trying to park downtown.
so we went to check in at our hostel, and they wouldn't let Mary-Beth check in. hostels have a general rule that you can't stay there unless you're under 18. I knew this. but I wasn't 18 when Sam checked us in to a hostel in NYC, and they saw and copied my ID there, and knew I wasn't 18, and let me stay. same thing in Santa Monica, earlier in this trip. I checked us in, same company every time, they saw Mary-Beth wasn't 18 from her ID, but let her stay without comment. SF was different, they said she couldn't stay. we tried another hostel, but they said the same thing. so, obviously hotels were too expensive there in town, so we drove out of SF, and called Ben, and in the end drove almost an hour away, and found a place to stay that was fairly cheap.
the next morning, we drove to the BART station, the metro-train service, and parked, and rode the train into downtown San Francisco. there we met Mike, who helps people, (tourists mostly,) find where they are and where they want to go. Mike has to make a living of course, and asks for tips, but in my opinion it's worth it, as he's friendly, has free maps of the city on hand, and knows SF pretty well. so he helped us get our bearings, and gave us a map, and of we went. the trolley's looked fun, but were rather expensive, so we ended up walking most the day. we firs hit Union Square, then Chinatown, which was quite large. then the commercial part of downtown, where the Transamerica Pyramid building is. if you've ever looked at the SF skyline you know which one that is. ;)
then we headed to Coit Tower on Knob Hill. at least, that was our planned next stop, but then we came across City Lights Bookstore, and independent bookstore that's semi-famous, and pretty cool. a good bit of history there. I enjoyed it anyway.
after that we continued onwards and upwards, to Coit Tower. it was a hard climb. especially after walking most the day. but it was a pretty cool view from the top of the hill, (it cost to go in the tower, so we skipped that part,) and we saw the first good view of the Golden Gate Bridge and Alcatraz Island. after that, back down the hill, to Lombard street, San Francisco's Crookedest Street. very touristie, but we decided to see it anyway.
after that it was getting pretty dark, so we started back to the Bart Station, and went back to our car. we then drove to Rio Vista, another hour away. there we met Angie, her boyfriend Jordan, and Jordan's parents. or rather, his mother, I didn't meet his father until a few days later. there's more to tell of them, which will be another post.
be sure to check our Flickr for plenty of pictures. we may be slow uploading at times, but we have plenty of pictures, so it's only a matter of time until they're all up. enjoy!

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Santa Monica 2 and more

hey people, this post is adapted from my personal blog. so it's kinda odd, and not too detailed. deal with it. ;)

So after we came back from Catalina that night, we went to our hostel in Santa Monica (very nice hostel. I liked it alot.) I also had fun listening to our roommates speak Italian.
In the morning we walked down the Promenade and looked at all the shops. then we went to the beach, sat on it and watched the waves, and then walked the pier.
oh we got TONS of Stride gum lol...representatives of Stride were handing it out and so every time we would see one, we'd get some. yay Stride gum! :)
then we headed into Hollywood so Andy could show me the Walk of Fame and Chinese Grauman's Theatre. We saw tons of stars on the Walk of Fame, soo was really fun.
After Hollywood, we got pizza and then drove up to the Oaks. it's like smack in the middle of the freakin mountains. like...TINY road for 30 minutes to get there. awesome view on the way up here though. its really cold, but I still love the weather. its like texas in december...its awesome I love it. I've met one person so far...Steve. he met us at the gate and Andy introduced us then. Dan and Andrea and Sam get back from hiking on Sunday so I'll see them all then. until then I'm staying at D&A's place all by myself, and Andy is staying next door at his boss's, Jay's.
/end personal blog.
anyway, after that we stayed at the Oaks for a while, then we headed to our next stop, San Francisco. I'll let Andy tell you that story...its about time he posted something. he was making ME post EVERYTHING. :P

Catalina Island

Catalina Island.

After staying at Becky's house that night, we got up the next morning and drove out to San Pedro, the dock where the ferry took off for Catalina Island. We had the choice of taking the 2 hour ferry OR we could have taken a 15 minute helicopter ride, but who knows how much that would have cost. The ferry itself was rather expensive.

We arrived first in Two Harbors. TINY little town. hardly anything there. wondered how people got food and gas and such. On the way there, we sat on top of the boat. once we started going fast, the wind was extremely strong. and the ocean was beautiful.
I've noticed...on the train and several times since I've arrived in California that alot of families speak Spanish and English in the same sentences in the same conversations. its just a constant mix. "Hola. Coma es tas? Did you go to the beach today?" "Ay no. Muy bien. we'll go later when its not hot." it just fascinates me. I guess it shouldn't have surprised me when I realized that the children raised in those homes are way smarter than me. Probably alot of children everywhere are smarter than me, actually. Kids are smart.

We arrived at our stop, Avalon. quite bigger than Two Harbors. Not much beach, but a bunch of little shops. we walked the whole town probably in the space of a few hours. we walked, got some rocks from a beach we weren't supposed to be on :P, ate some delicious food, tried to catch some orange goldfish from the ocean with our amazing mind powers, and watched a man play the bagpipes. most interesting but beautiful sound. Andy told me how the playing the bagpipes really worked...I'm rather ashamed that I don't know. miss musical genius me. :P
By the time we took the ferry back, it was dusk already. most beautiful sunset. we were both exhausted and I ended up falling asleep.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007


as Mary-Beth and I try and update this on everything, we had the flat tire seen in the picture. then we got it replaced.
only to have it blow 2 days later. not go flat, blow up.
so we had it replaced again.
only to find out the front end of the car is breaking down, and we have to fix it.
so that's what we're working on now. more updates soon.

lady's first post

hey people, here's my first post.
I came out to California on the train a while back, (like 2 weeks or something,) and met Andy in Los Angeles.
trains are most interesting...the people that ride them are interesting. and they're also very, very long. my train from San Antonio, TX to LA was about 34 hours long. I think I would have liked it alot better had I not been puking the first 5 hours or so. THAT was fun. :P

after Andy picked me up from the train station, we went to Long Beach, where his Aunt Becky lives, ate some delicious tacos, and took her dog, Maui, for a walk around the island. that night we stayed with Becky...her house is awesome, as are the others on the island. there was this one house with a really tall brown door. the door was maybe 3 times the height of a normal door...went all the way up to the roof. we were trying to figure out if there was a seam somewhere in the wood where it would open like a normal door, but we didn't see anything. looked so cool.

that night we went to the Dave Matthews Band concert. awesome concert. Stephen Marley opened for them. great music. we didn't have the most fantastic seats but they were okie.
lots of tailgating, lots of dancing, lots of illegal substances. a couple of times a few people around us called was funny. one guy was SO mad because a girl in front of him was dancing and he couldn't see. and I don't remember what the other guy's issue was, but I found it all quite amusing.

more later, the rest is on my computer, and all I've got right now is andy's.

Saturday, October 6, 2007

Today's Update

Dancing in Santa Monica

now obviously, because it's me, I'm behind on the blog. a week or two. I'm trying my best to get caught up. this happened when I was still back at the Oaks.

around a year ago I found out about Matt. Matt got famous on Youtube for this video:

doesn't seem like anything to out there does it? somehow, that video and a couple like it made him really famous on youtube. I found his blog on and started following his progress. I wanted to meet him cause he was a traveler and he just seemed like an interesting guy.
I found out he was making a new video, this one being more about people then location. he was going to locations and letting people come dance with him. you sign up on his blog, and he'd send out the info for it. I had signed up to meet him in Austin, but by the time he went there, I was here. so I emailed him, asked if he was going to be on the West Coast anyway, and found out he was going to be in Santa Monica. so on Sunday, (or Saturday?) 2 weeks ago, I went down to meet him.

I arrived around noon/early afternoon. the event was scheduled until 6pm, so I had time to explore the beach, and then go into the shopping district there. I spent several hours just walking, then finally went back to wait. when I got back to the spot, around 5 or so, I saw a guy I was pretty sure was him, so I introduced myself. Matt was extremely friendly, and we talked for a bit as he looked for the shot he wanted. by this time there was a good-sized group of people gathering, so we went back to get things started. we had at least an hour to kill waiting for the sun to get in the right position, so everyone got to know each other. Matt had kindly brought bubbles for everyone to keep themselves busy. :P
I met quite a few interesting people, a group from the Lutheran University in the area, a mom and her daughter, and a very friendly individual I'll call Gray. well...that is his name actually. Gray was driving the West Coast in a Volkswagen Van, surfing. I was unbelievably jealous. I think it's be soo cool to own one of those vans, it's the ultimate road tripping vehicle. Gray and I talked for a while, he encouraged me to get my own van. a Buick isn't really the most amazing road-tripping car. especially one that is starting to wear out, and the windows don't open on the driver's side. he also gave me some hostels to visit, some places in Mexico to try, some good websites, etc. Gray was pretty cool, I hope to meet him again one day.
so the it comes time to dance. Matt sets up the camera, gets someone to take over shooting, gets us all bunched together, and gives us our instructions. first of all, tho his normal number of people to dance with is 50-60, we had 108 I believe. or the count was somewhere close to that. and we all had to squeeze into a tiny shot to dance. and then he gave us a count of 3. he obviously has a special dance he does, but everyone else was supposed to do whatever came natural. I'm not sure any dance comes natural to me, but I tried. :P
after a couple takes, Matt said we were good, but then changed his mind and said he wanted one different angle. as we set up to do that shot, behind the camera comes marching some sort of peace march. people carrying large dove shaped things. he was unsure if we should get out of the way or not, but in the end we danced anyway. check link 2 at the bottom of this post for a vid of them. anyway, afterwards, he stuck around for pics and videos. as with past adventures I've had, I come to these things with no plan on where to spend the night, or a time I have to leave. it's the best way to do it. tho, I did figure I'd prolly just drive home when I was done. this left my schedule open for whatever, so while he took pics and videos I just stuck around, helped when I could, and just waited. eventually I got an invite to go to dinner with Matt, a representative from Stride Gum, which pays for his videos, a lady from Google, and a couple of their friends. it's not quite as bad as it sounds, I didn't beg, and I wasn't really planning for anything. but I had no where to go, so I was going to stay on the beach as long as they did, and then I got the invite. we ended up going to a Sushi place that was fairly close by. now I've only had Sushi once, in Alabama with the Crossings people. plus it was expensive, at least for my budget. smallest meal was $10, and that was a tiny meal. $20 for something that would fill my stomach. I was ready to order a bit of food, and then eat at home, but turns out this meal counted as a Stride business expense. so the lady the worked for Stride paid for everyone's meal, which in the end was more then $30 worth of food for me probably. we each ordered some food, and when it came, it was all on one large platter, that almost covered the table. everyone ate as much as they could, and then it was just Matt and I still hungry. between the two of us, we ate all our own food, and all anyone else had left. tons of sushi. quite delicious.
and that was Santa Monica. there are a few pictures on the flickr, and here's a tiny video of Matt and I dancing it up. feel free to make fun of our terrible dancing. ;)

oh, and here's a couple links of the event. someone else's footage.
Link 1
Link 2
Link 3, (with me at the end looking cold.)