Monday, November 24, 2008

Traversing Washington and Oregon

Two short days driving has placed us in Medford, just 25 miles north of the California border. We’re settling into a routine with Maggie. We drive about 300 miles, take a couple of breaks, and stop by 4:00 to find a dog-friendly motel that’s within our budget. That’s not too difficult in November—both days we’ve found good, clean motels at around $50 a night.

One thing we noticed in Washington State—there’s no need to travel too far to find authentic Mexican experiences. Last night we had a delicious Mexican meal at a cute restaurant in (are you ready?) Kelso, Washington. The Hispanic influence in Washington state is notable. The fellow who owns the motel we stayed at is Mexican, from Jalisco. In the Safeway in Longview there’s an entire aisle dedicated to “Hispanic foods” and there are a number of Spanish speaking radio and TV stations as well. And all this is just 200 miles south of the Canada/US border.

We drove the I-5 through the broad Willamette Valley today, mostly in misty fog with occasional sunny breaks. It’s a very different scene than last year when we were snowed in there. Today in the fog we spotted six or seven hawks sitting on fenceposts, highway signs, and one raggedy looking fellow hunched on the shoulder of the road. We thought perhaps they had been grounded by the fog.

And who is on the road at the end of November? Not that many RVs or holidayers, but lots of big trucks and the usual sedans and vans (mostly with just one passenger)—as well as a few high end cars. At the other end there is the shabbily dressed guy walking on the shoulder carrying a big plastic garbage bag with his belongings, and the old Buick at a rest stop with a couple in the front and two babies in car seats in the back, and a sign on the front window “Homeless, Lost our house. Anything will help.” We gave them $2 and hoped that it would help a tiny bit.

This photo is taken from inside the car as we drove through the beautiful countryside around Roseburg in Southern Oregon. Tomorrow, we’ll go over the Siskyou pass into California.

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