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The Loneliest Roadtrip, Day 6

15 Mar

Day 6: Oregon, California

A foggy drive down U.S. Highway 101…

Visiting the Sea Lion Caves near Florence, Oregon was an element of my favorite childhood vacation, wherein we made this very drive and I swam at the local driftwood-covered beaches despite the cold.

The sea lions tend to swim around in little groups called “rafts,” and their collective consciousness is impeccable. One moment they’ll all be resting on a rock, the next they’ll simultaneously dive into the water for a dip. Similarly, one leads the pack to a rock for a break, and the whole clan will scoot out of the water, seemingly without communication. This cycle appears to make up their daily goings-ons, and thirty minutes inside the cave gives you the chance to see several rafts’ comings and goings: open ocean, cave break, open ocean, cave break. My trusty point n’ shoot digital camera tried its darnedest to capture the inside of the cave, but alas! Shooting in near darkness is not its strong point. If you pretend like you’re scanning a Where’s Waldo book, you might be able to pick out at least four Steller Sea Lions in this photograph.

On one side of the cave, one can still see the remnants of the original 135-stair wooden tower tourists would use to reach the caves before an elevator was constructed in the 1960s.

Strain your eyes! There is a large raft bobbing in the water near the coastline, I promise.

Where I end and you begin…

Prehistoric Gardens drive-by shooting:

We eventually made it to a campsite south of Eureka, somewhere in the Redwood Forest. This is the point at which driving thousands of miles in a few days time began to wear on me. Frustrated by time constraints, the sudden flakiness of my 8mm camera (which worked perfectly up until we reached the most beautiful view I’ve ever seen…), and the sleeping boy next to me who still can’t drive a stick shift, I turned into the worst possible version of myself. I was the inevitable incarnation of The Rage. By the time we reached our final destination, we had to quietly set up camp in the dark so as not to disturb the sleeping folks we were meeting up with, one of whom was crashed out on the picnic table. This task involved me hissing about doing things myself while tearing the tent poles out of Logan’s hands, followed by the two of us getting into a whisper fight about who could or could not see me peeing. Nobody said 4000 miles would be easy…


The Loneliest Roadtrip, Day 4

12 Mar

Day 4: Washington

Seattle: pho, $15 parking spot by Pike Place Market (which was of course closed), one lonely photograph…

…and a visit to Ye Olde Curiosity Shop! I unfortunately felt a little too shy to take any pictures inside the curio palace, but I highly recommend anyone interested in sideshow oddities and unusual artifacts take a gander with the Googles or make a point to swing on by next time you’re in the area. They’ve got mummies, shrunken heads, a walrus penis bone, and some great examples of creature flimflammery (think jackalope, but with extra weird). I’ve always been interested in cryptozoology (including specimens both potentially legitimate and legitimately cobbled together via taxidermy), and recent research has gotten me hooked on a rare creature: the Fiji Mermaid. Half-man (er, baby chimpanzee), half-fish, wholly terrifying! And the Curiosity Shop has three. Get ye there!

The Loneliest Roadtrip, Day 2

10 Dec

Day 2: Montana, Idaho

Gee Montana! I like you. I like your “Indian Casinos” and your teepees outside your hotels. I like the insane amount of dream catchers in your gas stations, too… heck, I like all of your chintzy appropriations of Native American culture. I like cruising down mountain highways in neutral. Eco-friendly! As I see it, the only thing this state needs is wild horses. Where are the wild horses? I was told there were going to be wild horses!

Stopped in Deer Lodge, which reminded me of all the adorable things I love about my touristy hometown. I want to stay in Deer Lodge!


“A Meter is a yard thats giving 110%” – You couldn’t get any more adorable if you tried. Bonus points for taking the English language into your own hands, folks. Main Street begins with a charming little preservation/recreation of some of the original buildings of Deer Lodge’s downtown. This one is my favorite:


Is that a prostitute? A prostitute who works right over the undertaker? A curious, family-friendly portrayal of life in the Old West. You can always tell your kids that the horrifyingly faced undertaker (too bad you can’t see it in the picture) just managed to snag himself a beautiful, permanently scantily clad wife. And they just happen to live next to the jail and the graveyard! How… sweet?


The reason I stopped in Deer Lodge wasn’t the quaint re-creation of their apparently Deadwood-esque past (I haven’t seen Deadwood, but I’d imagine it involves prostitutes living above undertakers, right?), but their old prison museum (they’re also home to the Montana State Prison…) and, most importantly, the town’s prisoner craft shop. I’d read about the prisoner crafts awhile back, and they did not disappoint: latch-hooked stuffed animals, embossed leather, beadwork, paintings… and most were beautifully executed. Apparently they get a stipend for supplies, they set the price of their products, and the earnings go back into the program as well as into a savings for the prisoner. Best part is that a prisoner runs the shop. He was very sweet, but I had to run when I discovered this fact since I have no tact and feared the string of questions that were sneaking out my mouth (“Ohmygoshwhat’dyoudohowlongryouinferdotheytrustyounottarunawayohmygosh?”).


Apparently Deer Lodge also has a history of UFO sightings. Deer Lodge, we shall meet again.

Hit my first 1,000 miles! Taking pictures while driving at 70MPH is likely frowned upon.


Idaho: short and sweet. Pulled into Coeur d’Alene, one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever seen.


Not quite in Big Sky Country anymore, and I failed to take a picture of the big sky in Montana so I could caption a picture with something like “Hey, the sky really IS bigger here!” However, I think it’s fair to say that the sky is mighty big in Idaho, too, so let’s call this one “Very Nearly Big Sky Country, But Not Quite Because That’s Montana And They’ve Probably Trademarked It” Country.


Lovely spot to camp, no? Oh, and it’s worth a mention that car camping alone is a-ok, ladieeees. It apparently doesn’t happen much, unfortunately, since the sweet older campground proprietors called me a brave young lady. I guess so! I’ll take it!


I set up camp faster than the grumpy family of four in the next site over, made myself some grilled sleaze with avocado, and laughed out loud while reading David Sedaris.

Laughing aloud in one’s tent is guaranteed to scare the boogie men/annoying children away. But golly, driving all day is exhausting! I was asleep by 9:00 without much effort.


25 Aug

Lynea Lattanzio is living my dream:

Seriously, so many cats AND a Talking Heads soundtrack?! All the thousandaires (hundredaires?) reading my blog should probably go donate to Cat House on the Kings. And while you’re at it, will someone please tell me how she gets 700 cats to not murder each other? Because it’s like cat Gettysburg over here. Via Videogum.