Saturday, June 23, 2007


So there's a meteor crater outside of Winslow, Arizona. It is a very large hole in the ground.

You aren't allowed to hike to the bottom of the crater for "scientific" reasons, although I would guess in this instance, "scientific" = "liability. So instead, the gift shop has set up a diorama for photo ops, so you can send out pictures of yourself at the "bottom of the meteor crater."

Interpret Matt's expression here:

a) I have made an important scientific discovery at the bottom of this large hole!
c) I have paid $30 so that my wife can take a picture of me in front of a picture of rocks!

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

I'm going to have nightmares for a week.

The 101 in California

Beth and I have driven a large portion of US-101. We've driven around the Washington Peninsula, where 101 turns east, then south, and then west to meet up with 101 again. We've driven the length of Oregon (or would that be the width of Oregon) as 101 winds down the coast. And now we've driven it in California to San Fransisco.

The 101 in California is both amazing and strange. One moment you will be driving a two lane twisting road through redwood forests and then it is suddenly a six lane divided highway – in seemingly the middle of nowhere. But it will narrow to two lanes again once you're back in the protected forrests. Which is great. But wherever California can fit six divided lanes, they seem to put six divided lanes.

California also doesn't have mile markers. Roads are marked showing distance to or from the county line. And seemingly at random, sometimes as close as a few meters apart. I'm guessing that with so many roads to maintain, this system allows crews to pinpoint problems to, well, the exact meter.

101 seems to have its share of problems. Several times as the road would wind along the coast, we would come upon recently patched areas, on top of an older repair zone, where the road washed away over the winter. Kudos to the California Department of Transportation for getting everything repaired before we came on down. We know you did it just for us.

And they do the same for their own. We were on the 101. Also listed as the Redwood Highway. Also known as a Blue Star Highway in honor of those who have served the country at war. And individual stretches would be named in honor of Transportation workers who dedicated their lives to making California drivable.

If you were driving the 101 on Saturday, we were the ones in the red jeep driving the speed limit, being passed by everyone.

Monday, June 18, 2007

Roadside Attractions and Giant Trees

Driving down Highway 101, it is clear that there are different touring styles. Some people drive by, see the giant T-Rex in front of the Prehistoric Gardens and think "What a rip-off." And then there are people like Matt and I, who can't resist paying our money to see what's behind the gate.

As we worked our way down the Oregon and California coasts, we stopped at the Prehistoric Gardens:

The Trees of Mystery:

And the Drive-Through Tree.

The verdict? Worth every penny. OK, I'm not entirely sure we got our $5 worth of fun out of the drive-through tree. There are only so many times you can go through before you become fairly blase about it being a large tree with a hole in for driving through.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Create Your Own Geologic Wonder

It's easy!

First, chose your favorite kitchen tool. Or really, any human-powered tool. It could be as simple as a spoon or as complex as an apple peeler.

Got that in your head? If your tool has more than one word (like Measuring Cup), simplify it to one (Cup). Good. Now, add "Devil's" before it. Devil's Cup. Devil's Grater. Devil's Churn. Congratulations! You could have been an Oregon coastal explorer.

Devil's Churn

Road Trip Day One

Spokane to Oceanside, Oregon:

We had lunch at the picnic grounds of the Maryhill Museum, which is infested with peacocks. Funny how you normally think of peacocks as decorative, elegant creatures. Until you're surrounded by seven or eight of them and you realize that those long elegant necks have sharp pointy beaks at the end.

We stopped to take some pictures of Rooster Rock, which has long been used as a navigation landmark on the Columbia River. Yes, Rooster Rock. Because it looks just like a great big... rooster.

Oceanside is a small village nestled into a steep, rocky hillside. Just offshore, there are several large rocks that are absolutely covered with birds. Gulls, cormorants, and pelicans could all be seen through our binoculars.

Dinner: Angels on horseback (oysters wrapped in bacon and fried); locally caught ling cod dredged in parmesan and pan-seared, served on a bed of fresh greens with a housemade caesar dressing; strawberry shortcake with fresh Hood River strawberries.

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Galactic Birthday Cake

The power of selective hearing. She said she wanted galaxies on the cake; she got the solar system. Well, most of the solar system. Through Neptune, anyway.

Thursday, June 7, 2007

We might be coming to your town.

If your town is San Francisco or Las Vegas or Santa Fe or Moab, that is.

6 days and counting....