Road trip day one: the “rolling back the clock” edition


T and I haven’t taken a real vacation in forever, (i.e. one with no race involved) so we decided to remedy that with a good old fashioned road trip. We’ve been wanting to visit friends and family down in California, (and I’ve been jonesing for the sun) so our destination was decided. We’d driven down to Salem last night to break the biggest amount of driving into manageable chunks.  (Especially since I could work remotely and T could hang out with his family for a few hours.) Then the plan was to kick vacation off with a few hours drive down to Grants Pass in southern Oregon, giving us a very reasonable drive down to my brother’s place in Fremont, CA.

We weren’t sure our rickety old Saturn was up for the trip, so we decided to rent a sweet ride for the occasion. Behold, the new road trip mobile:

Oh yeah… big pimping in the Nissan Sentra…

It does have an attachment to plug in an iPod though, so that’s pretty sweet…

T finishes loading the bikes so we can get this show on the road.

Giddy with that feeling of being on vacation after a crazy busy work week, we set off. The scenery was gorgeous and it was actually sunny (although interspersed with rain clouds.) Even the dark rain clouds looked pretty against the bright green grass and ridiculously picturesque farms and whatnot. I wanted to take pictures every five minutes, but wisely decided to focus on driving instead. I did make T take a couple on my behalf:

About an hour from our destination, we started noticing a dusting of snow on the trees in the hills on either side of us. Then on the side of the road. Then it started snowing. In April. Curse this ridiculous state…

As we drove through the Cascades it was coming down pretty good, but luckily not sticking. As we got closer to our destination, we were treated to some gorgeous sun breaks, which T tried to capture from the moving car:

And a rainbow!

Grants Pass was all about the ominous foreshadowing. We turned into our hotel’s driveway at the exact same time as a car turned left into and crashed into another car. Good times. We’d booked a hotel room through Priceline for 40 bucks, which we were feeling pretty smug about until we checked in and they handed us two actual, honest to goodness KEYS for our room:

There was also some super swanky decor, but hey, it’s one night and it was only 40 bucks…

Because Grants Pass is a bustling metropolis, we had our pick of all of the major fast food chains (including the ill-fated Taco Bell that the person who’s now missing two bumpers of his car was trying to go to) and a handful of scary-ooking local joints. Then we saw the Sizzler. I hadn’t eaten at a Sizzler since sometime in 1989, so I was super excited about it. (Plus I felt it would compliment the decor of our hotel room nicely.) In another delightful omen, we headed to the door as another couple was exiting. They were gracious enough to warn us that a little girl had just thrown up in the entryway and we should be careful where we stepped. (Yum! Who’s hungry?) Unbelievably, we still went inside…

Sizzler is much pricier than I’d remembered, so we decided that we would just stick with the “salad bar.”

(For those who haven’t had the pleasure of eating at a Sizzler, the salad bar is not a very accurate description of the tacos, fried foods, and mayonnaise-based creations that accompany the tiny array of actual salad makings.) It was also quite the happening hot spot…

T was deeply enjoying his trip down memory lane. NOT! (How’s that for a flashback joke?)

This might be my favorite picture of T ever. The look of sheer terror on his face is priceless. It really sums up his dining experience nicely. He did manage to make the best of things with a little “Sizzler banana split” action:

I’ve got to hand it to him, the boy knows how to make the best of a bad situation…

Hopefully, the scary-looking people in the room next to us will keep it down, so we can get a good night’s sleep before we start this madness all over again tomorrow.




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