Saturday, April 25, 2009

Coast to Coast in a Big Yellow Truck!

(It was kinda fun driving the big 26ft Diesel Penske Truck.  Air ride and /or an air seat would have been nice though:)  With no CD player Julie and I enjoyed many hours of NPR on this trip.  We know all about the Somali pirates!)

The stars finally aligned and I have finally officially moved to Portland, OR!!!!!  I've been thinking/working on this for many years and am very happy to be out here.  It is a long way from family, but that just gives me a good excuse for some travel back east:)  Julie is on this adventure with me and we are starting a fresh life together on the west coast.  We have a great little apartment, with a garage, and will be showing off all its goodness in a later post.  This post is about the big move.  Julie was back in MD for a few weeks between helping me find a place out in Portland and me flying back to drive our stuff out west.  I had a fun and busy few days back east catching up with family and friends.  I really miss all the time I used to spend with the people that mean so much in my life.  We are trying hard to settle into our new place and find time to spend together, as I am working a ton after talking a bunch of time off to make this big move.  We started our drive late on Monday night and didn't get into Portland until Sunday, but we took our time and had some adventures along the way.  We enjoyed real and fake roadside animals, ate many a good dinner, checked out the famous Corn Palace, drove through Badlands National Park, "saw" Mt. Rushmore, drove through the Black Hills, won some money in Deadwood, hiked the "M", surfed an indoor wave in Idaho, and attended a kayaking movie premier in Hood River.  Our route was 70, 80, 90, 395, 82, and finally 84.  It was a long, but really fun, journey.
(Dad helping me fit the last few things in the truck.  Somehow we managed to pretty much fill a 26 ft. box truck!!!)
(Julie looking cute next to our huge truck at the gas station, a frequent stop even though we had a 55 gal. fuel tank!)
(I might be wanted in a few states for taking out this big cowboy, or Julie made me pose with this big old fallen 'hero'.)
(Julie was fascinated with roadside fake animals, and real ones to boot.  She also might have been going a little stir crazy from being in the big truck with me for so many hours.)
(Buffalo Phil's was a fine dining experience found in the Wisconsin Dells.  How can you go wrong with margaritas and pizza!  Julie loved the huge decorations made of antlers.)
(Julie and the Jolly Green Giant in the middle of nowhere America.)
(I actually found this interesting, maybe I was going a bit nuts from the long hours in the truck as well.)
(The Corn Palace!  One of the many wondrous roadside attractions across this great country.)
(Julie and I enjoying the sunset in Badlands National Park, South Dakota.)
(Julie really enjoying the Badlands.)
(Julie making me be silly in the Badlands.  I might have enjoyed it a bunch.)
(Julie in Saloon 10 in Deadwood, SD where Wild Bill Hickcock was killed.  This was actually a really cool little bar and casino.  They are known for their little poker room, complete with wooden floors with sawdust.)
(I love Ferraris.  This is the official Magnum P.I. car.)
(This is the great view of Mt. Rushmore!!!  We drove late into the night and rolled into a little town in the Black Hills to get a hotel, but found the town completely vacant and dark.  The storm that we drove through knocked the power out.  We managed to find a hotel that let us have a room, in the dark.  Parking the huge truck in the pitch dark and rain in this little town was not fun!  We got up early and drove up to the National Park to find the entire mountain completely fogged in.)
(We hiked up the switchback trails up this mountain to the "M" in Missoula, MT.)
(The view from the top of the hill.  We both really liked this little town.  You could see the ski resort from town and their was a whitewater play feature dead downtown.)
(Julie enjoying some time out of the truck and in the sun in Missoula.)
(I love the Flowrider!  This amazing artificial and indoor wave was in the little ski town of Silver Mountain in Idaho.  You apparently need to be a guest of the resort to use the waterpark, but the really nice lady at the check in gave Julie and I passes to use for the last two hours they were open, for FREE!  We had a blast!!!)
(Julie rockin' the boogie board on the Flowrider.)
(Julie crashing hard, as is common on this wave.  I had some pretty spectacular crashes as well.)
(Julie at the end of the Oregon Trail, or her live version of the video game we all played as kids.  No fording rivers or getting typhoid fever on this trip west.)

(The initial move into our dining and living rooms.)
(Julie unpacking her plethora of clothes in our bedroom.  Most of my clothes are still in suitcases, as I have nowhere else to put them!!!)