I dedicate this post to you, who are still reading my travel blog.
It will tell you how the road took us from Yellowstone to the Pacific Ocean.
So Stejk, we had a nice time in Yellowstone, but the cold weather and the snow was already there. Our car is probably not the best insulated to keep warm over the night so we had to start the engine in the early morning, so we don’t freeze. We drove to warmer weather in Boise, Idaho. Idaho, as you might know, is famous for their potatoes, and pretty much that’s all there is. We’re a bit late for the harvest, but we could see the farmlands from the main road. Wish I could tell you how the potatoes taste, but the only thing we know for sure is that the potato chips taste the same. And the ones at the fast food too. We tried some dried potatoes, which we were sure they came from Idaho, and those tasted fairly good. Pablo, remember the dry soups you have in the supermarkets there? (Knorr hot cup and the like?) They’re completely missing here from the shelves! The only dry soup is soup stock, which needs some other things to turn it into a real soup. But wait – they have canned soups, just like fish, or vegetables. And if you are hungry, they taste pretty good 😀 I wish we had that in Brno, so we can come to work with can openers or maybe even camping stoves to heat up the whole can. Just imagine the smell in the offices… mmmm…
Boise, the capital city of Idaho did not come with any novelty to us. Quite a bit larger than Brno, and widely spread all over the place, with only a few tall buildings (pretty much like Phoenix), yet with some winding roads taking you up and down hills, over bridges, across rivers… and if you don’t pay attention to the GPS, you might end up somewhere else. We had a nice host in Boise who recommended us to visit her uncle who works at one famous casino in the Indian reservation (the indians don’t pay taxes for the casinos, so they have quite a few). I have to admit, we went there and played at some slot machines. Man, half an hour later, stinking of smoke, we got out having spent an outrageous amount of $1 per person! And that was the Wild Horse Casino in Pendleton, ID. PS: no pictures were taken in Boise or in the casino (too lazy I guess).
Pendleton is where we spent the night with a nice lady, Renee, cat lover, who told us a few nice things about this city. It has some underground tunnels dug by the Chinese during the building of the railroad, when they were not allowed to walk the streets after nightfall. They had all kind of stores down there, but it was Sunday and the place was closed. Stejk, have you been to the tunnels in Zelny Trh? It’s a nice tour, but I can imagine that scaled up to the US sizes. And the timing was also bad for the annual Pendleton rodeo. Apparently very famous around the country and I never heard of it before. At least we spent the Halloween at her place and carved this lovely pumpkin that scared all the people away. None came for treats 🙁
The driving experience started to change from this side of the country – I see more idiots driving in the center lane just because they can (who cares about the “Keep right except to pass” signs everywhere) and the day I drove from Boise to Pendleton I counted 4 women with a special kind of overtaking: they go faster, get close to the car in front of them, change the lane, and then remain there for some good minutes driving at the same speed with the car next to them. I can’t say I drive a lot faster, but on the empty long highways they have here, is quite annoying to turn off the cruise control, take your feet off the dashboard, wait till the specimen completes the complicated maneuvre, and then carry on with what you were doing. And I was so appreciating women here, for they drive everywhere and don’t behave like in Europe behind the steering wheel. This part of the country is unfortunately Stejk, more similar to our native lands.
The drive from Pendleton to Portland was a really nice one, cruising over the hills and then along the Columbia river, stopping here and there for the scenic views and some lovely waterfalls like the Multnomah falls (“the second tallest year-round waterfall in the United States”). I bet you would just step on the gas on your small Ford and show those cars who the boss is, even without a 3L+ engine (that’s what I would have done too, if the car had a good transmission and a less noisy engine). The drive was in the top 10 so far and I’ve been thinking – I’ll write this for Stejk, gotta be for him!
And then we ended up in Portland, OR. Well, not yet. This state is the only one where you can’t put gas in your tank by yourself. I mean it’s a law that someone has to come and pick the hose and pour gas in your car. These people are just obeying the law, but what fault do I have to have to talk to them? I felt they picked the most anoying ones they could find. Like the guy asking me about the Czech Republic: “and what state is that in?”. I was close to telling him “Arizona”… but I wasn’t inspired enough. However, after a few short rains and plenty of rainbows, here we are: Portland!
We walked half of the day in the city, mainly because the free parking is not close to downtown. Imagine yourself walking in a hot summer day in Moravske Namesti, seeing and smelling the whole bunch of homeless people. That was the feeling we had when walking throught the waterfront park of Portland. Except it wasn’t hot – the smell could have been worse. And I know you ‘like’ these smells. They also have a more business-oriented downtown (I guess a lot more office buildings) where you could see at least a Starbucks store every two blocks, but again – nothing impressive.
So we carry on to the coast of the Pacific Ocean!