I Didn’t Know They Had Sunshine in Seattle

Friday morning after spending the equivalent of an unemployment check on new music at Amoeba, we slowly took off toward Oregon along the Pacific Coast Highway. A roadsign right outside San Francisco said “Fort Bragg 155 miles.” Seven hours later we passed a sign that said “Fort Bragg 45 miles,” and although we’d decided we were going to take our time on this trip, that kind of time is wholly, embarrassingly Smurf-like. It felt like we were driving a 14.4k modem.

You just can’t drive faster than 20mph along the California coast and expect the passengers in your vehicle to remain their original color. When Chuck began turning several hex values outside the web-safe palette we abandoned the coast and headed inland, arriving in Ukiah, California at 9:30pm, approximately 125 miles north of San Francisco. I have never felt more pathetic, except for that time I colored my hair a septic poopy red color.

Saturday morning saw the Blurbodooces rested and refreshed, determined to see the Oregon border, if only from a far distance. It took us an hour and a half to get from Ukiah to a viable interstate system, but once we hit the 5, Jon proved why we are The Very Best of The World’s Very Worst Drivers. For several very scary moments I thought Chuck’s ears were going to stay back like that forever.

By 2pm we’d hit Oregon and some of the most elaborately art directed scenery in the country. For over 200 miles Jon and I said nothing but “ooh” and “ahh” and “he’s licking the window again, should I be worried?” I could totally live in Oregon except for the whole not being allowed to pump your own gas thing. That’s just totally un-American.

We only spoke with a few real live Oregonians, superb people who wanted to answer all of our questions in complete sentences, starting with a thesis statement and ending with a concluding paragraph. The general consensus was: go this direction, over that way, turn left there, and whatever you do, pay attention to the speed limit. It was hard to miss the speed limit since the people in Oregon who are in charge of speed limit signs have taken the standard speed limit font, rendered it, activated the DISTORT tool (ctrl-T or command-T), and expanded the height by 225%. The signs don’t say, Speed Limit 55, they say we’ve elongated the font used by other states, and when it says 55 we totally mean it and are so not joking, and if we have to we’ll elongate the font until you take us seriously.

Despite having to drive an elongated 55mph for an entire state, we made it to Seattle by 10:30pm, only 12 and a half hours from 125 miles outside of San Francisco. I guess the only thing I have to impart to anyone who is thinking about driving the length of this side of the country is do you have any idea how long the length of this side of the country is? Can’t you fly or something?

  • http://www.untickalock.com Seth

    Good timing, guys – It’s supposed to be fairly decent outside for almost a whole week or so. Enjoy!

  • Chukee (a Seattle to LA transplant)

    Okay, now that you are in Seattle (where I grew up) on your way to Utah (where I want to live) you have the opportunity to do one thing: get the best latte in the city. Just north of Broadway and Denny, on the west side of the street is a little espresso stand called Vivace (don’t go to the indoor one – the baristas aren’t as good). The same people have been puling shots there for years and the last time I had a latte there it brought tears to my eyes.
    I used to sit outside and read big pulpy magazines like W and drink cup after cup when I could afford it…

  • http://xanga.com/jenhaaay jenhaaay

    i’ve been extremely carsick on that side of the country. a few summers ago, my parents decided it would be a great idea to re-live the voyage they took for their honeymoon (from southern michigan, go north, turn left, drive until wahington, turn left, drive until san louis obispo, turn left, drive until home in michigan), only this time with two daughters, no pot, and a lot less sex in the tent. long story short, i made a new best friend (drammamine – sp?) in oregon and stuck with her until san louis obispo (which is a fun city name to say when you’re from a place like michigan – marshall, climax, hell, homer).

  • http://paulsboutique.blogspot.com Paul Gutman

    I’m going to follow up on Chukee and suggest you take that latte before you go the land of steamed-milk.

  • http://taraonline.org Tara

    After living my whole life until this last May in CA, I have to say I love the fact that I do not have to pump my own gas here in OR. Lazy maybe? I have always hated pumping gas so I was jumping for joy when I came here. The only complaint I would have is now I need to give myself more time when getting gas. Gone are the days of in and out in 5-10 minutes – if there is only one person waiting and the station is full I am there for awhile.

    What gets me more than the gas thing is the liquor thing! I miss BevMo, or at least being able to buy my ales and tequila at the same time as buying my bread. I think it is more expensive here too, even though pretty much everything else is cheaper (than CA).

    Have a safe continued journey!

  • Tara

    I meant to say 1 person working. Guess I should proofread what I write before I post it.

  • http://shashin.pixelkitty.net stupid bint

    you are such a web geek. really.

  • http://www.meamea.blogspot.com Miss Mea-Mea, formerly from Oregon

    When I was 18 and driving up the California Coast for the first time, I thought I was going to faint every time we rounded a hairpin turn. It’s beautiful, but what with the drop-off on one side and signs every five miles saying “Watch for landslides” on the other, it’s kind of a white-knuckler.

    Oregon is beautiful, and believe me, you get used to having someone pump your gas for you in the wintertime. Oh yes, you do. Now that you are moving to someplace with weather, I bet you will look on Oregon gas stations with a whole new perspective.

  • http://convivial.blogspot.com Heather #2

    I am loving the details of your west coast journey. I am completely jealous. Your posts are only encouraging my “want” to hop on a plane and head home to Portland. But instead I must endure 19 degrees tonight in Pittsburgh. Thank you, again, for taking the time to keep us all with you. Oh, and enjoy your time in Seattle with your brother and the five-year-old-mr-potato-head kid. Ciao.

  • http://www.meamea.blogspot.com Miss Mea-Mea

    Hey Thugster, you live in Ellensburg? Do you know anyone by the name of Phil Messenger?

  • Zan

    “When Chuck began turning several hex values outside the web-safe palette we abandoned the coast and headed inland…”

    Incredible imagery. Really. The Pallate hangs on my wall, a reminder of days past when our team had to work within those constraints at our company.

    Nevermore will I think of them as just colors. They are now the gauge by which I can determine the state of my not-so-well-travelled Black Lab.

    Thanks for sharing. Safe Trip.

  • se

    Hee-hee, you’re here. I concur with the praise for the Vivace stand on Broadway. And for Chuckles’ enjoyment, here’s the url for off-leash parks–http://www.cityofseattle.net/parks/
    parkspaces/yodogs.htm
    I think Sand Point Magnuson is best. Hope you have a good time in Seattle.

  • http://www.ghettonet.com/blogger.html Dragonslayer

    Tara, please explain the liquor thang in OR. We lurking Midwesterners don’t understand.

  • http://www.expedia.com The Inmate

    About that whole “pumping your own gas” bit. In most countries you can’t pump your own gas. That’s what gas station attendants are for. People aren’t even supposed to get out of their cars. Imagine how much stress that would save.

  • http://www.geocities.com/evan7_99 Slackjaw

    I don’t come by your site for a week or so and I see that you’re already in my neck of the woods.

    Just one question. How is it possible that you didn’t stop by the beutiful city of Tacoma? I would have bought you fries at Bob’s Java Jive. (best in the west donchaknow)

  • ~Angel

    That whole “sorry, we don’t trust you enough to pump your own gas” thing, you get used to it. Then you vacation in California, forget, and sit in your car waiting to be waited on. Ehhh…you get used to it.

  • http://convivial.blogspot.com Heather #2

    Not that my name’s Tara, but about the liquor. In Oregon, you buy your beer at any convenience or grocery store, until 2:30 AM, any night of the week. But you have to buy your liquor at liquor stores, which close at 6 or 7 M – Sat, except the one on Barbur Boulevard in Portland, which stays open until 10. (That was for you, Tara, in case you didn’t know – it’s right next to Barbur Foods.)

  • http://www.megchem.com megchem

    ****Update from LA*****
    Dooce!!!
    You’re missing the MOST fantastic windstorm. The kind that make you stumbly drunk and blows your skirt above your head…..FUN

  • se

    More on Oregon liquor– liquor stores are run by the state. Same in Washington, except in smaller towns where it looks like they contract with the state. And my understanding was that the no-pumping-your-own-gas thing was really to create jobs.

  • michelle

    Dooce – thanks for your hilarious site – I was so thrilled when I discovered that you’d come back and I’m loving your roadtrip. And now you’re enjoying our fabulous weather this week up here in Seattle (I’m actually north on the Canadian border.)
    I’m sure that I remember there was a drive-through liquor store in Hamilton, Montana when I was a kid…

  • moose

    Dooce, you are impressive, posting on the fly. se is right, it was for creating jobs. You get to pump your own next door in Idaho where I’m assuming you’re headed next, but you’ll still have to trek to a liquor store. If you want to stock up before you hit that state line… they definitely do have Ketel One, Maker’s Mark, etc in Ideeho. (You weren’t dreaming, Michelle. Do they still have drive-thru liquor stores in Wyo? We had fun with that.) Don’t blink or you’ll miss Boise, biggest city until SLC. Wave when you go by, ‘kay?

  • Tara

    Heather #2, thanks for letting me know about the place on Barbur. I will have to check it out. I actually found a place that was open on Sunday, but the guy was such a jerk to me I am never going back.

  • http://www.talkingcrow.com/blog/ rosebaby

    pay attention to that Vivace recommendation. best coffee in town. and yes it’s a GORGEOUS DAY. nice to have you here.

  • PJ

    Here in (currently snowy) Chicagoland, I oftentimes think that it would be nice to have someone pump your gas. There is only one station that I know of in my area where that is an option, but it costs about $.10 more per gallon. I have a friend (who is 45 years old) who has never used a pump in her life! Ah, there’s nothing like turning your back during a fill-up with a 40mph wind coming at ya! Then again, we can buy likker until midnight pretty much everywhere, including the aforementioned gas station! It’s a trade-off I’m willing to endure.

  • http://tattletale.net nita

    I thought it was weird having someone pump for me. Then there was my first incredibly windy AND incredibly rainy day. Then I was glad I had no choice but to sit back, say “Please fill it with regular” and stay dry.

  • http://www.raineydays.org Meg

    Did you pass through Roseburg? If you did, and had I known, I would have baked you cookies and sent you on your merry way. Maybe next time…

  • Todd

    First of all, I have no idea how I stumbled across this site a couple of weeks ago, but OH MY GOD….how friggen funny. Dooce, you are a blast to read…(how to pronounce please? Duece? Doo-chay?

  • http://mrslocore@yahoo.com Slocore

    What did you buy at Amoeba?

  • Jackie

    Shit. I’d been offline for, well apparently longer than you’ve been online since coming back, and just saw it back up. Superbulous. And such nice design. Ok, that’s my first and final comment. Just reading, now.

    p.s. I run movabletype as well… is this comments format a plug-in, or…? I’ve tried doing the same but always manage to fuck it up. If you’ve got the time, or anyone else here, email me at jacqueline@line-noise.com

  • http://quixotical.org Anna

    My husband and I once took a roadtrip up the California coast. In a week, we went from Salt Lake City to Vegas to L.A. and up the coast to Klamath then straight east back to SLC. Total fly by the seat of our pants thing. Wish I’d known you were taking your time, or I would have told you to stop by Solvang, CA. Very cute and Dutch-like.

  • eggo

    i didn’t know they had the internet in solvang, ca.

  • http://www.shiftyeye.com/home.asp Royale

    I’ve also made that drive through Northern California, Oregon, and Washington all the way to Seattle. Agreed, it is much, much longer than it should be. Tack a day to your trip if you have any desire to see Seattle. Though I must say, without a doubt, it is worth it. Seattle is one of the top 5 cities within U.S. borders….

  • Real-live Oregon

    As a real honest to goodness Oregonian, I am so happy to read about your journey into the woods! However, I am a little worried, because the speed’s only 55 through most cities/towns the rest of the way is 65. :-)

    Come back soon. And just remember, not only do we live sans sales tax, just stay seated: we’ll pump it for you too.

  • http://www.livejournal.com/users/xaotica kim

    i totally prefer driving from seattle to sf.

  • Kevin from Seattle

    Wow, I get to be the first thinker…how cool. I recollect making that trip lots of times as a terrified child in the back of a Ford station wagon. It was just mile after mile after mile of narrow two-lane road with thick dark trees forming an endless tunnel we went rocketing through at 75 MPH, my drunken father singing along with Sinatra on the radio when he and my mother weren’t screaming at each other. You guys obviously travel in much finer style. And once again, the Dooce prose mode has made me chuckle till 7-Up came out my nose, right here in my cubicle.

  • http://face4radio.blogspot.com Shane

    “Chuck began turning several hex values outside the web-safe palette…”
    LOL!
    Keep up the good work, the Dooce road trip is fast becoming the ride of my life!

  • http://amindofamind.blogspot.com Naaman

    7 hours just to get to Ukiah!?!!! How in the world did you pull that one off? That has to be some kind of Northern California record!

  • http://www.mediasparkles.com/blog Vera

    Naaman evidently has a VERY good understanding of what and where Ukiah is. I can’t say the same about myself unless Ukiah is the same as Ucaipa.

  • http://www.moveablebeast.com peggy

    One time my friend Rhonda and I drove from Seattle to San Francisco in her little blue Rambler. My feet got sunburned. This was in olden, 8-track times, before sunblock.

  • ex southern babtist

    See,I questioned why you guys would drive Highway 1 all the way up the Pacific Coast. Even if your the driver you can still get pretty darn squeamish on that highway. I’m glad you made it OK.

  • ex southern babtist

    Oh, and yes Oregon is beautiful territory.

  • Michele

    You mean Chuck hasn’t learned “are-we-there-yet-are-we-there-yet?” :)
    Please tell me that you took pictures and are going to share them! I’ve never been off the east coast so I can’t even imagine what you are experiencing. By the way, I live in one of the three states that have full serve gas and I wouldn’t trade that for anything. Prissy maybe…maybe even lazy of me…but un-American???

  • http://thepropagandist.com the propagandist

    so, judging by his reflection of your status, what is he anyway – a mood dog?

  • http://www.expedia.com Ex-liontamer

    Luck bastards. I had to skip the Oregon coast because me and my friend decided to take a “short cut” in Northern California. A-derr.

    And you can’t pump your own gas in New jersey either.

  • http://none Thugster

    You should stop in Ellensburg as you go east. 205 W. 5th, #213, ask for the shaven headed guy.