Driving North

It’s been 6 weeks since I started my project. I have a month of notes I have yet to process. Maybe this week I’ll finally get around to it. I appreciate the opportunity to take this trip even more now that I am halfway through it.

Before driving up from California I took the car in for a tune up- the rear brakes were shot. It was a decent repair shop in Berkeley and the owner was a Seattle native from Queen Anne- people just move up and down the coast don’t they! I finally had the warped brake shoes repaired because the shuddering had gotten worse with all the wear the car was getting. $800 bucks later… makes me feel more independent, taking care of all these things.

So the drive up from California was lovely. I thought of it as a marathon, except a bit longer than 26.2 miles. It went as smoothly as chocolate silk tofu vegan pie. I kept taking these mental pictures, but I never did manage to take out my camera. I suppose I should have. But I get greedy sometimes, and those vignettes are forever in my head now, instead of perfectly framed and forgotten. The best was waking up from my nap to a patient jay and the shiny bare branches of a pine tree from below… At my halfway stop in the Rogue River, I spotted a couple getting out a fiddle and a guitar. Turns out they played trad and so I went to get my pipes and we had some lovely tunes. They both had a very smooth style and played closely to the settings. I love the world of traditional music.

 The second half of the drive up I-5 through Oregan to Seattle was a bit more interminable. I last drove it in May but I sure as heck don’t want to drive it a third time this summer. I’m starting to plan my trip down on the back roads, along the coast and passing through Eureka. After spending some time in Seattle with my Dad, I continued on north. At the border crossing, I showed both my Canadian and American identification. I didn’t even give the guard a timeline for my trip!! The only difference I noticed across the border is that Canadians drive very slowly. MUCH slower. 60mph/100kph was a big deal. I’ve done the drive into Vancouver a thousand times, but never on my own. Crossed the Nickelmeckel, and got stuck in the Deas Island tunnel traffic… but I eventually made it into town without a map and am happily ensconced at my sister’s place.

I now realize that what I really should be surveying this summer is urban drinking water quality. According to my visits thus far this summer, I would have to rank the west coast metropolis as follows:

1. Vancouver

2. Seattle,

3. Berkeley

4. San Diego

5. Los Angeles

6. San Jose

(Sacramento, Stockton, Fresno unknown)

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