Friday, 7 April 2006

I shouldn't have taken that left at Portland ...

5 April - Was very surprised to find that the do it yourself continental breakfast at the hostel was not just a couple of slices of bread and instant coffee but involved several different types of fresh fruit, eggs (which I was unable to cook), bread for toastin and they even mixed up a batch of fresh batter for real waffles. Unfortunately instead of milk all they had was non dairy creamer powder, which is kind of like having dehydrated baby vomit mixed in with the coffee. I had to move the car before 8am so I was pretty much straight on the road heading south. Crossed into Portland after a few hours and decided to take the scenic route along the coast - got a little bit lost and but saw a sign for visitor info so got off the highway but couldn’t find the info so walked into a mcdonalds to get directions. Whilst there a short dirty but very friendly man named Dennis took pity on my fractured wrist and insisted that he buy me my meal. I hadn’t intended on eating at McDonalds, especially in this country (i've read Fast Food Nation) but he insisted so I got the least offensive thing on the menu which turned out to be the most offensive thing i've ever received from Micky D's and he proceeded to give me directions to where I needed to go. I don’t know if he was drunk or crazy but he took about an hour and I had even less of an idea of where to go after his explanation than I did before. Eventually got free of him and headed back on Route 26 where I soon found out that the speed limit was no longer 70 but was actually 55. I found this out from a state trooper who seemed to be more angry that I had an Australian driving licence than the fact that I was speeding (this is the first time i've ever been pulled over for speeeding). If America had any backbone I'd be able to arrest you for this but because its just a fine you'll get off with a warning. I was going along with the traffic and had just overtaken someone but I know its no excuise. I told him that I was very sorry and would definitely go at the speed limit. No, don't do that, - it's too dangerous to go that slow, it causes tailgating and backups, go at 60 to 65. Right .... My petrol guage was looking a little low but there were stations every 5m for most of the way so I wasn’t too worried but I passed one and then saw a sign that said next gas 40m so I spent the next hour paranoid that I was going to have to push my car through the mountains. However, did get a good idea of the range of a full taank of petrol in this car (about 650k I would guess). Eventually got onto route 101 which is the southern highway through Oregon along the coast. Some absolutely spectacular scenery on both sides (trees and mountains on the left and the ocean on tehe right) and got a very nice Clam chowder (it's Chow-da!!!) at Depoe bay before carrying on south. Its a prety slow road and its also a pretty big state but I should hit California tomorrow. Had a homestyle cooked meal from some lovely christian ladies named Katherine and nina who gave me some travel advice and some sage lessons on the sanctity of marriage. The cafĂ© restaurant was hilarious - American flags on every table, support the troops posters on the walls, pickups in the carpark - its the America i've only read about.

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