Road trip!

It’s been a while since I’ve been able to really do any new postings here. It has been a busy summer. Lisa and I got away for a week in late July/early August to Oregon. Lisa’s parents have found a really nice beach house in Bandon which they’ve now rented three or so years as a place for the family to get away and get together.

This year, Lisa and I decided to drive instead of fly. We put the Prius to the test on a very long road trip — nearly 2000 miles each way. On the way there, we passed through the Vegas area, driving across the Hoover Dam. I’d never been there before and it was a pretty impressive site. Unfortunately, it was too hot for us to linger much, so we didn’t visit the visitor’s center or anything, but just stopped and looked around. It is an amazing engineering marvel. The water line was significantly lower than normal, as we could see the normal water line etched in the rocks. We could also see that they were building a new bridge to bypass the entire dam. We figured it was so people couldn’t just drive up to the dam as the dam is likely considered a terrorist target. But, the bridge they are working on looks to be pretty damn amazing itself. It is high above the dam, seemingly just coming out the side of the mountain. It will be cool to see the dam from the bridge once it is finished.

We stopped at the Paris Hotel that night. We got in a bit later than we wanted (partially because it took us forever to crawl down the strip to our hotel), so we didn’t do too much site seeing. We did look around the hotel itself. It was made up to look like a small French village, with the slot machines, of course. There were some things you might expect from anything French that was missing. There wasn’t a simple creperie. The only thing available served humongous Americanized crepes rather than the simple lemon ones you would get in Paris. And there weren’t any clothing shops, something you see in Paris a lot. These were all things Lisa noticed while we wandered around. But, overall, it was alright. We had a nice view of the Eiffel Tower outside our bedroom window.

After Vegas, we went on to San Jose to see Lisa’s friend Jot and the next day on to Bandon, where we met up with Lisa’s parents. Bandon is a small beach town, sort of geared towards tourists, but it has its charms. The beach isn’t a sunny Californian beach, but more a wild, cold beach. Most mornings, we took a walk along the beach, looking at the sea creatures attached to the rocks and searching for cool rocks. Later in the week, Lisa’s brother, sister-in-law, and niece came by for a couple of days. After they left, the rest of us spent more than one night playing dominoes (sort of our tradition at Bandon).

After a week in Bandon, we drove back, stopping again in San Jose. We then diverged from our previous route by heading to Santa Barbara. It again took us longer than we thought it would and we got into Santa Barbara pretty late. We had to stop earlier at Los Alamos, California, for dinner. Los Alamos is a pretty small rural community. It was dark, so we didn’t see much, but the diner we stopped at had good food. After Santa Barbara, we headed east to Santa Fe, though had to stop a night in Gallup as things again took us longer than we had planned.

Overall, it was a good trip. A bit much on the driving, but we had Harry Potter to keep us awake and help the time go by (more on Harry later). We saw some cool things that we hadn’t seen before, which is the nice thing about driving.

Photographs by myself and Lisa.

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