Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Oregon in a day

Originally uploaded by dieselboi
443 miles later, I'm in Boise ID. It didn't seem like a long day, but I did lose an hour when crossing into mountain time zone. Blerg. i'm going to lose another when I enter central. The drive was perfect. There was some construction that slowed me down a bit, but nothing major. I guess I averaged about 70mph. Best part was a burger in Durkee, OR at a place named the Red Neck Cafe.

Thursday takes me through ID and across Wyoming. If you have any suggestion for stops along the way on I 80, leave them in the comments. We'll make a game out of it.

More photos here.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Summer Journey 2009

We're doing it again. Anna is finished with school in about 16 days and we leave Philly on the 29th of July. I'm heading back on my own prior to that, so watch for tweets and posts during that 4 days and 3200 miles. It should be interesting. The return trip will take us to NC to visit friends, AR and MO to visit family and the rest of the South to explore. OOh Ooh, we'll also spend a night in Vegas. You're jealous, I know.

Leading up to it, I gotta get prepared. Anyone have a TOM TOM we can borrow? I'm getting a bit stressed, but know it will all work out. I just have to get my TPS reports done before the trip.

Stay tuned. It will be an incredible journey.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

7500 some miles

Wow, it has now been a couple weeks since my return home and I have yet to recover. Honestly, I have, I just don't want to. I want to get back in the car and go explore America some more. The last part of the trip with Pete was excellent. We hit Nashville for a night of live music and some drinking. Then on to Missouri where we crossed the big muddy (the Mississippi) and the Ohio rivers to see massive flooding of farms. Up to St. Louis for a baseball game and the Arch. We then ventured over to Kansas City where at the 75th St. brewery, we met a guy who we chatted with for about 4 beers. He invited us to sleep on the floor of his new condo that had little if no furnishings. A great night sleep, albeit after a few beers. Then we traveled across Kansas, stopping in Abiline for $3.45/gal Diesel (it should have been $4.45, but the system was misconfigured.) Then on to Hays, Kansas for lunch and a beer at Liquid Bread Brewing. I wore my Vote, F*cker t-shirt the whole way through Kansas. That night we ended up in Boulder, CO to spend the evening and night with Pete's friends who took us to Walnut Brewing and Moutain Sun. Mountain Sun had the best IPA I had tasted so far. After Boulder, we ventured over the Rockies with stops in Breckenridge and Vail (both a little to hoytie toytie for our tastes.) Then through Glenwood Canyon where the Colorado River snakes through to have lunch in Glenwood Springs at their local microbrewery. Our trip from there to Salt Lake took us off I70 into rural CO and UT. Beautiful country. Evening and night in Salt Lake. They have f'ed up liquor laws, but at least they have a microbrewery or two. We hit Squatters downtown which was pretty much a meat market, but we didn't care. No one sat next to us because we probably stunk a little. They couldn't sell their IPA on draft due to the law that says any beer over 4% must be served in a bottle. How messed up is that? After Salt Lake City, we ventured west on I80 through the salt flats. Again, beautiful in a desolate way. As we got close to Nevada, we came upon the Boneville Salt Flats where they race the rocket cars. We drove out, checked it out and took it all in. Then Nevada. Wow, I80 through northern Nevada is sparse. Beautiful, yet sparse. Some of the best driving and scenery (other than Wyoming) was found there. Winnemucca didn't really do much for us. We hit the three casinos to find blackjack on a Sunday afternoon to no avail so we moved on. Just outside of town, we picked up a partial tank of diesel for $4.59. In hindsight we should have filled up. Our drive north tooks us NW into southern Oregon towards Lakeview. If you have a few days, you must check this area out. Stunning views and vistas, hills and valleys. We even came upon a small herd of wild burrows. So cool. We slept on the ground that night - our last night of the trip - drank whiskey and played cards till the sun went down. Morning brought us up through central oregon and home over Mt. Hood.

Some parting photos:

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Scary Hotel video in WV

As promised - a tour of our hotel in WV:

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

A visit to the Wild Turkey distillery in Kentucky

Originally uploaded by dieselboi
Wow, since Philly, I have been through Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, West Virginia, Kentucky and tonight we're in Tennessee. We've got about 900 miles under our belt so far. We decided to stop here in Nashville for some music which we'll be seeing shortly. Today was a good day for visiting a distillery. We ventured into Lexington Kentucky, but didn't find much other than Lincoln's wife Mary Todd's former home. Seriously, we just weren't into Lexington, so shoved off. It was a cool town, but we were on a mission to get to a distillery. On the way out of town, I kept seeing signs for Woodford Reserve. Thinking as if we were in Wine Country, I thought we could see a few distilleries in one day, but Pete kept saying no, keep moving. I was an ass and was a bit whiney. Thanks to Pete though and we ended up at the Wild Turkey distillery!


I first tasted Wild Turkey in 1994 when working for the Kitzhaber for governor campaign - and yes, I had a shot with the guv. So cool. We arrived just in time to catch a tour. It began with a cheezy video, so we were both a little wary, but the tour was amazing. The tour guide took us everywhere and answered every question we asked except for anything to do with the recipe. Wild Turkey is Bourbon, which is at least 51% corn and no additives. It goes into the oak barrels clean and clear and gets colored by the aging process. What a day. I think the tour lasted about 1hr 45min and every minute was a learning experience. We could even put our finger in the mash to taste it while it was fermenting. I didn't, but wow, what access. I was in heaven. Just wish Anna was there to experience it with me. And yes, I got a patch and a bottle.

Filling the barrels:

Mash tanks - blurry because I wasn't supposed to take photos:

Some video:

So, off to see some music!

Clendenin WV

Originally uploaded by dieselboi
After our night in the scary hotel - yes I survived - we ventured down towards Kentucky. We were hungry, so took one of the exits looking for grub. We found a diner in the dying town of Clendenin WV. Seriously, this town was on its last legs like so many towns we had seen on our drive through rural West Virginia. Only about 20 minutes outside of the city of Charleston and it was all boarded up and a little worn. It was even on the banks of a river. Out west, some developer would have snapped this area up and built up another Pearl district or something. So sad. Pete even spoke with a local who stated that this was actually the third death of the town. One good thing - baked apples for breakfast. Woot!

More Photos

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Returning to Portland

I am back on the road today - May 12 - heading back across America. After a sad goodbye and some hugs, I wish my love Anna good luck with school and hit the road. It is going to be a tough time these next 14 months apart, but I truly believe we're strong and can do it. I miss you so much though Anna.

(due to technical difficulties and no real wifi, no photos or video today, but we'll work on that tomorrow.)

Today's drive ended up being about 500+ miles. Though, I'm not really 500 miles closer to home. I picked up my buddy Pete in Baltimore and he will be driving back with me. Our route will take us through the middle of the country - a part neither of us have spent much time in. Today was mostly West Virginia. And yes, you can start making the pig noises and jokes about taking shortcuts.

I have to say that WV is a beautiful state. We started off on the interstate, but quickly got off and headed into the Adirondacks to get some local color. It was only after getting off the beaten path that we realized we were headed in the right direction to hit 2 microbreweries. Woo hooo! As we left civilization for the forest, we stopped by a country store to get some liquid refreshments and Pete asked a question of the owner. She responded and I remember something to the affect of - "....and don't go down that road there....." It was a line right out of some horror flick where young kids do everything wrong and get kidnapped and eaten alive. We just laughed and headed in.

We stopped by Blackwater brewing after tackling about the first 100 miles of the Adirondacks and were not that impressed. Yeah, they brewed their own and it was good beer, but the brewer (who was on site and brewing right in front of us) wasn't that nice. She was actually a bit surly. After a single beer, we headed down the street to Mountain State Brewing in Thomas, WV. We drove right past and couldn't find them, so called. They turned us around and when we arrived, we discovered they were actually closed on Tuesdays - yet they would serve us because "he had nothing better to do..." What amazing hospitality. Oh, and their beers were great too. They had 4 on tap - an Amber, an IPA, a Stout and a Blonde. We got to taste each and then he offered a pint more. I only took the tastes as I was the driver for the day. Would you believe that - me being responsible? We chatted for about an hour with the brewer and it was a great time had by all. We said our goodbyes and headed off.

I had hoped to get to Charleston WV and we're close, but we both ran out of steam and decided to stop about 40 miles short. I used by trusty Blackberry to find a hotel and we ended up in Sutton WV at the Elk Motor lodge. For a whopping $36, we have a room (actually 2) with cable TV. The jokes about being at a hotel who's sign is turned off in the middle of WV keep on a coming. I will make sure to have something sharp by the bed before heading to sleepland. Honestly, it isn't bad. I have video, but there isn't WiFi here and uploading via cell broadband just doesn't cut it.

Best nuggets of the day:
  • Front Royal, Virginia - ate a great lunch at County Seat Pub and Eatery and spoke with one of the individuals there who informed us that one of the most notorious confederate spies - John S. Mosby - made Front Royal and surrounding areas his domain. He was also known as the Gray Ghost and Disney made a movie about him. Some of his cohorts were caught in Front Royal and we learned that 2 were shot in the head in the parking lot of the restaurant we were eating at. Ahh, history.
  • In West Virginia, we stopped at a liquor store to get some beer and I wanted to buy some whiskey. The liquor area's lights were off, so I asked - "Can I get some whiskey" - to which I received the answer - "Why no, there are no liquor sales on ELECTION DAY!" Seriously, that is the best liquor law I have heard yet. Don't want the donkeys and elephants getting drunk and fighting on election day I guess.
  • Hotel!