Saturday, May 19, 2007 ;
5:39 AM
HI hi!
I miss blogging! Been long since my last update, cos after we've been back I had to clean the house, unpack, welcome my parents and spend time with them.

I also had to sort out the 500+ photos we took! Many of them were just scenery and flora/ fauna pics, so I just chose some to post them here. Even so, there are still quite many. :-)

Good thing my parents are settled and are spending time with my kids, so I can come and sort and blog. :-)

(above: our last supper at midnight of 17/18May. yummy asparagus. haha, so bo liao)

Ok, 18 May, we set off for Northern California. The Redwood National Park. Motel was at Crescent City, just below the border of Oregon and California. We actually had to drive into Oregon then down again into the city.

We set off at 7am and reached at 1.30am on 19 May. Words like "exhaustion" or "crampy" cannot begin to describe the long drive. I was so relieved to reach the motel.

Ok, a 16h journey became 18.5h due to several reasons. Will elaborate below.

Memorable things about the journey:

1. Along the interstate, we could see the Great Salt Lake, and made a quick stop for the toilets and to feel the salt crystals. Also, since we had our windows down (save on aircon/fuel), the brine smell was unmistakable. Kids had fun just running all ard the salt, playing with it as if it were sand.

2. Then we started noticing how, along some parts beside the road, there'd be some raised sand dune or some hill. And creative/ romantic pple have been using them to their advantage.

We saw many declarations of love, "xx been here" and such, worded using pebbles and stones. Some of them made graphics and decor tog with words. Pretty.

We didn't stop so I could only manage to snap a quick shot at one of the messages. Not very clear here. Cos my car window get stuck halfway, cannot be wound down fully too. Plus I was nursing ds2 with the other hand. Poor at multitasking. (see below center)

(above left: Utah scenery for the rest of the freeway. just open "desert" and mtns)

Then we entered Nevada, the silver state.
Here comes the first reason why our trip was delayed.
3. There was a massive jam near Reno (Nevada) along the I-80. Turned out there was a fire (desert too dry/ hot).
So a lane was closed for all the police cars, fire engines and emergency vehicles. And we saw helicopters getting water from a nearby creek to put out the fires. We witnessed countless to and fro trips the helicopters made, during that long jam.
Also had a good view of the shiny convertible in front of us that had a fancy licence plate. :-)
4. Passed by a city called "Patrick". This is taken for you, Angeling and Linda. Show your hubbies. :-) (below left)
5. There was a long stop and detour along a Shasta National Forest (scenic highway) due to road works. It was a two-lane highway (i.e. the other lane were vehicles going in the oncoming direction). So with one lane closed, us on this side had to wait very long till a string of cars coming from the other side cleared.
There was enough time such that we all came out of the car to play and take pics along the forest and lake area. (above right)
When it was time, the officer there would signal to us, then the whole line of cars in the oncoming direction passed us, and a pilot car will then lead our line of cars to the other side. The pilot car moved at a speed of 15mph for safety, and it was a looooong stretch, so this delay was lengthy too.
We were a bit discouraged, esp for dh, cos he had been driving for at least 10 hrs by then already. We knew we were going to reach past midnight and were not very pleased with that notion.
6. The only consolation was that that part of the journey was very scenic, passing national forests and great scenery (in California state already). (below left)

I was in the backseat with ds2 and already felt my legs cramping. So you can imagine the poor driver. He actually felt so numb he had to drive with his feet put up for some parts of the journey. (above right)
Disclaimer: this was only done when we were the only car in sight, or were travelling along an endlessly straight road.. :-)
By the time we hit Hwy 101 in Oregon (also called Redwood Hwy), it was past midnight. This highway is also only 2-lane, very winding (sharp bends curving here and there) and with ascents and descents sometimes. Lining both sides of the road were the huge towering coastal redwoods. Pitch dark forest lay beyond.
As you know, most roads here don't have street lamps. And there's no civilisation at all for that long stretch. So all we could see was where our headlights shone up till, in front.
So there we were driving along vast long stretches of road that twists and turns unendingly, flanked by huge redwoods. I forgot to mention there was a heavy downpour. The car was drenched in relentless torrents of rain. ALONE.
I turned back once, and never did it again. I couldn't see anything, just total darkness, couldn't even make out the shadows of the giant trees. SCARY.
Call me a worrier, but a thought flashed across my mind. Cos our hps had no signal/ reception too, I just wondered what would happen if the car decided to break down then. My stomach knotted together, so I decided not to think any further and just concentrate on the road ahead.
Both kids were already sleeping. Dh could not drive very fast as the road bends too sharply right and left. He was tired, so we sang together with his iPod, hymns, Jay Chou and Sun Yanzi's songs.
And then all I had to do was pass him munchies, like raisins, gummies, chewing gum to keep him awake. And massage him at the neck. He said his back was sore too. Sigh.
We would've stopped somewhere before dark if we didn't already book the motel and if the delay didn't take place so near our destination already. We did do that for the return journey cos it was just too tiring.
ANyway, we finally made it, yay! At 1.30am.
We arrived to find the motel reception locked with no one there. Dh had to stand in the rain, ringing the bell and waiting for what seemed like eternity for someone to appear. I was in the car waiting with the kids, thinking we braved so much only to spend the night in a cold, claustrophobic car?
Thank God, after maybe 20min, the owner appeared, looking like he was hastily awoken from bed and had to throw on clothes quickly. Can't blame him, at this unearthly hour.
Finally, had a key to our room. I hadn't slept for more than 40 hrs, cos the night of 17May I was up cooking and packing stuff. Sinking into the motel bed was the most blessed relief I felt... Dh and I said a prayer of thanks, and then drifted off to a much-welcomed slumber.

rainbows every day, do not worry for the morrow

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