Thursday, September 29, 2011

Picking Up Speed?

Another glorious road trip has come to an end and I think I've caught up on my sleep now (after spending most of the day in bed). Determined not to get stuck in Portland's sucky morning traffic jam, I left Seattle at 2:30. That worked well, giving me time to dawdle a bit before providing full day light by the time I hit Springfield. It's also easier to get unlost in Portland's uncrowded side streets as I attempt to avoid those long tall bridges that freak me out.
Avoidance is easier now that I've figured it out: get off at Rosa Parks; turn right; left on Interstate... following Interstate and the passenger rail tracks to the lower and friendlier Steele Bridge; cross the water and look for the 405 south.
Yeah, it's so easy it took me a few times to get it. Downtown Portland seems to have few escape routes and will keep you traveling in circles. It does to me, anyway.

After climbing I-5, I took a couple hours in Yreka to relax, grab some lunch, beer and a nap. It's a cute little city of about 7,000 stuck amidst of the most beautiful geography I know. Too bad the populace doesn't much approach the quality of their surroundings. It appears neighborly, quaint and all that, but I would prefer to see fewer meth-heads and tattoo freaks walking about.

During the last leg of my journey, Sacramento to home, I came to the realization that I probably shouldn't be pushing so hard with the night driving. The last 5 hours were rough as I was having trouble focusing my eyes on the road far ahead. I am pushing 50 yrs old after all, and my eyes are not what they used to be, I guess. I've been in bi-focal denial for a few years as it is.
Maybe I'm starting to lose some of my night vision?

Or fatigue. I'm hoping it was fatigue.
When I look in the mirror, I don't see an impending AARPer staring back. My kids' friends always say I'm one of the 'youngest' Dads they know.
I'm not old, yet.
Or am I?


Jade said...

You are only as old as you feel... and hell, that's a drone of a drive. (been there, done that, felt the same way as you did when I was 25 on that drive)

405 is an illogical freeway. It runs in a circle around the city, yet labels itself "North" and "south". Portland used to be easier to navigate, but in the last decade they've put in so much light rail that driving is pretty well choked out. On my trip there last summer I realized that you can no longer turn left off of Burnside... took me about 20 blocks to figure it out, and loop around to the right. But my best friend appreciated the tour of China Town at least :)

Glad you made it home safe!

Mr. D said...

I just got bifocals. Chances are you do need them.

Glad you made it home safe and you also gave me yet another reminder of why I'm glad I didn't move to Portland in '06.

kr said...

:) glad Interstate Ave solved the bridge-finding problem ;) ... I have to disagree with Jade ;), I don't think Portland was ever reasonably navigable by car! Lightrail has certainly made it less-so, though. (Jade, they are planning to make Burnside/Couch a one-way couplet between the river and 405 one of these years--consider yourself warned ;). )

It was fun to see you. My nosiest neighbor saw us chatting and hoped you were a romantic interest ;). My reply that you were "a friend I met over the blogs" didn't help convince her that you weren't! (I talked her down after about two more rounds tho ;). )

kr said...

PS bifocals: it is Very Nice to be able to SEE properly. I am a big fan of being able to see well ;).

(I wore bifocals from age 8 until about 26. I like to assume I don't need them anymore because I have properly neurologically integrated the visual circuits finally ;), but actually I suspect mostly my eyeballs just shaped up to stop being so darn farsighted and in that process made it less hard for me to read.)

Bike Bubba said...

I remember knowing it was time to take a break when I started to get scared of the guardrails. For that matter, I still do know that, but being way old, I'm realizing my limits better than I used to....

Gino said...

Jade: but it really only drones south of redding, and gets even worse south of sacramento. the last 600 miles are the hardest and maybe thats what makes them rough.

mr D: i think p-land would be easy for a resident. i'm kinda liking the place. i just resent trying to leave it. getting arond and thru seattle, on the other hand... surprisngly easier than it looks.

kr: just explain to her that you are saving yourself for somebody waaay older and less married than i. ;)

bubba: its not the guard rails for me. its having time to focus far enough up the road before i get there, and making those little swerves and bends that long 'straight' roads have built in to them, and having to adjust my cruising speed to match my reaction time.

Jade said...

kr - I said Portland used to be *easier* to navigate - not that it was ever easy per say, but was better once upon a time.
Seattle is a bigger scale (Like O gauge railroad instead of Portland's HO) The streets are wider and there are better labeled ways to the freeway, but I'm not fond of the steep hills.

Gino - Eugene to Ashland is a bit of a drone to me, but anything Shasta south is just torture. Evil, evil torture.

Gino said...

going north, i'm in a near coma by the time i reach redding. and then i wake up to a new morning, and its like the first 600 miles never happened.

that is how i'm able to make pdx in a day, because mentally i'm only doing (the last) 450.

Night Writer said...

I had to go to the bi-focals years ago, even after getting Lasik (Lasik doesn't do anything about the muscles that control close-focusing). I've definitely started noticing the difference in my night-vision now as well. Some of the stretches on the roads between Red Wing and the Cities seem especially dark lately. I think the rods and cones in my eyes knock off for the day right around 9 p.m.