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I Have a Feeling We're Not in Kansas Anymore

Oklamhoma is OK, Or Missouri Loves Company

semi-overcast 82 °F

The Plains States are rather plain, a monotony of gently rolling hills and fields. They are still beautiful, but not stunning the way everything is on the other side of the Continental Divide. There are a few gems tucked away in these emerald hills.
Thanks to one of my friends in Denver, and the signs that begin at the border between Colorado and Kansas, we find the Oz Museum, (and the Oz Winery, and the Style of Ahhhz! Salon). The moment we walk in, we know we are going to spend a lot of money here. The museum tour begins and ends in Auntie Em's Gift Shop, a pleasant little shop with all things Oz, from shot glasses to door mats. I bought a door mat. The museum has over 2,000 artifacts from the inception of Oz to modern adaptations. L. Frank Baum's first books, ruby slippers, props from Wicked; they're all there and wonderful. In a small theater at the back of the museum, the 1939 classic film plays on a loop. The exhibits are well maintained and contain all sorts of interesting tidbits and trivia. The museum is fairly small, but we spent nearly two hours there.

Shoes!

Shoes!

After the museum, we drove into a storm to check out the Beecher Bible and Rifle Church, because what is a bible and rifle church? We still don't know. The church was built in 1832, is about all we know.

This is Bible and Rifle Church, but why is it a Bible and Rifle Church?

This is Bible and Rifle Church, but why is it a Bible and Rifle Church?

We head south and then west and then east and then south again towards Oklahoma. We stop and take dorky pictures with the sign, because we are dorks. We quickly pass through a bit of Missouri, and then we're in Arkansas, where we are spending the night. Important question: Ar-can-saw or Ar-Kansas?

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Posted by MiriG 20:25 Archived in USA Tagged road_trip driving lower road trip oz oklahoma arkansas missouri kansas lower_48 mirig 48 pcsd post_college_stress_disorder oz_museum Comments (0)

We're Gone from Oregon

Well, that was fast.

semi-overcast 105 °F

We leave our host in Oregon around 10:30 and set out for the wilds of Portland. It is official: We are heading east in a very serious manner. Farewell, West Coast. You are arguably the best coast. Seriously, the weather here is so much more temperate than on the East Coast. Also, mountains right into the sea. Clearly, we have a winner.
The drive from Eugene to Portland went quickly, farms and distant mountains disrupting the horizon. Sunday morning car time passed easily, filled with conversation and plans for the future.
We arrive in Portland right on time for the Brunch Rush. I meant to capitalize that. In one of the quirky stores we found a book about Portland's obsession with late breakfast, more commonly termed brunch. We also found many hemp and bamboo products, handmade earrings, local arts and crafts. This city is crunchy. Just like the granola they like with their home-cultured yogurt for brunch.

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The afternoon is set aside for driving. We start out on I-84 but soon see signs for the Bridge of the Gods. We agree that this is a place we should be. So we cross over the Bridge of Gods. Holy cow. /the view over the Columbia River, though. Wow. The GPS freaks out tries to get us to turn around using this narrow, one lane mountain road. No dice. You won't get us that easy, GPS. We thoroughly situate ourselves on SR-14. Washington state is hilarious: Their state route numbers are placed in the center of a silhouette of George Washington. SR-14 turns out to be the high road, climbing the mountain sides flanking the Columbia. We often find ourselves looking down at I-84. Sr-14 is a lot of fun to drive, and is very beautiful. We stop in Kennewick for the night, where the locals eyes our New York plates with curiosity. Tomorrow, we take on Idaho and Montana.

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Posted by MiriG 23:27 Tagged road_trip oregon driving lower road trip washington pun lower_48 48 columbia_river sr-14 bridge_of_the_gods west_coast_is_best_coast Comments (0)

Just Another Song About California

But seriously, there are a lot of songs about California. But now I understand why.

sunny 61 °F

This is gonna be a huge post, because California is a huge state. By this logic, when we finally get to Alaska for our 10 year anniversary, the post on Alaska should be a book. If you continue to follow our adventures, be sure to pre-order. It's gonna be epic.
We cross into California innocuously, missing the "Welcome to" sign. What is the California state motto? It's gotta be on the sign. Will I care enough to google it? (Yes, I probably will. Update: I did. The sign is either the classic green and white highway sign, sometimes eschewing the "welcome to," or a blue sign with yellow lettering and yellow flowers. So no state motto on the sign. State motto, a la google: Eureka! I have found it! Funny, we're staying in Eureka tomorrow night.)
So, anyway, we get into California early afternoon on Friday. The last 60 miles into LA are bumper to bumper, but we have time until Shabbat. The plan is: Get to Gabe's (my super awesome cousin), unwind, take care of important real-life things, head over to the Rabin's for Shabbat. This plan is perfect until we arrive at Gabe's ad realize we don't have a key. And Gabe is in Northern CA (therefore, no cell reception), catering a wedding. So we chill on the front porch and internet. Soon, neighbors come home and hey! they know Gabe. Think he is (rightly) one of the coolest people and they have his roommate's number who should be home. Viola! Connections made, keys acquired, cat pet. The cat's name is Mowgli. She is very friendly. I stay outside and continue to internet, because the weather is wonderful and I am tired of being inside buildings and cars for the day.
Shabbat by the Rabin's is really pleasant. Yael, whom we know from school, isn't home, but her family makes us feel super welcome. (She's at a wedding for two of my very close friends, David and Devora. Mazel tov!) Her dog, Bialik, also makes us feel super welcome. Shari, a self proclaimed "cat person," now wants a dog. Bialik makes our walk through Beverly Hills much more palatable. People are friendlier, it seems, when you have a dog. Which is good, because Bialik tries to make friends with everyone.
After Shabbat we head back to Gabe's place and make plans with Sarah (my super awesome cousin) to go to the Getty Villa tomorrow. In a surprise twist, my (super awesome) uncle, Ken, joins us for the day. The Getty Villa is an amazing collection of Roman art and culture. It's also a testament to what insanely wealthy people sometimes do with their money.
Monday is a rest day. Sarah, Shari, and I make lots of plans, and then realize that a body in motion needs to not be in motion for, like, a day. Shari gets her hair done, I get my laundry done, we go to the Santa Monica Pier in the late afternoon. Good stuff. I try on a kelp crown. We try using the selfie stick. We stop trying to use the selfie stick. Thing just ain't practical. The one problem is once the sun goes down, the pier gets super sketchy, super fast. I'm pretty sure I saw a con being run, but I'll never really be sure. And I'm okay with this uncertainty.
Tuesday is for touring. Shari heads to the Walk of Fame, while Sarah and I check out LACMA. I play in the spaghetti installation, because I am a child. Sarah and I check out the museum and after closing, check out the La Brea tar pits. The tar pits ooze and bubble, and are amazing treasure troves of fossils, and they smell. (See? Child.) We meet back up with Shari, and then go for drinks and dinner with Gabe. (A huge thanks to everyone who made Tuesday evening excellent.)
Wednesday begins our journey north. We had originally planned to stay in LA for a week and a half, but developed itchy feet (metaphorically) after a few days. We head up Highway 1, despite the GPS which desperately tries to put us on the 5. No dice. We use maps to stay the course. And are so glad we do. Driving the 1 is one of the most terrifying and beautiful places to drive. The ocean expands silver past the horizon, the mountain cliffs tower over head, and the hairpin turns alternate the view from eternal blueness to dense forest. Infinitely worth it. Go on crazy road trips. I dare you. It's agreed that we need need need to return here once were fit enough and experienced enough to hike the trails veining up and down from the road.
We end the day in Pebble Beach, staying by my (some order of magnitude removed) cousins. I love the way this trip helps me become closer to people, whether friends or family or both. Why not both?
See you in the morning! We're off to San Francisco.

Posted by MiriG 23:47 Archived in USA Tagged ocean california friends lower los_angeles family la road trip cousins highway_1 48 the_1 the_getty_villa lacma pebble_beach Comments (0)

The Grandest Canyon

it might just be a giant hole in the earth, but it is a very nice hole in the earth

sunny 90 °F

As you may have surmised from the title, we were at the Grand Canyon today. We'll be returning there for a little bit tomorrow, but we have a schedule to keep. It's been agreed that we are definitely coming back here for a longer time span. There is so, so much to see. There are all these cliff faces and I just want to climb them. (Not to misrepresent myself as someone who has much experience rock climbing. I don't. But I still want to climb all of it. )
The day began at a smoiling 89 degrees in Pheonix. 89 soon turned to 105. I don't know if I have ever drunk that much water and not immediately needed to pee in my life. You just step outside and all of the liquids are sucked right out. I swear, sweat evaporated as it exited my pores. We were kind of museumed/ touristed out so we did what any good denizen does: Heads to the mall and shops.
The drive up to Grand Canyon was intense. The rise in elevation, up to over 8000 feet, pushed the engine, and even though the temperature was slowly decreasing, we still pushed the air conditioning. We stopped near Sedona for gas. Wow. Those cliffs are so red. So red. It's vibrant, earth shattering.
About 60 miles from GC, we detoured through Williams, a town founded in 1881. As the GPS liked to remind us, the street we drove down was "Main Street, Historic Route 66." We stopped for a bit, getting our gifts on Route 66.
At the Grand Canyon, we took a shuttle to different look out points, and the hiked about 2 miles of the rim trail. The sun set and we sat barefoot, overlooking the canyon as the shadows deepened and the canyon filled with a pale atmospheric tinge. While walking around this giant hole in the Earth, a multitude of languages filled the air. Most people happily photographed the other tourists, even if they had no common language between them aside from a camera and a smile.
All in all, a very good day.

Posted by MiriG 00:23 Tagged nature canyon arizona grand lower road sedona trip 48 Comments (0)

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