This is the longest stretch we will have to face this trip. With two people driving, it is quite tolerable. But beware if you are driving alone: from Grants Pass to Crescent City the road is narrow, windy, and extremely precipitous. You have to be well rested – and by all means, try to make it before dark!!!
We introduced Lyuda to American rest areas. She was very happy to find out that one does not need to relieve herself in the Nature; now she understands why grandpa calls these restrooms “upside down restaurants” or just restaurants.
We had a picnic in a pleasant rest area between Eugene and Roseburg. As true Russians, we had baked salmon, fried chicken, eggs, potatoes, stuffed eggplants, two types of cheese, mayonnaise, butter, Ciabatta bread, cucumbers, blueberries and Coca-cola. Was it easy? Well, according to our friend Adrew Kriegel: ”Whose life is easy nowadays?”
After Eugene the air became oppressive, there was so much smoke from the forest fires, you could barely see the hills around. We felt dizzy from so much carbon dioxide; I was beginning to feel for aliens who would have to breathe foreign atmosphere.
There were lots of police patrols everywhere, and they were all occupied; still, lots of crazy people continued driving way above speed limit or way below… Lyada told us that in Russia, impatient drivers constantly zooming from one lane to another are called “chess players”. There were plenty of those. One drove barely two feet behind us, demonstrating how slow ad dumb we are; finally, he passed us on the right – and, alas, got stuck anyways between the car in front and a truck on the side. He gained probably 10 feet of the road… Let him tell the trucker how slow he is.
It was no sooner then 30 miles to Crescent City when we felt the air was beginning to clear up; it was also getting cooler. The forests rose on both sides of steep mountain slopes, there was a mountain rivers on one side, and dark looming cliffs on the other side of the road. Encouraging signs like “Danger! Rock slides!” etc. kept us – at least me – rather awake.
And the, without a warning, we drove into the redwoods forest. Suddenly we were dwarfed by the black trunks of the gigantic pines. I had to stop! We had to take pictures!
Crescent City laid just at the exit of the National park. It is a dismal looking grey little town with lots of trailer parks, hotels and Mexican restaurants. When I asked about historic buildings, the young clerk at the counter giggled nervously and explained that all their historical buildings were washed away by the tsunami of 1962, and the embankment and bouleward were washed away by the tsunami 2 years ago. All that is left are piles of concrete. Work is going on, but it would take some time… What they still have, though, is worth seeing – a small historical landmark, a lighthouse at the Battery point. It was about 2 miles away from our hotel, and we just walked there and back. The colors of the early evening were absolutely surreal: just shades of gray and a touch of very dark somber green: fog from the ocean, steely waters, silvered floatsome on the shore and dark, gloomy, tortured pinias…
It was low tide, and thousands of birds were looking for food in the intertidal zone, with much flapping of wings, cries and screehing; gulls, herons, sandpipers, cormorans, pelicans, all loudly protesting an attack of an osprey.
We took a lot of pictures… Came home, ate, swam in the swimming pool (indoor), and collapsed.
Tuesday, August 20, 2013 Grandmother’s birthday
We took Lyuda to see the most iconic tourist spots: we made it to the top of the Space Needle, we walked through the sculpture park, we had lunch at the Anthony’s restaurant, walked along piers to Pike Place Market, and went back by monorail.
As a result we were 40 min. late to grandma’s. There were reasons for everybody to be unhappy. Grandma thought we forgot about her; my husband and son were unhappy that Grandma decided to add her best friend Nadya to our group, Grandpa was unhappy hat I did not want to order wine ( 92 bucks per bottle, thank you very much), I was unhappy that my Mom was giving a public show to unwilling and captive audience. In the end, I solemnly swore this is the last time I am paying for something like this.
We came back and proceeded packing up for the trip. I barely slept…
Monday, August 19, 2013. Lyuda arrives in Seattle
OMG!!!! My best friend came to Seattle! We have been friends since our first day at school in 1963!!!! 50 years!!!
We got her white and pink roses and drove to the airport. She was very happy to arrive on time. It appears that Delta refused to assign her a seat on the plane from Amsterdam to Seattle till the very last minute; shaken, but happy, she fell into our arms . We drove through downtown on Aurora, we showed her our home, her new quarters, exchanged presents and talked. Surreal!