This will likely be the last blog post for a little while. We will still hit the road looking for adventure, but our honeymoon road trip is over.
From where I left off in the last post, we headed straight to Seattle, but not before seeing a scorpion and a javalina before leaving our beloved McDowell Regional Park. Ryan found the scorpion hiding under one of the bins we use to carry some RV equipment and I saw the javalina while I was out running errands. The javalina sprinted across the road, those tiny little legs carrying that rolly-polly body, and leapt into a bush in someone's front yard. It was quite the sight to behold!
We overnighted in Palm Springs and it felt exactly how you would imagine a formerly fancy California town to feel. It was hot but beautiful. On our way out of town we saw a HUGE wind farm, including experimental turbines. It was pretty cool!
Making our way through the greater Los Angeles area was, as we expected, stressful, but not as bad as our previous time driving through. We passed the cutest older couple in a 1950s-ish car towing an all metal teardrop trailer. If Ryan grows a fancy moustache and wears a cowboy hat, it would be us in 35 years. We exchanged smiles, waves, and thumbs up and it made me so happy.
One of the things we noted about the greater LA area was the smog. It was visible and thick. Once inside the smog, it was almost palpable. It made you want to get checked for lung cancer as soon as you cleared it.
North of LA is California's fertile middle. Well, it's fertile when it has enough water, anyway. It's so fun seeing this kind of agriculture - the kind that is intended for human consumption instead of for feeding cattle that we see in the Midwest. We spent two days driving north through this agricultural land and we saw grapefruit, lemons, limes, mandarines, grapes, olives, and all sorts of nut trees including pistachios.
The flip side of all that agriculture is, of course, the drought. There were signs along the roadway all over the place making political statements about how the state had promised water and not delivered. We heard stories on the radio about all sorts of people whose wells are dry. It must be a terrible situation to be in, but is not at all surprising. California is a desert. As soon as you cross the border from Arizona there are suddenly palm trees and green grasses everywhere; it's just not natural. There are fountains all over the place and the canals aren't covered. Between shifting weather patterns bringing less and less rain and people flocking to the state for the fame and sunshine, there is a real problem there and I think people have yet to understand the gravity of the situation.
After three days of driving north through California, we finally made it to Oregon, overnighting in Eugene. The following day we had a super fun lunch with my sister and her daughter and then kept on trucking, making it to our temporary home just east of Seattle later that evening. We spent about a week living in campground in Fall City, near Snoqualmie where a lot of Twin Peaks was filmed. We saw several spots from the show and found some spooky old trains, too! We spent several grueling days touring the city and seeing apartment after apartment and house after house, trying to find a place to live. The first couple days were discouraging, but then we had one really good day and found our first home in Seattle. A couple days later we signed the lease and moved in! And by 'moved in' I mean we moved the few items of clothing and cooking supplies that were in the camper.
After a tearful goodbye, we put the camper in temporary storage, making the official leap back into regular society. Assimilation has been strange, but we've also had a lot of fun exploring our new city and neighborhood. The things we had in storage in Chicago likely won't be here for another week or so, but we're making do. We've been living on less for the past six months, so this is no problem. The only thing we needed were two chairs and an air mattress because we had no furniture and we had tried sleeping on the floor, but it was not at all comfortable. I've got to say, it sure is nice having a warm shower to call my own, access to our own washer and dryer whenever we want, and a kitchen large enough to cook whatever I want.
We've mostly been spending our time picking up odds and ends for our new apartment and exploring. This past weekend we went to our neighborhood's incredible farmers market and were blown away by the selection of local goods. We even procured fresh grape tomatoes and they were delicious. We visited with a friend who was in town for a show with her band. Yesterday we enjoyed one of the hundreds of hikes within an hours drive from our home. The Boulder Garden Loop in North Bend is a short-ish hike, but a beautiful introduction into the area.
Today we went to the Pacific Science Center and the Experience Music Project (EMP). It wasn't the Field Museum in Chicago (which I miss dearly!), but the PSC was a lot of fun if not geared more toward children. The EMP is fantastic and has some really cool popular culture memorabilia and great opportunities to immerse yourself in music.