The Delinquent Traveler

Whenever I go on a trip, I do as little planning as possible. Generally, I travel with people who either like to plan or are resigned to it. Case in point: the trip I’m currently on. All the research about the destination, hotel, attractions, etc. were handled by my sister and her boyfriend. I basically just had to show up. Well, show up and buy beer and diapers along the way, as Nancy, Jeff and the kids are flying in from  Toronto1 and it wasn’t worth lugging that kind of stuff on the airplane.

Of course, for this trip I actually had to get myself to Portland.  I had decided to drive because flights were more expensive than they were worth. Knowing that I am too cheap to use my cell phone in the States, I had printed out at Google Map with the directions to get to the hotel – basically down the I-5 to the I-205. I also have a giant map book that has all the states and provinces in it, so I brought that along as well. I decided to leave very early in the morning to try to beat them long weekend border traffic. This was a good plan, because I left my house at about 6:15 a.m. and I only ended up waiting about 15 minutes at the border2. Though I had plotted the direct route to Portland on Google Maps, I knew I would have *tonnes* of time to kill as my family wasn’t going to be arriving until about 8 p.m.3. I toyed with the idea of driving at least part of the way down the coast instead of the I-54, but not far as doing any actual planning. You know, like mapping out an actual route. Anyway, as I was driving along the I-5, I saw a sign that said, “Ocean Beaches” and thought, “What the hell?” and went in that direction to take the more scenic route. I had my giant map book, which has the major highways on it and figured out basically where I’d end up going if I followed this spur-of-the-moment plan. Basically, I took Hwy 8/Hwy 12/Hwy 105 through Aberdeen, Grayland, the hilariously named Tokeland, down to Raymond, around South Bend and down Hwy 101 through Lewis & Clark National Park and over the most awesomest bridge ever into Astoria.

Just before I went over the awesome bridge, I stopped in at the Dismal Nitch Rest Area:

Dismal Nitch Rest Area



That “No Fish Cleaning” sign made me really wish I had a fish in need of cleaning!

But I have to say, Dismal Nitch is so not dismal!

Dismal Nitch Rest Area

Dismal Nitch Rest Area

Hell, even the restroom had flowers:







Dismal Nitch Rest Area - the restroom had flowers!






This is the awesome bridge that links Washington State to Astoria, Oregon. I’m pretty sure it’s the longest bridge I’ve ever driven on, and is certainly the awesomest (the photo does not do it justice!):Dismal Nitch Rest Area

Strangely, I was listening to my music on shuffle at the time and just as I was about to go over the bridge, the song “Stan” by Eminem came on. For anyone not familiar with the song, it ends with an Enimem fan committing murder-suicide by driving off a bridge with his pregnant girlfriend being held captive in the trunk of his car. Definitely an eerie song to listen to on a bridge5! Also, that’s how long the bridge is – by the time it got to that part of the song, I was still on the bridge!

In Astoria, I stopped for a (late) lunch and took a couple of photos – the place was as cute as button, and the photos don’t do it justice at all:

Astoria, OR



Upon leaving Astoria, I was a wee bit nervous because I was now going to be approaching Portland, and thus my hotel, from a totally different direction than the original Google Map that I’d printed and, as you know, I ‘m directionally challenged. I managed to get most of the way there, but then there was a giant clusterfuck of Hwy 30, Hwy 30 Bypass, Hwy 84, Hwy 205, Hwy 405 and the I-5 all having a giant orgy and I got totally and completely lost. To the point that I actually had to turn on my phone’s data to ask Google Maps to save me. It only took me like 5 seconds to do that, but I’m sure that will cost me eleventy billion dollars in data roaming fees. But it did the job because I’m now sitting in my hotel room, writing this blog posting, and waiting for my family to arrive!

I am sure I’ll chime back in with more stories of our Portland adventures (Voodoo Doughnut, I’m looking in your direction!) soon!



  1. Dragon Dictate just wrote “Tron” instead of Toronto []
  2. The sign said the wait was going to be 40 minutes, so that was a pleasant surprise. []
  3. and the direct route only takes about 5 hours. []
  4. Sarah had suggested that, since I had so much time to kill, I take a detour to check out Mount St. Helens. I thought about it, but I realized that a trip to Mount St. Helens would be way more fun with someone else as opposed to by myself, so I decided to save it for another time []
  5. Clearly, Bellatrix has a twisted sense of humour! []

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