Road Trip USA Part 1 – Washington, Oregon, California

We interrupt your regular broadcasting of reminiscing about my trip to France to announce my most recent expedition: a road trip in the US of A.

Guapito left on the afternoon of December 26 without much of a plan. We knew that we had to meet our friends in San Jose, California, sometime on December 27, but we hadn’t established a time. We both like to make sure the house is clean before we leave, and because we have a hobby farm, we have to make sure that it’s all set up for the people taking care of things while we’re away. It was especially difficult this time because the majority of stores were closed for Boxing Day, but we made do (or so we thought). I had a panic attack about leaving. I knew everything was going to be fine, but I have a hard time leaving everything in someone else’s hands.

Because Guapito is Mexican, he has to get a new $6 visa if 6 months or more passes between visits. While inside, the border guard made fun of my incessant blushing (I didn’t even know I was blushing, which made it worse). Then we stopped at Wendy’s to get some food. Wendy’s in the USA has delicious lemonade, which we don’t get in Canada, so it was an obvious “must have” for us. We soon passed by a recreational marijuana store. I had totally forgotten that pot is legal in Washington. I passed out in the car despite it being early still, and after Guapito got some gas, he wanted to go to the store at the gas station, but I suggested that we get some snacks at Safeway (fruits & veggies… eff junk snacks!), so we did. I looked for bread cheese sticks, but they didn’t have any. We then crossed the street to Red Robin to get some ooey gooey cheese sticks. Unfortunately those do not exist in the USA. We got some regular cheese sticks with thai chili sauce instead to get somewhat close to what I was craving. It was not the same at all, but decently delicious.

We were soon out of Washington and Guapito got super excited when we drove through Portland, he had no idea it was so large. It actually did look somewhat enticing. They have been advertising tourism to Portland a lot in Vancouver, and I guess it has been having a positive affect on me.

We really did nothing in Oregon except fill up the car with gas ($33 in the States compared to $75 in Canada). It was full serve, so that was weird for me.  We stopped at a rest stop just before 2AM. Guapito was tired and wanted to sleep. I was wired and itching to be on our way, so I took over driving. I’m sure the scenery on Mount Shasta was spectacular, but the only thing I could see were the stars, which are beautiful in their own right. As I was driving, I realized that our GPS had us arriving at our location in San Jose at 7AM. I figured there was no point in arriving so early and not getting any sleep, so I pulled over at a rest stop just before 5AM to catch a few zzz’s before the sun came up.

We left our stop at around 8, and got gas not too long after. Guapito got cinnamon buns from Cinnabon that he said were disgusting. The funny thing is, despite the USA and Canada being similar in many ways, you can order the exact same food from the exact same company in both countries and the products can taste completely different.

We stopped in Pleasant Hill to get some breakfast and use the WiFi. Unfortunately the place where we stopped for breakfast didn’t have any WiFi. The breakfast was ginormous. The leftovers lasted me the rest of the day.


Breakfast @ Jack’s

We wandered around the complex until we picked up some free WiFi. I let my friend, Rae, know that we about an hour away from our destination. She wasn’t answering her phone (I called her via BBM), so we left and continued on our way. We spied a Starbucks and stopped to get some coffee and to use their WiFi. I mean, Starbucks should have WiFi, right? Wrong. Luckily the Safeway had WiFi, and I was able to contact Rae. We agreed to meet at Wyndham Garden as soon as possible.

The place is actually pretty nice. If I wasn’t so cheap, it probably would have been a good idea to have headed straight there and gotten a room to have a decent sleep instead of in the car. Guapito was so pleased with the place that he inquired as to the room rates, despite having no use for them at all. We were only there to park the car.


Wyndham Garden

We registered for parking, and then unloaded the car. Unfortunately, I do not pack light.


Guapito and our bags

It wasn’t too much longer until our friends arrived, and we packed up the trunk and went on our way. They had been to Pebble Beach in Monterey the day before and wanted to go back. First we stopped at Stanford University to admire the architecture and have a look around. There were a lot of people there despite it being the holidays


Stanford University



Stanford University

Then we stopped at Paris Baguette, a Korean chain, and they got lunch and some drinks. I still had my leftovers from the morning, so I ate that.


Paris Baguette


We then went to Pebble Beach, but missed the sunset. It was still pretty and we had a good time.


Pebble Beach


Night time at Pebble Beach


It was still about 6 hours to get to our hotel in Manhattan Beach, so we headed out again, only stopping for gas and some dinner. Rae had pizza and the rest of us had burritos and tacos. When we finally arrived at our destination, we had some minor difficulties with our room. You could see marks on our door that had been washed off saying “Nice Try”. We couldn’t figure out the lights, and one of the bulbs was dead. Guapito couldn’t figure out the shower, so he spent his shower holding the pin to make the water come out of the shower head. We realized later, that he just didn’t pull the knob out enough to get enough water pressure. The room also lacked a fridge, and we had items that needed to be refrigerated. It wasn’t until about 2AM that we finally were settled in and ready to sleep. I sure was ready for a good, long sleep after the last two days. Unfortunately, it was not to be.

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