Wednesday, August 27, 2014

The Road to PAX: San Jose to Eugene, Oregon

After getting the van's window repaired and picking up Robbie Benson's equipment so he can perform at our booth, I finally started on the road out of California. Whereas on the way into San Jose the road was kinda boring on I-5 and kinda neat off of it, heading north out of town was kinda the opposite.
It kind of feels like nobody really planned for people to head toward San Jose from the south, as if the  Interstate Highway Commission could not conceive of a reason anyone from Los Angeles would need to go there or vice versa. Originally, I thought that maybe San Jose was like the town I grew up in: a notable town that's for whatever reason untouched by the Interstate system.

I was quite wrong. Interstate offshoots criss-cross all over the town, connecting one suburb to the other. These highways eventually meet up with I-80 to the north, a major artery between San Francisco and Sacramento. So, I took I-680 north out of town, which travels over many more suburban areas with nice-looking houses and businesses that are probably under some sort of regulation that prevents them from displaying their signs too visibly.

I-80 and I-505 approach and then bypass Sacramento, respectively. I've never actually seen Sacramento, since ever time I head to Seattle I stop by San Jose, and the route ends up taking me around California's state capitol rather than through it. Instead, I get the pleasure or seeing more farmland on the way back to I-5, passing through the small town of Winters in Yolo county.

While there isn't much to see on the way to I-5 other than suburbs and farmland, I-5 itself quickly enters the Shasta National Forest, where the highway passes through some beautiful scenery. First, there's the lovely Lake Shasta, which the highway crosses several times, several hundred feet above the water. Mountainous regions are always fascinating to me, particularly as someone who was born and raised in a place where any rocks have to be pretty much imported from another state.

And then there's Mt. Shasta, a volcano towering over the surrounding mountains, still slightly snow-capped. It's a major landmark on the horizon for several hours.

I didn't take this picture, but I don't feel like getting one off of my phone.
Meanwhile the roads run up, down and around mountains all the way to Oregon.

I stopped at a gas station in the town of Weed, a town that seems to be very amused by its own name. Mostly, though, I was just there to fill up my tank before entering Oregon, which is one of two states in the union where they don't allow you to pump your own gas. Some people like this service where the gas stations have attendants pumping the gas for you, but I'm thoroughly a DIY person. So, I was hoping I'd be able to make it from Weed, CA to Vancouver, WA without having to get gas in between.

For what it's worth, I succeeded.

No comments:

Post a Comment