Tag: driving

The West is Big, y’all

The West is Big, y’all

There’s something Kevin Standlee​ said in a File 770 thread (it’s about halfway through the comment) that I wanted to do a little expounding on. Family and folks who know the area I grew up, bear with me, as none of this is going to be all that unusual to you. What I am about to quote came up in a discussion about whether Spokane was close to Seattle.

In my experience, a lot of people who haven’t actually lived on the US west coast think everything here is in the same place. Disneyland is just outside of San Francisco. You can see the Space Needle from Portland. And obviously everything in the same state is within a few miles’ of everything else.

Kevin knows what he’s talking about — he and I grew up in the same general geographic area, although that area is about 150 miles in diameter around my hometown. My hometown is a small Western city that has the distinction of being one of six control cities on Interstate 5 (the other five are all major cities you’ve probably heard of).

From my hometown, it is approximately an hour and fifteen minutes to the nearest state university. The next one is about two hours fifteen minutes. The other state university in our third of the state is about three hours away over a mountain pass. And my alma mater, in a major metro region that holds most of the sports teams we root for in my little city, is about three hours away, if you’re pushing it and not stopping.

And we’re big enough to be a control city — that’s the one the signs point to as the next destination — on the major north/south artery of the West Coast.

A couple other thoughts. I live in Sacramento now. A friend and I once drove from Portland to Sacto, getting out of the car once. It took us eight hours. Another time, I had to drive to pick up somebody in Los Angeles — the Hollywood area, to be precise. Mom and I left Sacto at 4:30 AM. We stopped for gas once and breakfast once, but we still didn’t make it to his place until 11:30 AM.

One last thought. California numbers its freeway exits by miles travelled, starting with 1 at the southern end for N/S roads and the western end for E/W roads.

The actual little town I grew up in, just south of the minor city I describe here, is exits 667 and 668 on Interstate 5. At that point, there’s still another hundred odd miles to the Oregon border.

The West Coast is *big*, y’all.

[tftc] Attack of the Quack

[tftc] Attack of the Quack

[Fifth in an occassional series about things I see on my commute.]

Today, on my way home, I get up on the freeway, and a couple vehicles in front of me, I see a truck. It looked like this:

Hmmm, says I, it’s a Duck truck. Now, I don’t root for the Oregon Ducks, but they play in the same league as my beloved Cal Bears, so it’s still nifty to see. I begin to wonder if it might be the equipment truck. I decide to overtake and I snap one more picture of the side of the truck as I go by:

Keep on Duckin'!Photo by retstak

It made me laugh. So I asked over on Addicted to Quack, an Oregon sports blog, about what that truck was. And sure enough, my guess was right. You see, the Ducks played Tennessee in Knoxville on Saturday night, and the afternoon commute hours today were just right for the Ducks’ equipment truck to be passing through Sacramento on its way home to Eugene from that game.

I wonder if Cal has a similar truck?

You see the strangest things on the road

You see the strangest things on the road

[Second in an occassional series that I’ve dubbed “Tales of the Commute”.]

So the car ahead of me in the onramp today was a Lada. Now, first of all, that’s not exactly a common brand here in the United States. I’m a bit of a Russophile, so I recognized the Russian car company, but I’m not sure others would. It’s not overly suprising to see one here as there’s a large Russian community in Sacramento, but it’s still unusual.

But it wasn’t just the unusual car type. Attached to the bottom were a pair of balls. You know, the ones people attach to their trucks to suggest that it’s their *ahem*. Again, other than the slight incongruity of them being on a Lada, no big deal.

No, what got me is that the balls in question were dark blue with a yellow stripe down the middle.

I really don’t want to know.

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