RTW Day 49 – A 17 hour drive from San Francisco to Portland, or, never again

Things I never want to do again, drive 17 hours in a day. We’ve been a bit jetlagged in America, which means we go to bed at 8pm, and get up at 4am, so we decided to take advantage of this, and leave San Francisco at 4am bound for Portland.

IMG_3613There’s not too much to see between San Francisco and Portland, but one outstanding thing is the Avenue of the Giants, which is features massive redwoods, including some trees over 900 years old. It was a significant detour, but Kathryn did say when would we ever do this again, so we went for it.

Because we left so early, we breezed easily through San Francisco, driving north over the Golden Gate Bridge. We drove through many small towns in North California, where the land changes from the bay area towards massive rural areas, a few communities, a vast open spaces. One thing I underestimated was just how vast America is. It’s soo easy to look at Google Maps, zoom out, and say, oh, I think I could travel that in a day. Sure, some of these things are technically feasible, but they don’t take into account the largest rainfall in a 100 years, the darkness, the tiredness of travelling for the last seven weeks, I was optimistic in my travel planning.

IMG_3631We got close to the Avenue of the Giants when we discovered the road was closed. Again. While we had checked the Internet for road closures, this one wasn’t listed. We could have waited for 4-6 hours, as many were doing, or we could drive back about 2 hours the direction we’d come from, then cut across to the main freeway, which is what we did. In times like those, what can you do?

We then drove for ages to reach the Interstate, which was then a big giant relatively straight road bound for Oregon. Sure, you’re going 70 miles per hour, but with 500 miles to go, that still takes a while.

My favourite driving combination is straight roads, sun, the beach, and great music. My worst driving combination is darkness, rain, corners, and fog. This was what we encountered on our drive to Portland.

I think I lost track of a couple of hours as I just followed a car in the rain. You can’t see anything, so I just found the brake lights of the car ahead, and stayed there. By the time we made it to Portland, I felt like a zombie.

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