I’m back over the border – and into Portland, Oregon. Today was self-pampering day, as I’ve been in a shitty mood for days now and a little bit tired. Once I hit the hostel after the overnight greyhound bus, they had to open up a new room so I could get a bed, and this room oddly enough had 2 bunk-beds, one with a “double-bed” bottom bunk. That was soooo mine.
Napped until midday, then refereshed I had a sandwhich with healthy stuff in it (nothing fried for once) and popped into the chinese gardens for an hour of zen sitting and drinking fancy tea. Once my ying had vaguely located my yang, I headed out again, picked up a ticket for the Dandy Warhols (playing tonight) as compensation for missing lots of other musical stuff (Lollapalooza, Bumbershoot), and wondered around the Portland Art museum. Feeling very rested and up for lots of beer and rock now. Woohoo.
It’s so clean and tree-lined out here – big shout out to people living out in the big smoke !
Seattle didn’t get me straight away. Infact, after the first night of tourism and drinking I was fairly unimpressed. To try and kick start my flagging enthusiasm, I did the touristy stuff – space needle, Expericence Music Project (in it’s crazy Ghery building) and a starbucks coffee (corpoarte whore that I am 🙂
This sort of did the trick and that evening – and after I failed to get up in time to get the bus, the next evening – I got happily trashed whilst watching bad movies and going out the the Green Croc. club, where I saw the Bellrays (Rock ‘n’ Soul music, and much improved from last time I saw them), and the next night was Northern State (basically the Beastie Girls – nothing more but nothing less).
Finally I got up early enough to hurl my self into the hound up to Vancouver which is a wonderful city. I has cheap sushi, a great park to walk / bike around in, big city stuff in a small city area and easy access to outdoor stuff (including Whistler, of course). I could spend more time here – if there was more snow !
Not too much touristy stuff to do, and I felt like a break from the beers, so I went to see “American Splendor” in the cinema, about the life and story of Harvey Pekar, writer of the underground comic the film is named after. It was a really good film, lots of comedy and real life moments, and one of the first good films I’ve seen in a while out here whilst sifting through the summer release garbage.
One more day out here and then I’m smuggling myself back over the boarder and down the West Coast.
Loads of pictures have been uploaded ! There a little bit out of order right now, but I can fix that at a later date.
Note that the Yellowstone park pictures have been put into a seperate album
Onwards I ventured, with Erwann my new Swiss companion, to the town of Bozeman in montana. The idea being to try and find someway of getting to Yellowstone cheaply. The question was answered almost as soon as I got there and met up with Tanja – another Swiss companion – who was also looking to get into the park. The three of us hired a car from Rent-a-Wreck and the next day drove into Yellowstone park for 3 days.
Around the park we saw many beautiful hot springs (which smell bad and made me feel ill one night), some waterfalls and a big canyon. The first night I spent in the tent we had and almost froze to death ! Forgot it got colder up north, and only had my sheet sleeping bag… The other 2 night were spent in the luxurious comfort of the Dodge Neon we had hired, which was comfier and slightly warmer. Just like the Reading festival experience, only without the music and fun. I saw lots of wildlife, but no Moose or Bears. We did have a close encounter with Bison though that was fun and scary – we detoured away from them fairly sharpish.
Photos uploaded soon I hope – I only have 9 shots left on my camera ! I think Yellowstone will make a seperate album – lots of nature shots with me grinning in them coming soon…
After the park, we returned the car and boarded a Greyhound bus – and 16 hours later I find myself in Seattle – tired as hell after four crappy nights sleep in a row. My bed should be ready now, so it’s time to jump off the internet and under the sheets for a mid-morning power nap. More from my advenrtures in the west coast land of java and rock sometime soon !
Boulder was a sunny fun outdoor-tastic time of lovelyness 🙂
I went hiking around the Rockies and shit myself whenever I saw a “warning : bear / lion country” sign. On my lst day I went a little off-trail and into a climbing / bouldering uphill section, which looked like a haven for lions. Eventually I paniced and joined the main trails again !
Nightlife was pretty cool too – found some bars and played some pool. Boulder is a very studenty town, so has some really cool bars, shops and lunch spots.
Next stop was the Black hills to see Mount Rushmore. Getting there involved an overnight Greyhound with the entire contents of Wyoming insistute for the terminally odd – lots of talking and conversations that made no sense. One girl inparticular ran on the bus to “hide” from 2 guys, and then when we stopped for gas in the middle of nowhere, she never reappeared… oddball.
Finally I made it to Deadwood hostel, from which I took a tour out to Mount Rushmore (not that big), Crazy horse memorial (will be massive, when finished in 1,000 years ish) and Custer Park. The tour was great and really good fun. Then today cam bike riding – a 14 mile trek around the Black Hills which concluded with a side-trip to Deadwood cemetary, where I saw the graves of “Wild Bill” Hicock and Calamity Jane.
Apparently deadwood is the home of these Western figures as well as many others (Wyatt Erpp, etc…) but now it’s just a big gambling hole in the mountains. Free blackjack lessons tonight though – I need to get into form for Vegus next month ! Next stop should be Yellowstone – but with forest fires and no public transport going into the park, I’m not sure how I’m gonna get there !
[Note : no new photos due to crappy internet terminals – might have to wait until Seattle at this rate]
Santa Fe was beautiful but touristy. I would recommend everyone to see the town and it’s museums, but eat light / supermarket food and buy sovernirs elsewhere !
An overnight greyhound got me into Denver, which paralleled with Atlanta in that it was a nice enough place, but not much fun. I did want to travel to see Idaho springs or other nearby sights, but my desire to keep moving forward took me today into Boulder, which from first sights seems beautiful and scenic. I think some long mountain treks await me, and hopefully some good drinking !
In other news I have started to read about Russian / St Petersburg history instead of just reading trashy novels. Some sort of need to learn stuff apparently… I’ll see how long this academic streak lasts !
Regarding Austin – I like the nightlife, I like to boogie. Well, actually I did more drinking and not much boogie-ing, but nightlife in Austin was $1 beers and lots of live music. Not much GOOD live music, but I may have been frequenting the cheaper joints so what did I expect 🙂
I spent 4 good days in Austin, the last day of which I spent in an outdoor natural spring / pool, Barton Springs. There I aquired travel compaions with a car for the next few days, and a moderate amount of sunburn ! In the company of James and Chrissy we drove West from Austin to get out of Texas and into New Mexico.
It turns out Texas is BIG though, and we just made the New Mexico border by sundown, and found a spot to camp – an outdoor lake surrounded by large bushes and a few isolated campsites. It was beautiful and full-on back to nature. I honestly don’t remeber being anywhere so remote and peaceful in my life.
We carried on through various state and national parks / forests, seeing bat caverns and ancient indian cave dwellings, and moved on through Alberquerque into Santa Fe.
Here my car companions and I will be parting – they are heading West to California and myself North into the Rockys. I am feeling happy but quite travelled out ! I think I will try to book some 3-4 day treks around the Rocky mountains to keep myself busy and see more of nature, which is where the US has really impressed me so far.