Caveat: A map of travels

Some people wonder what this giant trip I’m taking is all about.

I’ve written about is some, before, but I decided yesterday to make a map of the plan.

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I am currently in Denver, Colorado, so about 30% of the driving is done. Total trip will be more than 5000km of driving.

The dates are not exact – they are targets. Arthur is not riding along for the whole trip – he is flying some of the sections, and skipping some parts. This is because I have more people I want to visit than he does.

[daily log: walking, 1km; driving 1450km]

Caveat: Wyoming? Why, indeed?

I drove easter (er…, farther east) than before.

I arrived at my intended destination: my stepmother’s home in Colorado. My stepsister and her family live here too. Despite the “step” I consider these very important members of my family: they came to visit me in Korea, which can be said for very few people.

Some pictures from the drive.

Dawn in Utah (where I stayed in a cheap motel).

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I saw snow the entire day.

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Wyoming is … a bit monotonous. I never saw so many broken down trucks by the side of the road, though. I guess some combination of cold and bad luck?

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My goal.

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[daily log: walking, 1km; driving 870km]

Caveat: Low Key

Today was the official Thanksgiving holiday, but we didn’t really have a major celebration. Many of the people coming to this year’s annual Brosing-Lecomte get-together and thanksgiving feast were unable to make it here today due to travel or scheduling issues. So the great feast has been scheduled for Saturday instead of Thursday. That’s when we’ll roast the turkey (Arthur’s specialty) and do the other celebratory foods.

For today, we mostly relaxed. Juli and I took a long walk, in pouring rain, up to the tree farm and then down along the river, after seeing the Lee Falls up the Tualatin River a ways.

The house shortly after dawn, on a rainy, drizzly morning.

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The horses at the neighbor’s house were deeply unimpressed by our decision to go walking in the rain. They stuck to the barn.

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Walter the charismatic dog was unconcerned about the rain.

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We saw the waterfall. In fact, despite the pouring rain, the water level in the river is quite low for this time of year. The summer and fall have been dry, here.

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We saw a giant log blocking the Lee Falls Road. Good thing we were walking. This is Juli standing by the log.

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We had barbecued chicken for dinner.

Tomorrow some people might go into town to do some shopping. I have no interest in the so-called Black Friday.

[daily log: walking, 6km]

Caveat: Driving south and more of the same

My ferry arrived at Prince Rupert at around 2 am. I was the first vehicle off the ferry, so there was no waiting at Canadian immigration/customs. I rolled down my window, and a dour, mustached Canadian asked me if I had any firearms or drugs or alcohol. No on all counts, and

he asked how long I would be staying. I said long enough to be driving through. And that was the end of the interview – the easiest Canadian border crossing I’ve ever experienced. I think crossing as an “Alaskan” helps a lot – the Canadians are used to the fact that Alaskans need to go back and forth across their country for various reasons.

I got some coffee at a Tim Hortons, I got some local currency cash at an ATM, and I drove to the first rest area east of Prince Rupert, where I slept in my car until dawn. Starting at dawn, I drove east.

First there was rain. Finally the rain cleared, and I was in the snowy British Columbian interior.

Some pictures.

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I am now at a motel at Cache Creek, BC (the junction of route 97 and the Trans-Canada highway, AKA Route 1).

[daily log: walking, 0.5km; driving, 1200 km]

Caveat: At Kasaan

Kasaan is a native Haida village on the east side of Prince of Wales Island. Haida are the dominant tribe in southernmost southeast Alaska.

Juli, Keith and I drove over there today while Wayne and Arthur went fishing.

We walked around and took some pictures in Kasaan. Looking out over the harbor is a large, modern statue in the Haida style. The hats look almost similar to traditional Korean ones.

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There are a lot of totem poles in the old part of Kasaan village, a bit west on a nice forest path from the new Kasaan village.

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We had lunch at a little city park in Thorne Bay. That is the 3rd largest city on Prince of Wales Island. It is a strange town, as it appears the town planners were not brought along when the town was laid out.

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[daily log: walking, 3km]

Caveat: Climbing Sunny Hay

Sunny Hay is the most notable, highest mountain in the Craig area of west-central Prince of Wales Island. Actually, the name is Sunnahae, which is a native name. It's about 800m tall, and has a notable treeline near its top. It is the location of the main microwave and cellular towers. 

Wayne and I hiked up to the top this morning. Half the way up is an improved trail, an old logging road with gravel and boardwalks for boggy areas. The second half of the trail is mostly unimproved, and even hard to follow in some spots where the little flags on trees are missing or sparse. But we got to the top and back down. It was a substantial hike. I'll try to add some pictures later – I took a lot, but they're on my phone and I need to move them over.

This afternoon we had our planned "dinner party" at Arthur's. We invited many of the neighbors who have been so helpful during and since Arthur's accident, including Mike and Penny, who helped evacuate him immediately, and Richard and Jan, who have been supportive. Some people couldn't come, such as Joe, who is the one who made sure Art's boat was taken out of the water during his long absence, and Jeri, a nurse who has gone off to North Carolina, working for the evacuees from Hurricane Florence.

Arthur made smoked turkey, and others made and brought various things. It was good to see the community who have been so helpful. I didn't take any pictures from that – my phone's battery was low and I was maybe a bit shy to go taking everyone's pictures anyway – I'm better at taking pictures of things and places than I am at taking pictures of people.

[daily log: walking, 13km (with net elevation change of 800m up, 800m down)]

Caveat: The Flight To Oregon

The flights from Seoul to Seattle and then Portland presented some good "airplane window photo" opportunities.

Here is downtown Seattle, iconically recognizable.

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Here is the volcano Mount Saint Helens, just north of Portland, as we came in to land we went right over.

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Juli and Arthur picked me up at the airport, and we drove back to Forest Grove by an alternate route, avoiding a downtown traffic jam.

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Caveat: Reversal

This will be an automated post that might appear on this here blog thingy while I'm flying back to the US.

This here blog entry reverses the effects of an older blog post, seen here.

What I'm (maybe) listening to right now.

Tripswitch, "Strange Parallels (Koan Remix)." This type of music makes good airplane music, maybe – at least for me.

[daily log: walking, 4km; flying, a lot]

Caveat: Bureaucrats and a Skybridge

We had a pretty full day. We got up at 4:45 because we had to go to the VA facilities in Vancouver, north of the river, for a 7:30 appointment, and we had to avoid the worst traffic through Portland. The appointment was routed to the Vancouver facilities because it was the earliest appointment available with the team we needed to see. 

After several hours of appointments, we got an X-ray they wanted, and then we found out we had to go to the Portland VA center to fill out a form so the X-ray would go to the right place. Typical bureaucratic runaround…. Anyway, busy day.

At the Portland VA hospitals, they have a pedestrian skybridge that connects to the Oregon Health Sciences University, which shares the same hilltop location with the VA. Here is a picture of the skybridge.

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From the skybridge, you can see a bit of downtown Portland and the Willamette river.

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 [daily log: walking, 5km]

Caveat: Drivearound

I had a day off from riding along with Arthur to his appointments, because he didn't have any appointments. So I decided to go visit some of my other relatives and friends who are clustered in this part of the world. Actually, just based on that factor, I suppose that although I have never lived in the Portland region, it is nevertheless a kind of "hometown" for me. 

First I drove down to Eugene, which is actually a few hours, but I didn't mind – I enjoy road trips as long as they're not a requirement of my day-to-day life, and with not having a car in Korea, in fact I only do driving one week or two out of each year. So I headed down the west side of the Willamette Valley through McMinnville and Corvallis, and saw my aunt and uncle Janet and Bob – who are on my father's side and so unrelated to my maternal uncle Arthur, who is my main reason for this visit.

I enjoyed that visit, and the scattered fogs and periodic bouts of rain going down and back up the valley. I spent about 4 hours there, having coffee and talking, catching up on things. I really enjoy the company of Janet and Bob, and it's worth noting that they lived with us in Arcata when I an infant, and thus Janet was one of my first baby sitters, though I don't remember that as I was only an infant. 

I drove back up the east side of the Valley on I-5, through Albany and Salem and to Portland, where I met up with an old schoolmate Raven who lives there. We haven't in fact seen each other since high school, and in high school we were in different social circles so in fact we haven't interacted since grade school, but we were in the same class for two years in 5th and 6th grade. So it was interesting to sit and chat about such ancient times after so long. Then I drove back out to Forest Grove and met my cousin Jori (also on my father's side, my father's and Janet's niece from another Way family sibling, Freda). I had dinner with her and her husband at a Peruvian restaurant in Forest Grove. It was nostalgic to have Peruvian food, because when I lived in Long Beach I used to go to this Peruvian place with my coworkers that was nearby to where we were working on that big project in Costa Mesa. And I've always like Peruvian cuisine, which is hard to find in Korea. Go figure.

I was surprised to learn that my second cousin Philip (Jori's son, who is, incidentally, named for my father)  has recently become the proprietor of a pub in Forest Grove, which is a popular spot for students at the nearby Pacific University, which is where our family friend Juli (who I am staying with, here) has been a physics professor for so many years. So we had dessert (a chocolate creme brulee with strawberries) at the pub and chatted a little about how he's hoping to succeed with this new business venture. I was just impressed to think there is a relative of mine who owns a pub.

Here are some pictures.

Driving down the valley.

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With aunt Janet and Bob at their place.

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The hillside at Janet and Bob's place.

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Some impressively authentic Peruvian food. I had chaufa with some ceviche before that.

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My cousin Philip at the bar of his pub.

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A chocolate creme brulee with strawberries.

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[daily log: walking, 4km]

Caveat: there’s probably an app for that

My experience at Seatac passport control yesterday was surreally 21st century in character.
 
I was standing in line. And standing. A very long time standing. And then… one line manager official mentioned that those with "mobile passport" got to use an expedited line. I began wondering what this "mobile passport" might be.
 
So seeing as I was standing there with nothing to do, and I had a good airport wifi connection, I researched it on my phone's internet browser. Lo and behold, there was a "TSA-approved" app in the google play store.
 
I downloaded the app to my phone. I knelt on the floor and scanned my passport into the app. I stood against the wall and took a really bad selfie, and I loaded the pic to my phone and added it to the app. I checked a bunch of boxes on the forms in the app, possibly turning my soul over to the TSA. And voila, I got a QR code on my phone, which then I showed to the line official. "Oh, step right over there," he said, opening the little vinyl strap separating the lines. I only had to stand in line 5 minutes after that.
 
Perhaps the difference between Korea and the US is that at the Korean border, such automation (with accompanying surrender of privacy) is obligatory, and thus relatively painless, whereas in the US, such post-modern efficiencies always tend to be "opt in" which means that many others are left in the "slow lane."
 
[daily log: walking, 5km]

Caveat: because Korea exists in the future

I will go to the airport in a few hours and fly to Seattle later this afternoon.

I actually don't much enjoy flying. Who does? It's like a very laborious, slow-motion teleportation experience.

I've scheduled (pre-posted) the next few posts on this blog, in the event I'm too busy traveling or out of the loop in terms of internet access.

I'll land in Seattle "today" (June 6) at around 2 PM, I think. Which is to say, I'll arrive before I left, as normally happens when traveling from the ROK to the US. That's because Korea exists in the future.

I've activated facebook on phone, despite my misgivings about that app and company. I'll will use that tool for travel updates and staying in touch, too.

[daily log: walking, 3 km (mostly in the airports, right?)]

Caveat: The Recovery

Yesterday I spent most of the day on an airplane. Although there's not much to do on an airplane except eat, sleep, read, and watch things on the video, it still always feels exhausting to me. I think it's just the rarefied air and body's intuitive apprehension of its own displacement. It's slow-motion teleportation, and it's unpleasant.

So I survived. I ran away from the airplane as soon as I got back, and the arrival, in the chaotic Korean tradition, was weirdly efficient. I am now home. I am not feeling particularly motivated.

Here is a picture from Brisbane, where I spent the night Wednesday night.

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Actually, that was the first time I visited there. I thought Brisbane wasn't bad, as small cities go – it reminded me of many US second-tier cities – San Diego or Austin or Minneapolis for that matter. The one thing that was unexpected was that the downtown is actually rather hilly. I had this impression, because of the map with its meandering river, that it was probably flat, but that was clearly a wrong conception. In that way, it was like St Paul – it looks flat on the map, but really isn't flat at all. 

[daily log: living, 52years]

Caveat: Touristic Behavior

Today being my last full day here at my mom's house, we decided to do some tourism type stuff.

We drove down to the rainforest at Mamu (Wooroonooran National Park) where I walked a trail and saw some rainforest and some mountains and a river valley. It was beautiful.

Then we drove to the "platypus park" at Malanda, where I saw some platypi. It was the first time – in all my visits to Australia, I've never actually seen a platypus. So now I have.

Then we drove to the Hasties Swamp, where there were many migratory birds, and we came back to Ravenshoe via Herberton.

I took a lot of pictures, but they are a bit scattered and I need to go through them on my phone. Perhaps I'll post some additional pictures after I have gone through them. For now, here is a quick snap of the cute Herberton post office building as we raced by in the car.

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[daily log: walking, 4km]

Caveat: Do Not Run

I didn't see a cassowary today.

I thought I might, because I went on a drive and walked around the rainforest at a national park (Mt Hypipamee) about 30 km north of here for a while.

Cassowaries are type of giant, flightless bird, maybe a bit emu-ish. Apparently they are somewhat dangerous (there was a sign that said, "Beware of cassowaries: Do not run" – I guess if you run they will chase you).

The closest I came to seeing a cassowary was a group of German tourists who claimed to have just seen one.

I did see a forest turkey. Some random pictures, below.

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[daily log: walking, 4.5km]