Visiting Mainlandia: Road Trippin’

I flew to the mainland last week to meet up with my sister, Linda, so we could help Meiling move to and settle in at the University of Oregon. Meeting Kaua’i for Meiling was nothing like love at first sight, and at the end of last year she returned to her old haunts in Portland where she acquired a bit of wealth to tide her over during the transition from high school and living at home to college and dormitory life.

When visiting anywhere, it’s always nice to find a pleasant reminder of home, even when visiting one’s “old” home. So finding a Snapple flavor called “Mango Madness” at a Vietnamese restaurant, Best Baguette, on the east side of Portland (Oregon) was both comforting and nourishing.

Snapple Mango Madness
Mango Madness (a flavor not available on Kaua’i)

My sister had driven up from California and picked me up at the airport the day before “Move-In Day” at University of Oregon. After we got Meiling packed up and moved into her dorm and settled, and said our good-byes, Linda and I started off on our road trip back to her home in Los Angeles, with stops at Crater Lake National Park, California’s Mt. Diablo State Park, Monterey, Carmel-by-the-Sea and Solvang. Most of these stops were at places that only one of us had ever seen before. And, as I had not seen my sister or my brother-in-law in years, this was a big visit for all of us.

Before we headed out of Eugene, Linda tossed me the keys, and in her words, offered to “overshare” driving for the first few days on the road. So, I took her to see Crater Lake, one of the last places our family visited before moving to Hawaii. On this occasion however, my sister and I drove around the entire crater rim in addition to stopping at the lodge and getting another look at Wizard Island, the little cone building in the crater, which was larger than I remembered.

North of the rim
North of the rim

Sorry, you won’t be seeing the fabulous photos I took in the park. You’ll just have to take my word for it that we were there, because my camera battery ran down and I left my charger at home. The pictures were fabulous though.

Our next stop was going to be Ashland, home of the Shakespeare Festival in Southern Oregon, but there were no rooms available because it was also “Move-In” week at Southern Oregon University. So, we charged on across the California border, and eventually found a room in Yreka. The next morning, after topping off the tank and eating breakfast, Linda and I headed for Mt. Shasta. As it was rather sad looking for lack of snow (there IS a drought on), we turned toward the coast to see Mt. Diablo (3,849 feet), and stayed overnight in nearby Walnut Creek. At one time, the summit of Mt. Diablo was the point from which all distances in California were measured.

At this place, a piece of Miocene Ocean Floor rests atop the valley in northern California, southwest of San Francisco.

After breakfast the next morning, we continued west to Monterey, where we cruised down Cannery Row, and feasted on fish & chips at The Britannia Arms. Then we headed out to Carmel-by-the-Sea, where I had hoped to meet a high school classmate, but that was not to be.

Frank Lloyd Wright House
Frank Lloyd Wright House

After a walk along the shore, we ate dinner and planned to watch the lunar eclipse from the balcony at the Briarwood Inn, but the marine layer obscured the view from Carmel, and our balcony was on the wrong side of the building as well.

Monday morning we piled our bags back into the car and headed for my sister’s home in Newbury Park, by way of Big Sur and Solvang, where I picked up a bucket o’ butter cookies to take home to Kaua’i, and some Danish pastries for my brother-in-law.

Arriving in Los Angeles a day ahead of schedule, we enjoyed a lazy day, without getting into a car for the most part, and dined out when my brother-in-law returned from work. He’s departing tomorrow for ten days on the road, so my sister wants to see him as much as she can before he leaves.

Yesterday, my sister took me out to Claremont to see the Scripps College campus; to San Marino to see the Huntington Library and Gardens and the homes Laura grew up in; and finally to the Craftsman masterpiece, Gamble House (as in Proctor &…) in Pasadena.

Gamble House
Gamble House

Today I plan to hike toward Mt. Boney, and will see my brother-in-law off at midnight. I still have one more day tomorrow in southern California, and then fly out early Saturday morning to return home to Kaua’i and family I miss so much.

It’s been a fabulous journey, but I’m ready to go home.

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