All riiiight. At this point we're closing in on the end of the trip, which is nothing to celebrate but for the inevitable passage of time. For the moment we're in Las Vegas, and we may have to make an excursion out to Black Rock for a certain annual festival. But not having settled on that quite yet, we're moving from Vegas to San Diego, CA, mostly south along Route 15. Attractions along the way of this five and a half hour trek include the Mojave National Preserve, lovely San Bernardino and, of course, Riverside (home to Archie and the gang), where I think a burger and a malt is in order. Otherwise, San Diego will be the start of a long journey up the West Coast, perhaps with a stop off in Tijuana, assuming all our passports are in order.
In this area, there is a big cluster of cities with names I've heard many times in California conversations, such as Newport Beach, Anaheim, Long Beach, and on and on. Frankly, I don't know how which of these places we're supposed to be visiting or for how long. We seem to have Newport Beach and some other city highlighted on the map as planned stops, but I'm not making any promises about this area until we're further along in our planning.
I do know, however, that we'll be making what I consider to be a mandatory visit to Los Angeles. Hollywood, baby, a place that everyone seems to have something bad to say about. And I mean everybody. But I've never seen it and I don't care to make any judgments until I do. Besides, it's the biggest city on the West Coast, as well as home to a few old schoolmates of mine, if I'm not mistaken.
Next we're traveling northwest along the coast. The quickest way is Route 101, but not by too much - and besides, taking this highway would eliminate beautiful vistas like Santa Monica from our itinerary. So we'll take Route 1 on our way to Santa Barbara. This college/beach town, closely neighboring the vast Fort Tejon State Historical Park, seems an unnecessary omission, especially in the waning summer days of, at this point, early September. The drive is two and a half hours (three with traffic), but bound to be one of the more beautiful we'll see.
From there, Google Maps wants us to save time and travel along Route 101 to our next destination - again, a foolish idea for our purposes. So we'll head up the coast along Route 1 again, adding a mere forty miles but over three hours of drive time to the trip. This lands us in San Francisco, a place where I'm thoroughly convinced I will never want to leave. I need time to soak in everything in this liberal and progressive capital of the United States. And visits to Palo Alto on the way in and (possibly) Oakland on the way out just may be on the list of things to do.
The Napa Valley lies north, where we will visit and frolic like we're getting married in a week. After this we'll head back to Route 1 and trek further north, and it looks like we marked somewhere to stop shortly thereafter. God only knows what that is supposed to indicate.
But here, things are winding down. We'll marvel at the long Pacific Coastal Highway, camping out for a night or two on our way to Eugene, Or. This whole big leg, from San Fran into the Napa Valley and up the coast, covers a whopping 715 miles and more than 15 hours behind the wheel. As I mentioned, We'll tackle it at a gradual rate, but Eugene seems an intelligent stop along the way, especially since school at the University of Oregon will be back in session at that point.
But it may not be necessary. After all, Eugene is a mere two hours and 105 miles north on Route 5 from our next, and final destination... Portland. Once we're here, our trip has been completed and it will be time to settle in. Ideally, we'll already know where we'll be living and where we'll be working. And thus, our fantastic voyage will be complete.

Sorry if these "Route" posts got a little tedious, but now that these are written, I'll be able to link back to them in future posts for reference. It's all in the name of convenience. And of course, writing these has helped me to identify areas where we need to brush up on planning.

But anyway, that's the route in its entirety. Leave comments if we're leaving any glaring omissions, which I'm certain we are.

-Tom Stanley

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