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With tips for Fido-friendly travel, road trips on a budget, and much more, PlanYourRoadTrip.com is our favorite new trip-planning website.
|BrooklynHilary on the Road: Days 6-8 Portland, Oregon to San Francisco, CA|
|Written by Hilary McHone|
|Tuesday, 16 June 2009 03:53|
On her way back home our Fiesta Movement blogger Hilary McHone, aka BrooklynHilary, decided to wing it. Here's her online journal.
A great thing about bars in Portland, I was told (and that night experienced) is that they're required to serve food--and it's often very good food. Although I am not a vegetarian, I was impressed to hear that bars are also required to serve some sort of vegetarian option. So I had a nice, fresh salad and some bratwurst bites for dinner and was wholly satisfied! I topped off my Portland experience the next morning with coffee at Stumptown, where I met up with another fellow Fiesta Agent, Steve Ouch and his wife, Cherry. Steve was one of the agents I'd picked out at the very start as being someone I'd like to meet. He is a children's book author--his recent book SteamPotVille is worth checking out! As expected, he is a great guy and I opted to wander around a bit with him and Vinh for a couple hours before heading out of town.
What was my next stop going to be? After only a couple hours on the road, I knew I wasn't going to get very far. I needed to sleep. I have a book called Hostels U.S.A., by Paul Karr, that I dug out. Surely there would be a couple options. There were. My first choice was the Redwood National Park Hostel in Klamath, CA. It sounded like it had an amazing view and it had a couple beds still available. The downside was that it was a bit farther than I wanted to go and it didn't have WiFi. Instead, I opted for the Ashland Hostel in Ashland, Oregon.
I've experienced many hostels in other countries, but only in the last couple months have I tried them in the U.S. The first one was the Route 66 Hostel in Albuquerque, New Mexico. I had arrived there late at night and wasn't sure about the area, but ended up with a sweet little room all to myself for $25, with WiFi included. It had done the trick. When I arrived at the Ashland Hostel, I was a little frustrated that the promised WiFi was unavailable, but then resolved to use the place for what I really needed--sleep. I took a bunk bed in a room for $28 and, although there could have been several of us in there on another night, I ended up having it all to myself. I fell asleep early and ducked out in the morning before anyone else was up. It served its purpose.
When my trips are winding down, I tend to really want to get back home. It would be a long drive, but I decided I'd head all the way back to South Pasadena that day. I had written a status message on my Facebook page saying I hadn't decided whether or not I'd be stopping in San Francisco. To my surprise and delight, my online friend, Micah Hammac, sent me a note expressing that I was welcome to stay at his place and that the "Hammac Hostel" was sure to be a more pleasant experience than the night before. If I stayed with him in Vallejo it would mean meeting someone new, a shorter drive that day, and the ability to take the Pacific Coast Highway from San Francisco to Los Angeles the next day--a drive I'd never experienced before.
I only had to think about it for a couple minutes before deciding to take him up on his offer. I was within an hour of his place and didn't want to impose on him so quickly--I told him I'd stop somewhere to work for a couple hours before "checking in". He insisted that I could work just as easily there and that he'd provide coffee too. It was hard to argue and, frankly, I didn't want to! I drove to his house, used his couch and his wi-fi for a while, and then felt relaxed enough to hang out, socialize, and grab a bite to eat.
It was Tuesday, which meant it was Locals Night at Oxbow Public Market in Napa, just 15 minutes from where we were. At Oxbow Market, you can get wine, cheese, spices, produce, ice cream, coffee, baked goods, and more. On Locals Night, many of the places have specials. Micah and I went to Taylor's Automatic Refresher, where their gourmet blue cheeseburgers were half price--the burgers plus a couple of beers ended up costing less than $20. From there we went to Ritual Roasters, where Micah's housemate Josh made us each a beautiful and delicious macchiato.
Later, back at home, we all enjoyed some wine and took some fun photos with my "Fauxtobooth" and Micah's collection of props! The next morning, Josh made us a delicious breakfast with local eggs and veggies. I signed the Hammac Hostel Guestbook (I thought he was just being funny about calling his house a "hostel", but many people had come through before me) and said goodbye to my new friends. As I drove away, I thought about how many great experiences I've had by being flexible in my plans and saying "yes" to opportunities. This stop was one of the highlights of my trip and I'm sure that I'll return for another visit in the near future.
Next up--my beautiful drive along the Pacific Coast Highway!
Be sure to check out the high-resolution images from Hilary's Ford Fiesta Movement adventures in her Automotive Traveler image gallery "Agent #41."