I’ve been visiting the USA for a few weeks now. Home is San Diego, California, but my twin sister Randi lives in Portland, Oregon. I have a bunch of old friends strewn along the California coast, so it seemed like a good idea to drive up to Oregon instead of flying. California and Oregon are both beautiful states, so the 1,095 mile (1,762 kilometers) drive is quite enjoyable. The weather was great, so we could see Mount Shasta, Mount Hood, and Mount St. Helens very clearly. It kinda reminded me of all the times I’ve seen mountains in East Africa, but without the annoying tour guides!
I think Portland (and Oregon as a whole) really has their stuff together; recycling is easy and efficient, public transit is pervasive and cheap (sometimes free), bicycle commuting is encouraged and bikers have lanes all over the city. Portland’s motto is, after all, “the city that works” (a google search for that reveals that Chicago is too…). Social services for the unemployed seem to be pretty good too: I hear it’s pretty easy to get on food stamps, and the state does fairly intuitive things to give people work. For instance, you’re not allowed to pump your own gas in Oregon.
I’m so used to the routine of pumping my own gas that gas stations were a bit awkward when I first drove into Oregon. The first one we stopped at was pretty busy, so we sat and waited for a bit, unsure whether the rule was hard and fast, or more like a rule of thumb. We saw a bunch of people outside their cars, and all the attendants seemed to be occupied, so we just got out and pumped our gas. As we drove away one attendant spotted us and said, “It’s not self service.” Haha, welcome to Oregon! Oops!
We’re in Campbell, CA right now, and the odometer has rolled over twice + 67 miles so far, a grand total of 2,067 miles (3,326 kilometers). We’ve got another 500 or so miles to go tomorrow, then we’ll be back home in sunny San Diego. The home stretch has the potential to be terrible, because the morning and mid-day sun will be right on us, then we’ll get stuck in the rush hour Los Angeles traffic.
Anyways, my vacation is coming to an end so I’m starting to think a lot about work and friends in Nairobi. Adios, muchachos. See you soon!