Monday, December 6, 2010
Who else played the game, Oregon Trail, when they were in school?  If you didn't, let me give you a brief explanation.  First of all, you put the floppy disk in the computer.  And by floppy, I quite literally mean flexible.  Do you remember those?  Okay, so you put the disk in, and the game starts.  You and your crew of peeps have to get from one end of the Oregon Trail to the other, without dying.  You must find food, avoid sickness, barter for things you need, ford rivers, and hunt.  Buffalo, preferably.  They give you the most meat.  Sometimes, you had to sacrifice your friends to avoid snakes.  But they understood, because on their game, you'd just drowned swimming across the river.  It was a good time.

Well, Oregon Trail may seem COMPLETELY irrelevant to our travels across the northwest... but it isn't.  According to my very informative road trip compadre, Oregon Trail ended in the Dalles of Oregon.  I didn't know that... because I never got to the end.  But that's beside the point.  Yesterday, we got up relatively early, and were packed and on the road before 8:30 for our 5ish hour drive from Portland to Spokane.

The drive took us through the mountains of Oregon (which, PS, were all snow covered and beautiful!), and then into the Dalles, which is an area where the mountains melt away into sloping fields (resembling Alpine Meadows, which I love) and a giant beautiful Columbia River floodplain.  Apparently, the Dalles can be quite the tricky area to drive, and between the snow and wind, it regularly becomes impassable.  Luckily, we had no problems.  I'm not sure our bright red Chevy Cobalt rental car can handle a whole lot of winter weather...

Our drive to Spokane was relatively uneventful.  We stopped for gas, and it turned out to be full service... and we couldn't figure out if Oregon is a mandatory full service station state, or if he was just there and we needed to tip, but we had no cash (Dad, are you reading this?), and he walked away too fast for us to give him one anyway...

Then we stopped at Walmart to get shampoo, and ended up getting some salami, cheese, bread, and apples for lunch (and a giant tin of popcorn.... impulse buy).  That is definitely my favorite car lunch ever.

We got to Spokane in early afternoon, checked into our hotel, and then headed down to the river for a walk.  We ended up walking along the river, and into down town for a while.  We stopped to get some hot chocolate, I oogled at an $899 copper mixer in Williams Sonoma (no, I would never ever spend that much money on a mixer, but it's still beautiful!), and we strolled back across the river to the car.  Keli had an interview dinner last night, so I finished my book (The Help, it was excellent, I highly recommend it), ate pizza, and watched football.  Our internet was having some issues, so I didn't do any productive online perusing.

This morning, Keli left for her interview at about 7:40, and I left just after her to go running!  Yesterday we stopped into a running store to see if they had any ideas where I could go.  Most of the many trails and paths are covered in snow, so they directed me to the Aubrey White Parkway, which runs along the Spokane river through a state park, and is usually plowed and dry.  I headed out there and it was BEAUTIFUL!!  I did take the Cobalt through some snowy streets to get there, and he did okay (I like to think it's my excellent snow/ice handling skills...).  I only ran about 2.5 miles because it was super-cold and I was really tight from sitting in cars and airplanes.  But it was hands down the most beautiful run I have ever been on.  There was snow everywhere (except on the road!), frosty evergreens, a river, mist, and deer!  I would have taken better pictures when I was running, but I didn't remember to bring a camera :(.  So I snapped a few with my phone on the way back to the hotel.  I saw 6, yes SIX deer while I was out there.  Okay, maybe 4... one pair could have been a double sighting (while running, and while driving), but I can't be sure, so I'm gonna go with six. 
Out the car door across the river...
So pretty.
It's kinda like the Blue Ridge Parkway, but with a river, and snow.
See those two little dudes at the top of the hill?  They have a path where they are standing that's flat.  Tricky.
These are the two that I might have seen twice... but who can tell, really...

After my nice little jog, I went back to the hotel, packed up all our stuff, ate breakfast (leftover bread and cheese... I think I'd make a good European), loaded up the car, and headed out.  I decided to hunt down the one Tully's coffee in Spokane.  Our trusty GPS guided me to the address, but Tully's was not there :(  I guess I'll just have to wait until Seattle for that one.  Instead, I went and got a pedicure.  I REALLLLY needed it!  I haven't had one since my surgery in August, and you could tell.  My toes are now Christmasy red with snowflakes!  Now I'm sitting in Starbucks waiting for Keli to be done interviewing so we can hit the road to Seattle.  We have plans to wee Pike Place Market, Fisherman's Wharf, and a few other things...


PS.  I just googled it.  Oregon does, in fact, have ONLY full service stations.  Good to know.  They also have no sales tax....  Good thing there's extra space in my suitcase!


About Me

I am a Family Medicine intern at a community hospital in Indiana, navigating the new world of being a physician. I am privileged to work in a field I love, where every day is a new and unpredictable challenge.
I am not only a doctor, but also a cyclist, runner, DIYer in the making, lover of the outdoors, traveler, and human.
Human, MD is a glimpse into the world of a young doctor who is just trying to stay true to herself through the grueling whirlwind of residency.


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