Friday, August 21, 2009

Road Trip: The Western Coast - The Beauty and the Majesty

Today we travelled far, and did little else, but it was nevertheless a good day of beauty and friendship. We woke early to begin our journey, knowing that we had at least eleven hours of driving ahead of us. Late the night before the lights had gone out in a scheduled power outage and they were still out when we woke. I had taken a shower the night before, but for the others this meant a shower in the dark, and for all of us it meant a difficult time making sure we got all of our stuff.

After packing and taking our showers, we got in Tyler’s car, myself driving, and began our journey northwards along the 101. We knew that we could get to our destination faster on the 5, but on a road trip the point is the journey, not just the goal.

The long forest roads which wind along the west coast of American give testament to both the majesty of nature and the ingenuity of man, and both these give testament to the glory of God. The California and Oregon coastlines are spectacularly beautiful, tall emerald trees towering on either side of the black ribbon of highway, and from time to time you will emerge from the thick trees to a gorgeous sapphire sea, the sun glinting off the faces of the waves and white caps dancing in the wind. Dotted along this coastline are countless seaside towns, and occasionally a true city. As beautiful as these places were, I can’t say I would want to live in one. I love the chances living in a populated area gives me to meet new people, as well as the many activities possible (such as taking classes from community colleges). It was in one of these towns, some time before we reached Oregon, that Tyler and I switched places as driver, for he wanted to drive. Tyler enjoys driving on highways, and he stayed as driver for the rest of the journey.

Our journey was slowed by the sheer amount of construction being done on the 101, which often slowed or stopped our forward progress. Seeing this, I couldn’t help but contemplate the massive amount of work we have to put in just to keep our civilization at level, holding back for one more day the forces of entropy. The contrast of this fact to the powerful resiliency of the forests and animals that surround them, their kind having survived the disasters of countless eons by the versatility of genetics – truly awe inspiring. That which God builds endures. Also inspiring awe, and terror, were the roaring gusts of wind that would suddenly shoot across the road and push the car aside.

We finally arrived at the house of Tyler's grandfather, a charming and gregarious old man. He introduced us to his girlfriend, who cooked us delicious meatballs and spaghetti, served with salad garlic bread and a sweet red wine.

They have only one bed for us, which Tyler is taking, and they also bought an air matress for us to use. We ran into a few hitches when pumping it up, however, because they had bought a pump that only plugged into a car charger. Tyler and his grandpa ran out to get the right pump, and when they brought it back Nate pumped it up to a nice plump size. Immediately after this, Tyler plopped town hard onto the matress, keys in pocket, and gashed a big puncture in it. Thanks to the wonders of duct tape, however, we were able to plug the leak - hopefully it'll hold the night. In theory two of us can sleep on it, but it's a little small so I'll take the couch.

And that, really, was our day. Our journey ultimately took us about twelve hours, and along the way we spent some time conversing, but mostly we simply sat in silence, enjoying the scenery and each other’s presence.