Oregon Trail – Back to SoCal

Our drive back to California was fun, tiring, adventurous, tiring again, and every other emotion you can imagine. Since we started driving around 7 or 8ish, it was already dark on the road. Like I mentioned before, the only lights that exist in Oregon are probably your headlights. Driving in the fog and in the snow was challenging but Dasom and I took it easy just to be safe. (Thanks Dasom for encouraging me to drive safely! No sarcasm intended.)

We wanted to take a picture with a sign that said, “Welcome to California!” or “Goodbye Oregon!” I don’t think we ended up seeing either of those signs. We were so attentive to the side of the road just so we could take a picture with it. Too bad it didn’t work out!

Majority of the time when were driving, there were no cars around us. We spontaneously decided to pull over to the right of the road and play in the snow! It was exciting and nerve wrecking to do that! We were confident that the snow was thick and sturdy, so we  took action to step on the foot of snow on the road. But once we stepped into the snow, we sunk in and screamed because it was unexpected that we would go deep down into the snow. Then we went ran across the freeway to see more snow and of course sunk into the snow again! Running across the freeway in the dark was scary but so much fun with all the adrenaline.

Again, we were back on the road! We pulled over to a gas station and found out that we were in a city called Weed. Who knew that a city named Weed existed! Dasom and I googled the city to learn more about it. I must say it was interesting because there’s Weed Elementary. Check out what Wikipedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Weed,_California) has to share about the city! The picture below is similar to the one on Wikipedia. You can even see the gas station on Wikpedia!

At one point while Dasom was driving, I was asleep here and there a lot. Whenever I randomly woke up from my nap, I said to myself, “I got this. I’m awake. I’m awake! I’m a…..zzz…..” Dasom started to get tired as were getting closer to San Jose so I took the wheel and brought us safely back to San Jose around 6:30 in the morning. Praise God for making it alive! We arrived at Yesie’s place and knocked out.

Once we woke up in the afternoon, we were yet again home alone. We got ready for the day and packed our bags just in case we wanted to leave that day to head back to SoCal. Most of our friends were busy since they were working or had already made plans, so Dasom and I were left alone for our own adventure. We wanted to go to Honey Thai which my friend’s friend’s dad owns the restaurant. It got so many good reviews on Yelp and we were eager to check it out. But! They were closed when we wanted to go which was around 3PM. We Yelped another Thai restaurant and went to Siam Thai  instead in San Jose. It also had positive ratings. Thai food can never go wrong, well at least not yet. Dasom got the Drunken Noodles and I got the usual Pad Thai noodles. Everything was delicioso!

After our late lunch, of course Dasom and I didn’t have a plan of what to do next. We spontaneously decided to just go back to SoCal for home sweet home. On our way back down, Dasom said that there used to be a sign that said, “Puppies on Sale!” The last time she saw that, she pulled over and saw a box of puppies and was in love with them. So we were on the hunt to see puppies on sale as we were driving but ended up finding no puppies for sale on the road. On a brighter now, we saw a beautiful sunset.

Our 6 drive back to SoCal consisted of blasting to Kelly Clarkson and passionately singing to Celine Dion’s song. We definitely had a long kareoke session for free in the car and aced all the songs! Anyway, we were getting close to LA and that meant we were about an hour away from Orange County. I wasn’t ready to arrive to my destination yet. So I told Dasom that we should check out Diddy Riese! It was Dasom’s first time trying Diddy Rise and she definitely enjoyed it! We both got an ice cream sandwich and a dozen cookies all for less than about $5! They have good and very affordable cookies and ice cream!

Our ice cream sandwich energized us more and we were ready for that last hour to drive. We continued our karaoke session and next thing you know, we were at my house! We got to my place sometime after 11PM and unloaded my luggage from her car.

Afterwards, Dasom and I stood in front of my house and she said, “So…” and I responded, “Ok, see you later!” That was that of our road trip.

The end.

Actually, not the end just yet! Even though I’ve mentioned Dasom a lot in the past several posts, there’s still more to know about her! Here’s the Q&A from Dasom:

1. What’s your name?  The Psalm.
2. How do you know Tina? We met in Oregon.
3. What do you spend most of your time doing? Dreaming.
4. What are 3 random facts about yourself?  I enjoy reading, fluorescent-lit dinners, and short walks on the beach.

Officially, the end.

Oregon Trail – First and Last Day in Oregon

Next morning, we Yelped places to eat in Portland. We went to downtown Portland which was similar to San Francisco and LA with the one way streets and the difficulty of finding parking spots. Yelped suggested us to go to Mother’s Bistro since it had 4 stars with more than 700 reviews. The restaurant was very homey, service was prompt and friendly, and of course the food was scrumptious! I ordered a brisket,  melted cheese sandwich called Mother’s Reuben. Dasom was craving french toast so she got Crunchy French Toast. Dasom’s french toast was different from any other French toast that I’ve ever tried. It had cornflakes on top of the french toast which actually added more flavor and texture to it than normal French Toast.

We asked our waitress if she had any suggestions of what we should do around the area. She said to drive down several blocks and make a right turn into a shopping area. We took her suggestion and was on our way to go shopping after we ate. Somehow we missed the turn and just kept driving straight. As we kept driving straight, we saw a sign that said, “Puttick’s Mansion,” and immediately followed the sign. We were just curious about this masion.

My Mother’s Reuben. Yummy in the tummy indeed!

We asked our waitress if she had any suggestions of what we should do around the area. She said to drive down several blocks and make a right turn into a shopping area. We took her suggestion and was on our way to go shopping after we ate. We missed the turn and just kept driving straight. We saw a sign that said “Puttick’s Mansion,” and immediately followed the sign. We were just curious to see this mansion.

Driving straight to Puttick’s Mansion after missing the turn. Nature is everywhere!

We got to the top of this hill where Puttick’s Mansion was and found out that it was closed! Closed for renovation purposes. As we were leaving the main entrance, we saw some kind of construction/janitor type of worker by the mansion. We decided to talk to him and ask him what Puttick’s Mansion was all about. First he introduced himself as Fernando who worked for the city of Portland. He briefly shared that Mr. Puttick was a wealthy man who owned Portland’s main newspaper company. He was so wealthy that he bought a mansion and then died years later. Then his mansion turned into a museum. The end! After sharing that with us, we talked some more and we learned that Fernando is originally from South Central LA! What a small world!

Dasom in front of Puttick’s Mansion.

He decided to move to Oregon because he didn’t want his kids to grow up in an unhealthy environment even though he was not part of any gangs in LA. In addition to that, he said that Oregon is just a lot cheaper to live compared to California. It was definitely fun talking to him because he just had so much to share. He told us that we came to Portland at the wrong time because of the weather. He said to come back in the spring time when the weather and view is beautiful to experience. After talking to him, we decided to walk around the mansion in the rain!

Nature at its best by Puttick’s Mansion. *No Instagram filter implemented*

Cloudy day in Portland.

Afterwards, we went shopping! We had to take advantage of the “no sales tax” in Oregon. We found the shopping center that the waitress told us about. The center had stores like Gap, Levis, a store like Buffalo Exchange, Urban Outfitters, etc. At Urban Outfitters, there was an employee there and we found out that she’s originally from Long Beach! Small world again! She too moved because it was cheaper and loved the nature in Portland. Dasom and I took minor advantage of the “no sales tax” because there wasn’t much to buy.  We both just bought a belt from Gap on sale and with no sales tax. Little double whammy!

One set plan we had while we were in Oregon was to visit our friends! We have a friend named Aristotle who goes to a Catholic university in Mount Angel, Oregon. Our drive to Mount Angel was scenic and historical especially as we got closer to the university. Once we were in Mount Angel, we noticed that the community neighborhood was strong in Catholicism. We learned that the city was formed by saints therefore majority of the people there are Catholics. Aristotle gave us a tour of his campus and it reminded me of Harvard. Though I’ve never been to Harvard, I imagined Aristotle’s school to be the mini version of Harvard because it had the brick buildings with so much history to it.  Walking around his school was so peaceful and refreshing. Nothing is polluted nor are the buildings crammed, so it makes you want to do yoga or sit down and soak in the beauty of nature there. Random fact about his school is that if you’re a student there, you basically know all the students and staff because there’s less than one or two hundred students there! It’s definitely a close knit school. We were only there for a short period of time because he had to get going for a meeting at school.

Another friend we wanted to meet up with was Ylai (pronunciation: eee-ly). She goes to Oregon State University and was an hour or two away from Mount Angel. Unfortunately, we weren’t able to meet up with her because we got lost in the rain. Driving in Oregon with the rain is definitely challenging because their street signs are not quite visible. The lights there, they don’t really exist except your car headlights. We drove around for so long and decided to give up and pull over to a gas station. By this time, it was around 6 or 7PM, meaning dinner time. We got some hot water from a gas station and had cup of ramen again in the car. For dessert, we had Cuties from Costco. While we were having dinner, we were talking about what we should do next.

We were not planning to spend another night in Oregon because it was just not part of the unplanned trip. So we thought, let’s just go back to NorCal! Once were done eating, we changed into comfy clothes and had to get Starbucks for the long drive. I must tell you that, anytime we wanted Starbucks, it was nowhere to be found. Here in SoCal, there’s a Starbucks for every ten minute drive. Don’t take Starbucks for granted!

Anyway, we found a Starbucks at a Safeway market. FYI: Safeway is like their version of Ralph’s. We got there right on time when they were close to closing. We quickly ordered, got our drinks, and were finally on our way back for another 12 hour drive back to northern California!

What happens during the 12 hour drive? Oh, many things! You shall find out in the next post!

Oregon Trail – Off We Go!

On our way there, it was so beautiful! There was fresh snow on the side of the freeway and a clear view of some snowy mountains. We just could not get over the scenery of the snow and the beauty of Oregon.

Beautiful cloudy sky. Snow on the side. Mountain ahead of us.

Whenever you’re on a long road trip such as this, there’s always genuine and valuable conversations that come out of it. I definitely enjoyed talking to Dasom and singing in the car with her. At one point while I was driving, Dasom took initiative of booking a room for the night in Portland. That’s right, we were on our way to Oregon with no idea of where to sleep. Thank God for iPhones because Dasom had a hotel app. With that, we were able to book a cheap motel for a night.

Once we were (somewhere) in Oregon, we had to get gas. When we pulled over to the gas pump, an employee from the gas station came out of the store and started walking towards our car. I was starting to get scared as he was getting closer because it was late at night and I had no idea why he was walking towards us. Right when he got to our car, I remembered how my manager from work told me that in Oregon there is no self-service at gas stations! They pump the gas for you! Dasom asked if she should tip him and I told her no because that’s their job. She ended up giving him a dollar and he was super surprised because I don’t think anyone ever tips them.

Afterwards, we drove some more and then pulled over to Carl’s Jr to get a little grub. We didn’t really eat at Carl’s. Dasom got some fries there and hot water. The hot water was actually for our cup of ramen to eat in the car! We thought ahead about bringing cups of ramen to our trip. It definitely came in handy and saved us money. Since we had dinner, we had to get dessert! We randomly spotted a donut shop and had to check it out. It was called “The Jelly Donut” and they definitely had some interesting looking donuts.

Donut stop for dessert at The Jelly

The donuts.

Unfortunately, The Jelly Donut didn’t have any jelly donut and the donuts were not anything special. I got the blueberry donut because I was curious how different this blueberry donut would be from the Duffin. This Oregon blueberry donut from The Jelly Donut ended up being just ok. Dasom and I were quite upset that they were just less of an ordinary donut.

After an upset donut experience, we were back on the road to get to Portland. We were only a few hours or less away from Portland.

We finally got to our ghetto motel which we expected it to be ghetto around midnight. Before we knocked out, we were trying to figure out what we were trying to plan our schedule for the following day. Our plan was not to plan. Basically, be spontaneous.

Here are some pictures of the ghetto part of our experience. It’s actually not that ghetto. I just like to say ghetto because we stayed in a motel.

Dasom in the rain at our ghetto motel parking lot.

Our ghetto and messy room. Packing and getting ready to leave for an adventure.

Stay tuned to find out what we did the next day spontaneously!



Oregon Trail – First stop, NorCal.

Note to reader: Oregon Trail post will have several posts due to lengthiness of story.

Last weekend’s crispy, cold wind and today’s heavy pouring rain all reminded me of my road trip to Oregon in January with my friend Dasom. Our main goal was actually to get to Canada but Dasom couldn’t find her passport. So we decided to drive up to Seatle, Washington. Unfortunately, the weather condition there was not looking too good because of a snowstorm. So then, we had to go for Plan C which was Oregon. The day we wanted to leave for Oregon, there was heavy rain which made us question our road trip. We thought to ourselves, “Ok, we still have to go somewhere at least! We’ve been talking about this road trip for so long!” We finally decided, “Let’s go to NorCal at least!”

We left Orange County on a Sunday at 4:30 in the morning and got to San Jose in the afternoon. Then we went to Emmanuel church for Sunday service and to meet up with some old friends (Connie and Sarah). After service, we went to Honey Berry which is a hang out spot in San Jose if you want a plain yet sweet bread called Rotti Bun. We also had some brick toast with chocolate drizzled all over!  At Honey Berry, my friends (Yesie, joined us too!) and I all caught up since we had not seen each other for the longest time. Since we had dessert first, we had to get dinner next. For dinner, we just went to a Korean food court. There, we laughed some more and simply had a good time of fellowship with each other.

We departed after dinner where Dasom and I went to another Sunday service at night and met up with more friends (Michelle).

While we were in NorCal, our friends were asking us, “What are you guys planning to do after this?” We told them, “Um…not sure.” They laughed because they thought we were joking but we really didn’t have a plan. We just wanted to go to Oregon at some point, hopefully.

Sunday night, we slept over at Yesie’s house. The next morning, we woke up with no one in the house! Yesie’s family was out at work, school, or doing errands. As Dasom and I were getting ready for the day, we talked about how it would take about 12 hours to get to Portland from San Jose. I said to Dasom, “So if it takes 12 hours to get to Portland then we would get there by midnight. If we want to get there by midnight, then we should leave….now!” Quickly, we started packing. Next thing you know we were on a 12 hour drive to Oregon!