Tom's sister got married this past Saturday, so last Thursday we hopped in our rented Chevy Aveo and trekked northward to the Southern Oregon town of our youth...Grants Pass. Normally we'd be wont to fly there, but when I checked ticket prices a few months back, they were so outrageously expensive that we bit the bullet and drove. Renting the car for a week and filling the tank 5 times - even with gas prices what they are - only set us back about the cost of ONE plane ticket. Yick.
We made pretty good time on the way up - eleven hours, door to door. Still, eleven hours in a car is a long time, and so much of California is so...bleh. For being such a populous state, there sure is a lot of empty space along the I-5, and not very pretty empty space at that. Fortunately, we had some good music and comedy CDs to keep us entertained. Death Cab for Cutie's new album, Plans, is really quite good, and we were frequently doubled over listening to the Reduced Shakespeare Company (performing "The Bible: Abridged"), Lewis Black and Dane Cook. The Aveo chugged its way over the Grapevine and the Siskiyous, and by sundown we were breathing clean mountain air and basking in the beautiful green hillsides of GP.
It is so. Much. Nicer. Up there than it is in L.A.
Friday morning I took a short trip to Caitlin's for a visit. Usually when I go there I hang out alllllll day long, but we were on such a tight schedule for the weekend that I could only spare a few hours. Still, we managed to get a lot done in those three hours. I got to meet the brand new filly (48 hours old!) and help put her outside for the first time. I helped artificially inseminate a mare. I led the stallion in from the field to the barn and didn't get killed. I even got to ride; it was a short ride, but long enough to make my out-of-shape legs and butt sore the next day! I got to visit Kakki, who looks younger every time I see her, even though she must be nearly 40 by now. And I had a very good time hanging out with Caitlin, getting caught up on all the latest in horsey-land.
Friday afternoon/evening we went to a barbeque and visited with some of Tom's friends from high school. We were far away even from the sparse lights of Grants Pass proper, so we got to see the gorgeous night sky in all its glory. I swear it, there are no skies like Southern Oregon skies. The clear blue of the day or the star-filled black blanket of the night...it doesn't matter; it's unlike anything you can see down here. The last night we were there I saw a huge meteor streaking amid the stars, making a long arc all the way down to the horizon. So beautiful.
Saturday I had a baby shower to attend in the afternoon (It just happened to be scheduled for when I'd be in town! How convenient!), and then the wedding was in the evening. The ceremony was simple and nice, and it was great to meet some of Tom's extended family, particularly since he's already been subjected to almost all of mine. ;) Mom drove down to see me, so I got to visit with her a little bit at the wedding and then for a few hours the next evening as well. When all was said and done (and cleaned up), we were all pretty whooped Saturday night, but happy.
Sunday we rested, and then we braved Super WalMart to get prints made of some of the pictures I took the night before. WalMart is terrifying enough, but Super WalMart is in a league of its own. Double the real estate, double the hill people! Sure, it's hard to beat the low, low prices, but is it really worth the damage done to one's sanity to save a few pennies? I exaggerate, but I'm glad that I don't have too many opportunities to shop there. The prints did come out very nice, though. Yay for my kick-ass digital camera!
Sunday evening I met up with my mom at Sara's house. We sat around, ate Papa Murphy's take-n-bake pizza and delicious twisty bread sticks, listened to excellent music, and played with Sara's cool new camera phone. It was such a good visit, and it was as I was leaving there that I saw the amazingly big meteor. :)
Yesterday we slept until we woke up (quarter to eight...amazing how you can "sleep in" and still get up so early when you're used to getting up at oh-dark-thirty for work), packed our bags, bid our adieus, and braced ourselves for the return trip. I figured traffic would be bad on Labor Day, and it wasn't quite as quick a trip as the way up, but it also wasn't as hideous as I expected. There was an incident at a gas station that had me in quite a snit (I hate people...hate them so much), and I got cut off a few times by jackasses waiting until the last minute to change lanes (hate them), but Tom calmed me down, and the rest of the trip was pretty much without excitement. When we flung ourselves, road-weary and disheveled, through the door of our apartment, the cats were happy to see us, and in spite of how much we dislike L.A., it was pretty good to be home.