Wednesday, February 17, 2010

850 miles

Over the weekend, my children and I drove from San Francisco to Seattle and I won't mince words: It was miserable -- wet, monotonous, endless. Next time, we're flying. If not for audiobooks, I think we would have turned around at Eugene. Old Man and the Sea -- huge hit. My Antonia -- less of a hit, but tolerated. It's not really a boy book. Here's a passage in which the narrator recalls the bread Antonia's immigrant mother baked:

I remember how horrified we were at the sour, ashy-grey bread she gave her family to eat. She mixed her dough, we discovered, in an old tin peck measure that Krajek had used about the barn. When she took the paste out to bake it she left smears of dough sticking to the sides of the measure on the shelf behind the stove, and let this residue ferment. The next time she made bread, she scraped the sour stuff down into the fresh dough to serve as yeast.

Today, of course, we call this a starter, and "sour, ashy-grey" bread is very fancy. 

We love Seattle. In addition to touring the Ballard Locks with cousins and watching GI Joe: The Rise of the Cobra with friends, we've eaten much delicious food. Highlights: The chicken liver and kimchi fried rice at Joule, and Tilth's butterscotch pudding, which actually tasted of Scotch. 

Today, unfortunately, we have to get back in the car. 


  1. Good luck to you. The Incredible Journey is a good one, but that won't help you now.

  2. Next time try a train! Way more comfortable than a plane. My husband and I did Cleveland-Seattle-San Fransisco and back to Cleveland for our honeymoon. 3 days, 1 day, 3 days on the train. Usually at the end of a vacation I'm worn out and stressed from the trip back, but the train ride was calming. Get a sleeper car and decompress. If you can afford the time it's the way to go.

  3. The train always sounds like such an adventure, until you find out that it leaves Cleveland at 3am. The train station at 3am with small sleepy children is not an adventure I wanted to have! I hope I get to try it eventually because I think my kids would really enjoy it.

  4. I hate flying and three years ago I tried to find a train I could take from NY to Phoenix. I've done 3 days on the train before (sitting up the whole way) from LA to NY. That was grueling in its own way. Unfortunately, a sleeper car for one passenger cost more than airfare for all three of us. I think train ridership is down so far that it's considered a luxury now.

  5. It's such a quick and painless plane trip that it really is worth the money not to do that drive. I live in Seattle and love that SF is our little hour-and-a-half-away weekend destination. Of course, not that we ever go...just knowing it's there.

    The Locks never fail to entertain. I love an excuse to go out there.