N. was actually leaving very early the next day to fly to Philly and see L. I woke up early too, but not early enough to see her off. It was still dark as I started my first full day of driving. I had decided to take a relatively scenic/long approach to at least the first portion of this cross country trip, and that started by spending as little time on I-5 as possible as I wended my way to the Pacific Coast highway (101). I've spent nearly no time whatsoever in Oregon and while I knew it was pretty, I was quite surprised by just how pretty it was. The back roads I took gave me access to copious and diverse views, from a giant field of pumpkins awaiting their Halloween or Thanksgiving fates to an even larger tract of land brimming with sheep (at least five times our own flock). I went from what seemed like valley lands to wooded mountains, the trees along the roads covered in a green moss I had yet to see in my travels around New York. An old man at a relatively remote gas station called me "kid."
Elk Meadow with hopes of catching a glimpse...but there were no elk, which I found unsurprising...you can't just randomly show up at an elk meadow for five minutes and expect elk! That's just not how the world works. But soon after getting back on 101 I was held up by a line of cars. At first I didn't understand what was happening. There were about five cars in front of me, and a van-like car on the other lane with flashing lights. I thought some sort of low-stakes accident? Then I realized that there were a few elk in the road, and that the vehicle with the flashing lights was a ranger blowing a horn and shooing them away. They tried to shoo me away as I was frantically trying to take a photograph of the animals, which were waaaaay larger than I really imagined! Unfortunately this is the best I could do before getting a finger wagging honk.
route 36. This was 140 miles of nothing but trees and mountains. I think I saw maybe a total of 20 cars during the time I was on this road. Some serious switch back curves and crazy ups and downs. No guard rails, almost no houses that I could see and pretty much no cell reception. Remote, I think, is a word you could apply to this section of my drive.