2009 Ford Flex: An Olympic Journey Day 1
February 22, 2010
On July 2, 2003, Vancouver was awarded the 2010 Winter Olympics. Roughly around that day I said roughly the following, 'I'm Canadian, Vancouver is only a two-day drive away and no matter what I'm doing in seven years, damn it, I'm going to the Vancouver Olympics.'
Well, seven years later I indeed departed for the Olympics. Thankfully, seven years later I was doing the job I so-hoped to be doing seven years prior. This gave me a car for the drive, which turned out to be our extra-long-term Flex that's obviously ideal for taking myself, my buddy and our respective signficant others up the coast to Vancouver. As the American customs officer noted on the way back, we also brought our living room with us (pictured, and don't worry, I could still see out the back).
Day 1: Los Angeles to Medford, Oregon
Total Miles: 688
My route would be simple: a straight shot up Interstate 5 until we hit Canada where it turns into Provincial Road 99. We would leave Saturday after the opening ceremonies and although it should only take two days to get there, we would stay in Seattle Sunday night to avoid an exponentially more expensive stay in Vancouver. In between, we'd stop wherever felt about right.
As always, California's central valley is extraordinarily dull ... and smelly. Seriously, we left the recirc on the entire time because there's a good 200-mile stretch that reeks of cow. However, it's also home to that icon of Denmark and soup, Pea Soup Andersen's in Santa Nella. I had previously been to their other restaurant in Buellton on my Subaru Outback drive, so I was eager to ... wait, why the hell would you care about pea soup? I took a picture there. Danish flag. Windmill. Neat-o.
Once past Sacramento, I was further north in California than I had ever been previously. I found it looked an awful lot like Illinois (green rolling plains, a few trees, more cows) until we reached Redding and the beginning of the Cascades. As you may have heard, weather has been mild in Vancouver and throughout the Pacific Northwest. As such, the bad weather I anticipated throughout the mountainous portion of the journey proved to be nothing but clear skies and sun. The coldest temperature we experienced was 49 degrees in Weed, California.
Speaking of which, I was planning on stopping in Weed just to take a silly caption contest picture, but turns out the darn place is at the foot of Mt. Shasta and one cool place to stop for gas. Both the imposing Mt. Shasta and its little buddy Black Butte (top picture) are volcanoes, as are all the prominent mountains in the Cascades. I've been watching a lot of How the Earth was Made recently on History Channel, so I found this all super cool. You probably don't, though, so here's a picture of the Flex at a Shell near some volcanoes in a town called Weed with my friend Chris doing his passengerial duties.
With no delays and a steady high speed, we had no problem making Oregon on Day 1. We could've gone further, but since I was the only person legally allowed to drive the Flex, I was ready to call it a day in Medford, Oregon, after 11.5 hours.
More from my Olympic Journey throughout the week.
James Riswick, Automotive Editor @ 48,687 miles