Mt. Shasta, from I-5 in Northern California

It’s been a rare sunny day in Olympia. And cold! Four months of living in the Bay Area has made my blood thin.
On the way up here, I was remembering the only other time I’ve ever been on I-5 between Oakland and Oregon -- tail end of what was probably the most miserable trip of my entire life. I was seventeen, on the West Coast for the first time, hitchhiking south after the WTO protests in Seattle.
My companion and I were both broke, and sick from all the teargas and nerve-gas we’d been exposed to. I remember being cold, throat aflame, and with wet feet for days on end, walking and walking in the rain and finding it nearly impossible to get picked up. In the realm of small miseries, I can think of few worse than waking up in the morning and having to put back on the same wet clothes you were wearing the night before. I think it took 5 days to get from Portland to Oakland (including a disastrous detour on the 101), and I can’t recall ever being happier to make it somewhere.
Doing the same trip in reverse took about 13 hours, including a surreal stop at a casino and the requisite tire blow-out 15 miles before our destination (fortunately, the only roadside emergency I actually know how to deal with). Quite a pleasant trip, all things considered. And I’m happy for a change of scenery.
I still have to spend a few hours working every day to justify leaving town for nearly a week, but the rest of the time is mine to explore, think about food, and spend with old friends.