trecc #1: portland to missoula

The first half-day of this TRECC (Terribly Random Excursion Cross-Country) already included two moments of interstate awkwardness. But believe you me, there have been plenty of others on this trip.

  1. When I stopped to get gas in Oregon, the scruffy fellow who appeared at my window as I opened the car door caught me a little off-guard. Did you know that you generally aren’t allowed to pump your own gas in Oregon? It’s true – but I momentarily forgot the rule. (The only other time I filled up in Oregon was my first day there, like 3 weeks ago.) Apparently this law provides jobs, which I guess I understand, but it still feels a little silly when the guy just takes your credit card and then pays at the pump. But the full-serve treatment doesn’t seem to cost any more than gas costs in neighborings states, so I guess the challenge next time will just be seeing how much I can get done during my stop. Could I rearrange my car? Write a letter? Take a nap?
  2. As soon as I hit Montana, the speed limits went to 75mph. Only I was in the mountains, so it was way curvy. I didn’t understand why I was allowed to go so stinkin’ fast, when I obviously needed to brake quite often. It wasn’t until I was a good 20 miles in that I remembered that Montana didn’t even have speed limits again until recently – and even now, I think “safe and sane” is more their style. It’s great – but you just gotta pay attention.

I crossed into the Mountain Time Zone and was in a total of four states within the first 11 hours of driving – not particularly normal outside of the little-bitty states of the East Coast.

And that should give you some clue as to my route. At this point, I’m actually driving straight along the top of the U.S. I’m also planning to be in Minneapolis for Sunday morning church(es). Of course, that could mean church(es) Saturday night and Sunday night, too, but we’ll see how it goes.

So today I headed from Portland up through Spokane – then through Idaho and across to, presently, Missoula, Montana. I’ll spend the night here then explore some universities tomorrow.

I didn’t find any good collegiate ministries to explore tonight, so I decided just to drive. Getting such a distance on the first day makes the rest of this week a little more elastic, and that’s good news.

However, the way I plan to proceed will involve balancing time, colleges I want to explore, and any college ministry activities I might get to visit. While I can’t do everything along the way (and can’t waste too much time in any one place), I’m hoping to do a few things on this TRECC. And like I said earlier, your suggestions are always appreciated!

Here’s the Mapquest map from Portland to Minneapolis, which I think is the same one my Garmin GPS is following. After that, I’ll probably be taking the most direct route possible to North Carolina. Although in both segments, I’m very open to (small) diversions from the planned route.

As for scenery today… absolutely gorgeous just east of Portland along the Hood River for miles and miles. It reminded me of when movies need a really scenic mountain/forest/river setting, usually ’cause somebody is going to get bear-chased or otherwise be in some sort of mountain/forest/river danger. Really beautiful route, though.

And snow up in the mountains of Idaho/Montana – piled up on the ground, not coming from the sky. March 30th is holding as the last day I saw falling snow.

Meanwhile, I’m rather exhausted, so I’m gonna go to sleep now. More on my sleeping arrangements in tomorrow’s update.

TRECC stats

  • Today’s T-shirt: Union University
  • Today’s states: 4 – Oregon, Washington, Idaho, Montana
  • Miles driven today: 551
  • Campuses visited today: 0
  • Total TRECC states: 4 – Oregon, Washington, Idaho, Montana
  • Total TRECC miles: 551
  • Total TRECC campuses: 0
  • Time left until start of College Metro in Wake Forest, NC: approx. 1 week, 6 1/2 hours

Written from a truck stop in Missoula, Montana

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