Monday, October 18, 2010

Day 4 Medford to Sacramento: Shasta Ain't Just a Discount Soda

Day Four of the trip was memorable for a couple of reasons...

1) We saw unexpected wildlife

2) We got a slight preview of terrain to come.

3) We encountered a mountain named after a beverage.

4) We unexpectedly saw a totally incredible achievement of engineering.

5) We ate at the most bizarre of the Triple D locations

Just after we crossed the border into California, we stopped at a rest stop where a river ran along one side.
It was definitely in the top 5 prettiest rest areas. Well, we were sort of strolling around and enjoying the scenery, and I noticed this black cat run through the brush, and into the bushes. I even exclaimed "Oh look! A Cat!" Somewhere along the line here, I realized that the cat I saw looked suspiciously un-cat-like, and then I though even deeper and realized that it was pretty unlikely that a cat would be living in the bushes alongside a river in Northern California. I sort of made a quick turn and headed quickly in the opposite direction, dissuading the TM from seeking out the aforementioned cat.

I'm starting to understand why Pepe le Pew was always so fucking confused about chasing that dumb girl cat around. Cats and skunks are hard to differentiate when you have a rip-roaring cold. It was during Day Four where my sense of taste started fading in and out. It was also during day four when I could have filled a bucket full of phlegm if I'd had a bucket. It was gross.

I digress...

I think this is a good time to point out that the sense of smell is underrated. Not just because it helps you taste your horseradish potato chips. For the rest of the trip we detected an alarming number of skunks on the roadways of our beautiful country.

As we continued to drive, I started noticing unfamiliar signs. Things like 6% Downgrade Next 8 Miles. I started feeling how sluggish our truck could be when going up a steep hill for miles at a time. I started to feel edgy (no pun intended) when we went around curves and the ground gave way to my right or left.

That's right... We'd entered some mountains. Let me just say that I don't like driving in the mountains. I don't like the idea of brakes being so integral. It makes me nervous. Little did I know that these mountains were like a sneeze compared to the hurricane we'd encounter later. It did afford some pretty unsettling views. Here's us driving, literally, into the clouds:

Shortly after our first major brush with the mountains, we can around a clearing and low-and-behold there was this big fucking mountain just sitting there, like a giant pimple on the chin of a pre-ProActiv Jessica Simpson.
I was all "What the hell is that?"

She was all "I think that's Mt. Shasta."

I was all "They named a mountain after that shitty drink they sell at K-Mart?"

She was all "Yeah".

Well... that might not be the most accurate transcript, but there was a lot of joking about the name of the awesome Mt. Shasta. All kidding aside, it was exceptionally pretty.

As we were passing Mt. Shasta and going past Lake Shasta, we started to see signs for the Shasta Dam, so we decided to have our picnic lunch (including apples) at the dam herself (Her? is a Dam a "she"? I know a Dame is a she, and a Damme is a she, but is a Dam?) I'd vaguely heard of Shasta Dam before, which after seeing it in person seems almost embarrassing. That place is UN-BELIEVABLE. It's freaking enormous. It's... I mean...

I learned that Shasta Dam (where they make the soda) is the 2nd largest Dam in the United States, second only to the one those giant beavers made in the creek behind our house.

It was really, really pretty at the dam, and also the perfect location for a dam picnic.

It's a little weird to go from discussing the special picnic at the special dam to talking about another meal, but after we left the dam, the drive to Sacramento was nothing all that interesting.

The Triple D restaurant we planned for this day was the one that I anticipated the most anxiously, the Squeeze Inn. I can't really explain exactly why in a coherent way, so I'll just provide you the link to the segment on the show.

Got the idea? Yeah... It was pretty much exactly as the show portrays it. Burger. Cheese. MORE CHEESE. Cheese skirt. Insanity.

Was it delicious? Yes. Was it something I could eat regularly? Hell no. I felt like I'd eaten a balloon after my HALF a Squeeze with Cheese. It was daunting. I told myself that I had to try it, and really the skirt of cheese was worth the experience. Was it the best burger I've ever had? No.

The TM gave it a 6 out of 10. She loved the cheese skirt, but felt the rest of it was pretty good, but not great. She did make the good point that the atmosphere was lacking a little. Probably more than it used to be. I gave it a 7. The burger may not have lived up to the hype, but yeah... not even the 3rd best place we ate on the trip.

After the dinner at The Squeeze Inn, we took a leisurely drive to the movie theater and watched The Social Network. I liked it a lot. TM hated it, but she tolerated it because I didn't protest her smuggling a sixer of Fat Tire Beer into the theater.

That pretty much wraps up Day 4. Oh... One other thing..

Did everyone know that California performs vehicle inspections on every car entering the state in order to regulate agricultural importing. I found that very interesting. The guy was very fast and friendly, but still... Like... it might be a problem to bring in Oregonian bananas? That's a weird place, that California.

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