Tuesday, December 4, 2007

College Shopping

I'm resurfacing after a five-day family road trip dedicated to touring two more college campuses of interest to my daughter, Vienna. The three of us set out for Reed College in Portland and the University of Washington in Seattle, and we had a terrific time. Reflecting on the purpose of the trip, we enjoyed our tour of Reed most of all. A small liberal arts school, Reed is well known for its dedication to a well-rounded education based upon the classics. Yet the school attracts quirky students accustomed to charting their own courses through life. The campus is pleasantly funky, filled with odd and eclectic art pieces and happily serious students. I suppose our most lasting memory of the visit was the meta-board, a map to the coolest and most informative bulletin boards on campus. Prizing itself for attracting nerds (and known for its unofficial and satirically cheeky motto, communism, atheism, and free love) Reed just may be the perfect fit for Vienna.

Beyond the literal purpose of the journey, our trip also offered the Wood Family a chance to enjoy one of our favorite pastimes: long distance travel. Just getting to Portland took about twelve hours, a pretty hard haul beginning at 1 p.m. Thereafter, we took it easy. In fact, once we departed Seattle, we decided to amble our way back home, cruising down U.S. 97 through the midsections of Washington and Oregon before catching I-5 in Weed, California. The trip was a real treat. Our Friday began with a walk through the Pike Place Market before we headed for Yakima, where we enjoyed a nice meal at a French restaurant. Note to self: next time we're in the area, we'll stay at the Bali-Hai Motel, which looked lovely. The next day we awoke to a light dusting of snow and headed south to Zillah to photograph the Teapot Gas Station. Heading further south we wandered through white fields and snow-covered fir trees, chatting and laughing. That evening we drove to Redding, where we walked through a downtown holiday lights display. Thereafter we stopped in nearby Red Bluff, staying at a clean and comfy motel called the Sky Terrace. On Sunday morning, we returned to the interstate, reaffirming our family's appreciation for the increasingly ubiquitous Black Bear Diner. By mid-afternoon we returned to our cats and stacks of mail, ready to begin a new week.

(Photos by Andrew and Jenny Wood)

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