“All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy.” Jack Torrance, The Shining
It’s hard to deny the road tripping aspect to this job. The promotion of Allegro Coffee and Whole Foods Market around the country is of course the paramount reason we are out here driving the highways and byways. The amazing FLXBUS and the support we receive from both companies confirm the importance of the message. We all care enough about the product to take it out on the road and spread the good word—everybody needs to know about this coffee! When we’re in a region we tend to focus pretty tightly on that area, not straying too far afield. Economy and efficiency play an important role—more bang for the buck, as it were.
But we do drive a really cool bus, and we drive it all over the country, and we hope to do so for a good chunk of the better part of two years. Yup, that definitely sounds like a road trip! When we make the transition from region to region we try to do it in interesting ways, taking roads we’ve not driven before and stopping off at favorite sights we’ve enjoyed previously or have meant to see “the next time we come through”.
Here are a few of our most recent road trip treats follow.
Transitioning from California’s central valley northwest to the Bay area can be done quickly, in a few hours via the I-5 super slab, or in a more relaxed fashion which can take all day, in this case via CA route 198 west of Coalinga. The 138 was a new road for us and one full of surprises around the many twists and turns. As we crested one of the hills and shifted the bus into low gear we were greeted by this surreal scene of valley fog below the dry, blonde grasslands.
The driving is the main event with the bus. We love swapping out of the driver’s seat and taking the wheel to guide the bus where it needs to go. But some places are not meant for a 35’ beast of a vehicle and the city of San Francisco is one of those places. But how can we pass so closely to the city without paying a visit to Swan Oyster Depot? We can’t. So we parked the bus in the east bay, hopped on the BART, and within the hour found a couple of stools waiting for us at the corner of Polk and Sacramento. So good, so fresh, and such great service from the four brothers who’ve been serving it up since who knows when.
Visiting Seattle is like going home for us. We have friends and family in the Puget Sound area and there’s no shortage of old haunts for us to revisit. One of our favorite things to do when we visit a coastal city, or one with water nearby, is to get on a boat and get a look at that place from the water. Seattle has one of the best views and the ferries offer numerous opportunities from which to have that glimpse.
Mt. Rainier dominates the Puget Sound skyline…when it’s “out”, that is, visible from the lowlands. On a clear day Rainier is as pleasant a distraction as there could be. Making the drive to Mt Rainier National Park is a full day’s adventure but the road can end at Paradise at an elevation of about 5000’. From the Paradise parking lot a short hike up through the meadows can offer views one might think only possible in Greenland. The head of the Nisqually glacier is awesome and wild.
The departure from the PacNW region often entails driving east, up the Columbia River. On a clear day that drive can be stunning. The river is the ever-present accomplice but it’s the volcanoes—Mt. Hood, Mt. Adams, and the sooty Mt. St. Helens—which dominate and are the causes of many a view in the rear view mirror.
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