Vacation is imminent…

Jean and I will be driving to Portland on Wednesday morning as a recon mission to scope out the area and see what we can see of the place. Since Great Western War X was cancelled, we had 6 days of vacation already scheduled, so we decided to make the best of it and go north!

Originally, we had thought about flying, as this would give us more time in Oregon; however we quickly realized that we’d be spending quite a bit of money on plane fare, hotel, and car rental which we would prefer to keep for the actual move. So instead, we opted for a dry run drive to see how long it will take us and what those 990 miles are REALLY like. That way we’re only spending money on gas and hotel, and get to see parts of California and Oregon which we have never seen.

At some point last week, I realized that we needed maps, since neither of us know our way around the northern part of California, nor any part of Oregon. I remembered my good friend John has a Garmin StreetPilot III GPS, which I was going to ask to borrow, since we had such a great experience with the GPS in our rental when we were in Victoria, BC. Then it hit me… if we are moving to the Portland area, which neither of us are familiar with, we will NEED our own GPS/Navigation system for a good long while once the move is complete. (we never had a need for one in Orange County since we both grew up here and know our way around very well).

So I jumped on Amazon, my VFR discussion board, and a few other GPS review sites to research a product which would meet my needs….

On Friday, I received delivery of my new Garmin Quest GPS:

This thing is the size of my PDA Cell Phone! I almost thought it would be too small at first, but once I had it in the car and began testing it, I soon realized that I loved the small size and that I was still able to easily see all the data in the display. It even has a motorcycle specific mount so I can set it up for some longer distance rides on my VFR! Of course, now John is jealous since his GPS is a brick in comparison… 🙂

So Jean and I have been testing the GPS routing capabilities and re-calculation of routes when turns are missed and it seems to be working exactly as we need. It has voice navigation which is a very nice feature to warn when turns are approaching. Of course we’ll take a paper map too, but I have a feeling it will stay in the glove-box for the majority of the 2000 mile round trip.

But I digress…
Like I said above this is a recon trip, so Jean has been researching apartment complexes to use as destination points with the intent of getting us to drive in all directions to see the areas between downtown Portland and the suburbs. I think we have at least one destination in every direction to go look at so this trip should be WELL over 2000 miles with all the driving we’ll be doing once we get to Portland proper.

We’re hoping to have enough time to even make it out to Astoria for a little sight-seeing and for pictures of the lighthouse for my dad. I know Jean is really looking forward to it, but I’m still not sure if the 3 days we’ll have in Portland will be enough to allow for a drive out to the coastline.

I expect to be taking a TON of pictures along the way and once we are in the city, so expect a picture heavy update upon our return. Not only will I be taking scenic touristy type photos, but I expect to be taking a lot of reference photos as well (to help my memory upon our return home).

We’ll also be going to a bar in Downtown Portland which seems to have an astounding whiskies selection, so you can also rest assured that updated tasting notes will be added to the website on my return (or prior depending on laptop issues and internet connections at the hotel).

So there you have it… we’ll be incommunicado for the majority of time between this coming Wednesday and next Tuesday. Even if I can get my laptop functioning properly, I doubt I’ll be posting to LJ during the trip.

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