Greetings, again! Hope everything is well! How am I doing? I’m doing great, thanks! It’s been about a week since I settled into my new home here in Newport, Oregon, specifically at the Hatfield Marine Science Center. It’s a cozy city along the northwestern coast, and it will be my home until the end of August. Not only does that give me enough time to complete projects and goals, but also the opportunity to live and explore an area I have never been to before. Arriving somewhere new is always a thrill, but the journey there is just as riveting. When it came to our last day in San Diego, we sipped our coffees and grabbed our bags early in the morning for departure. We’ve had an amazing time training together, but on March 8th it was time for us to spread our wings and fly away to our designated sites. Or, in my case…drive away! Because my vehicle would be required at my worksite, I would be making a two-day journey from San Diego, California, to Newport, Oregon. That’s just a bit over a thousand miles to cover!
What would make the journey worthwhile is the company of another Environment for the Americas (EFTA) intern, Edder Antunez! Edder is an amazing biologist who arrived all the way from Chicago, Illinois. Pursuing the field of wildlife and ecology, we both joined team EFTA to become better scientists by helping the people and the birds around them. A cool fact about Edder is that he has never been to the west coast before…that is, until now! Because both our worksites are on the coast of Oregon, we partnered together to take on the long road to Oregon!
Heading out early around 5 in the morning, we drove our way up the I-5 and made our first quick stop in Orange County to say one last farewell to my parents and loved ones. From there we trekked along the central valley, gazing along farm fields, green hills, and open skies for birds and gas stations (if you never look for a flying gas station, you’ll never find one). Late in the afternoon we arrived at San Francisco, where a friend of mine treated us to ice cream and gave us a tour of the city!
We set out early once again to take advantage of the day. After getting the essential coffee, we drove through the Golden Gate Bridge on a cold, foggy morning. In fact, there was so much fog that we couldn’t even see the monumental bridge itself! Alas, we continued our way through the San Pablo Bay National Wildlife Refuge where we saw a quick preview of the shorebirds we might find in Oregon. Our journey continued on the 5 North until we stopped for breakfast at Mt Shasta. We cherished the snow, ate a hearty meal, and discussed with a wonderful couple about EFTA and our goals to promote conservation. They wished us the best of luck! That motivational booster would get us excited for our final trek together; driving through valleys and mountains, fields and forests, wind and rain (and yes…even clouds). We arrived in Florence, Oregon, where Edder will be working alongside with the U.S. Forest service. After helping him prep for his stay, we said our goodbyes and promises to meet again! I continued my last leg of the journey to Newport, taking the scenic drive along the coast. It felt like a dream, watching the sunset in the west as it cast a spectrum of blues and reds along the horizon.
As the night settled in, the warm glimmering lights of small towns and cities of the coast gave me the sensation of wander. It was like driving through a picturesque calendar. At last, I arrived to the lights and sounds of the place that I would call home: Newport, Oregon!