Me, my iPod, and 400 miles of I-5

On my profile, it says “I associate places with music…”

This is so absolutely true. Roughly 400 miles of I-5 in Washington state and some of Oregon was the backdrop of the most formative music discovery of my life (see map below).

How, you ask?

Every Friday for a whole year and a half (May 2007 – Dec 2008), my mother, my little brother, and I would drive from Vancouver, BC, Canada to Salem, OR, US. And drive back again every Sunday.

Roughly an 800-mile trip every weekend, for about 70 weekends.

Why, you ask?

My mother was dating someone on the Oregon coast. We would be ready to leave on Friday evening, after she finished working. We would cross the US-Canada border at the Peace Arch and make our way to Salem, OR, where her then-boyfriend/now-husband would pick us up and take us for yet another hour long drive to the coast, where I would greet the Pacific ocean with a sleepy smile.

I loved those weekend trips. My iPod was fully charged and loaded with the newest songs I wanted to listen to, and I would just sit back in the passenger seat of my mom’s silver Toyota Echo for 8 hours as my mind was slowly blown away by the music that I would love for the rest of my life.

Below is a screenshot I took of Google Maps of the route from Vancouver, BC (“Start!”) to Salem, OR, where we would switch cars and we would be taken away to Lincoln City (“Finish!”), at the coast.

• • • • •  Understanding My Map  • • • • •

  • This map assumes we left Vancouver around 5:30pm.
  • All locations are time-stamped at the time we would have arrived at that place.
  • Red circles on the map indicate a place that is special to me because it reminds me of certain artists and bands. For example, hearing Modest Mouse makes me think of the area around Bellingham, a place of trees, lakes, and quaint Pacific Northwestern-ness.
  • I’ve taken the liberty of providing you with a couple choice tracks to listen to if you so choose, so that you are auditorily transported to my mind at that point of the trip.

These bands are dear to my heart. I know I’m SUCH a geek, but please humor me!

P.S. Please note that these songs are ‘evening songs’. They were listened to because of their nocturnal qualities. If we made the trip during the day, the songs would, of course, be different.

P.P.S. I know I’ve further reinforced my geekiness, but just roll with it, you’ll get used to it. :]

• • • • •   Map  • • • • •

day 17 map assignment 2
The weekly 8-hour trip with my iPod

–ღ, ts


DAY 17 ASSIGNMENT: A Map As Your Muse

Today, let a map be your muse. Select an area anywhere in the world on Google Maps (or your preferred online map tool), or a section on a paper map, and use this as inspiration for your post. Some ideas:

  • Tell us about your connection to a place. 
  • Pen a poem inspired by the area’s topography.
  • Write a piece of memoir in the form of directions from point A to point B, in which each item reveals something about you or the area, like in Anna Fonte’s “How to Get There.
  • Use this geographic map as a model for a mental and more imaginary map, like this map of the lyrical essay from Nina Gaby.
  • Switch to Street View and write a story based on what you see.
  • Write an essay set in this location, like Dinty Moore’s Google Maps piece, “Mr. Plimpton’s Revenge.”
  • If you don’t want to include a map, you can approach the assignment without one, like this personal essay by Maggie Messitt.

If possible, include a photograph of your paper map, a screenshot of the online map, or an embedded Google Map in your post.


3 thoughts on “Me, my iPod, and 400 miles of I-5

  1. I love this map and the way you provide us with this beautiful snippet from your memory lane! (Literally) The music you included is an added bonus! (And just the sort of geeky thing I would do!) haha 😉 xx


    1. By all means, please be geeky! I love geeky people. 🙂 And thank you! I am so grateful for circumstances that happen that shape who you are. If my mom hadn’t been dating that guy in Oregon, I wouldn’t have discovered the music I love now!

      Liked by 1 person

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