Areas and Distances
Went from Portland to Palm Springs for this year's winter break. 1,070 miles. As compared to Paris to Naples, about the same distance. Or Paris to Lisbon. Same idea: The cold North to the warm South in about 1,000 miles.
1,000 miles north to south-ish is about 10 degrees of latitude. Ish. It's actually more like 14 degrees if you went straight north to south, but the most interesting site-to-sites seldom follow straight lines. From Paris, it's south and west to Lisbon or south and east to Naples. From Portland, it's south and a surprising distance east to Palm Springs.
And then there's San Francisco to Portland. Which we just did, after doing Palm Springs to SF. 630 miles. Further than Marseille to Paris, for example. It's roughly Barcelona to Paris. You stopped in Barca on the way back from Lisboa.
Denver is further from Portland than Palm Springs. 1,200 miles!
The West is huge.
California is Italy sized. Or, Italy is California sized. Also, California is Japan sized. All of these are rough approximations. Directionally accurate while being factually incorrect.
Also, density is totally different. Italy and Japan are uniformly filled with people relative to California. California is like two huge populational splats and one long streak down the middle, and the rest is empty. Relatively speaking. People live everywhere. Even Death Valley.
Oregon and Washington together are roughly France sized, moreso if you give a little of Idaho and call it Cascadia. Either one of them is the size of Great Britain. Again, population density being different.
Being home in Portland reminds me what a small city Portland feels like. I can drive anywhere in Portland in 10, 15 minutes max. Including parking. Try going from the Embarcadero to the Zoo in SF. Better book an hour. Much less getting around the rest of the region, SF to the East Bay. The South Bay. The Bay Area is like a small country. Ditto and doubly so Greater Los Angeles, especially if you include San Diego which isn't included officially but is if you go by look and feel.
All numbers and facts in this post are both right and wrong. They're right at one level of resolution and wrong if you're looking for exactitude. I'm finding being able to hold the two ideas of correctness in my head at the same time - something being right on one level while being wrong on another - increasingly valuable in the 20s, and trying to deliberately practice it when I can.