Friday, October 14, 2011

Salem, OR

So I'm not traveling anymore... I mean, not constantly. I rented a house, I got a job... pretty settled! I started my job on Monday and so far I really like it. The people there are really nice, I'm looking forward to getting to know them better and being able to joke around a little more at work :) That's how I like it!

I may have planted some roots but I am already thinking about trips to take, beyond driving to the beach, Portland, mountains and Eugene. All within 2 hours from where I live now! It's a pretty sweet location. This weekend is the film festival and a friend of mine from Portland is supposed to come down Saturday and help me paint (a couple shades of blue, medium in the living room and light in the kitchen). It's only the 5th day on the job tomorrow and I already get to go to the job site... an old warehouse, 2 blocks West of the office, that is being converted (via adding 4 storeys) to a 100 unit apartment complex. I've been working on the demolition plans and today started tweaking the floor plans and elevations. It's fun :) I like autocad. I've also been to a young architects gathering at an office on the other side of the creek from my office, as well as had free lunch at a lunch-n-learn today.

Yesterday I went to Broadway Coffeehouse, in a building that it turns out my office (or some people in my office) had hands in designing. It was a really big open space, felt a little lukewarm. The space is big and open, and the chai I had was delicious, but it could use more rugs and little "living room" type areas. Then drove all around town with my new friend trying to find JoAnn Fabrics. Third time was the charm and we found JoAnn fabrics, hooray! It's freaking HUGE! It was like 7:45pm and I hadn't eaten dinner yet so we went in, I got my white felt for my Halloween costume and a couple sewing patterns. I need to sort out my sewing pile and get started on some projects. I have to dress nice at this office (ie. no jeans) so I'd like to have some dresses to wear. So far I've been complimented on cute shoes everyday (2 different pairs). I bought several V-neck tees and have a few pairs of dress pants... with V-neck sweaters... My clothing isn't that interesting yet... but I'm excited to start sewing stuff! It'll be great!!

Right now I'm working on that Halloween costume. I'm planning to drive up to Vancouver BC for a Halloween/birthday party so I figured I'd actually step up and make a costume! I've never given Halloween this much thought before :) I'll post pictures when I'm done... don't want to spoil the surprise :)

It's nice having a kitchen but I miss my pots and pans and well stocked spice cabinet... I have a lot of setting up to do yet. I'm really looking forward to when my aunt and uncle get here with my stuff. They are going to drive across the country in my mom's car with a trailer filled with a bunch of my stuff. So awesome! I thought I was going to have to wait until May. This means I will soon have my stand mixer... watch out office waistlines :P

Thursday, September 29, 2011

So long dusty trail....

I just got the job in Salem, OR! So I'm moving to Salem! I'm super excited! Yay PNW! I'll miss you road, but now I can save money (and vacation days) to travel further :)

Monday, September 26, 2011

Leaving Portland for a bit

On Friday I heard that it's down to me and one other person for the job in Salem that I'm really really, REALLY excited about. So I emailed all my references to give them a heads up to expect phone calls at the beginning of this week and I should hear from Salem on Wednesday to tell the the decision or to let me know if they are still waiting to hear back from references.

In the meantime...
I'm heading to Springfield, OR today to hang out with my brother and his wife and their kitties for the next 7 to 10 days. I'll be doing a green smoothie cleanse! Nothing but fresh fruits and veggies, purred beyond recognition. Yum! Starting a new journey that's more about health and fitness. I definitely binged on amazing Portland food this weekend. It was delicious.

This is what you get for about $70 of beer in Oregon... delicious and craft beer... and lots of it, yum! (kitten is extra :P)

Friday I was in Springfield, I went to the farmer's market and had some awesome blueberry ice cream. Then my brother told both his wife and their roommate to get beer... so we had a lot of beer. We drank a bunch and played Dance Central on the Xbox 360... that was fun!

Awesome Mojito at The Observatory in NE Portland
Saturday afternoon I headed to The Observatory with my friend Laura and a few of her friends. I had an awesome mojito with strawberries and cucumber infused liquor, and lime, muddled with mint. It was fresh and tasty. Then we went to Roscoe's to have a beer and played some pool. There was a place across the street called "Portland Tub & Tan"... where you can rent hot tubs by the hour. That just sounds dirty.

The Boiler Room Bar at the Kennedy School
Sunday I ended up wandering Portland with my step sister. We went to McMennimans Kennedy School. I'd never been but had been wanting to go for several years. So we went there for lunch and wandered around. It is soooo cool! Multiple bars and restaurants and rental spaces and even a soaking pool all in a decommisoned elementary school. It's also set up kind of like a museum with display cases and information about the school. Then we wandered down NE Alberta which is the new "arts district", randomly ran into Laura!

Berry Cobler at Papa Hyden in NW Portland
I had plans to meet a friend for Indian food at Swagat in NW Portland so we went there... omg, the food was SO good. After dinner (which we split, smart) we went to Papa Hyden for dessert. Jeebus, that was amazing, and hard to choose from their 2 page spread of amazing desserts (including gluten free options!). Highly recommended for dessert! Then my step sis drove me back to Beaverton and now I'm up, packed and heading out.


Thursday, September 22, 2011

Some assorted photos from the road

Beautiful Sunset on Olympic Peninsula coast

Glacier National park

St. Mary's looking at Glacier National Park

Montana field, approaching the mountains... moment of happiness happened here

Chantarelle mushrooms harvested on Olympic Peninsula... made me love mushrooms!

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Riding around Portland or Loving Portland

Yesterday I finally made it to Portland, yay! I left the house around 11, with my bike on the back of my car, drove to the Willow Creek MAX stop. It took me about an hour to get downtown, I got out at the PGE Park stop (now called something else...) in NW Portland and immediately rode down to the water front (I beat the MAX, following it's same path which is always nice!) I had plans to stop but was enjoying riding too much that I rode down to the waterfront, North along the waterfront, across this bridge (picture below) with a bike/pedestrian path that is at the same level as the waterfront trail, then South along the river on the East side to I think Hawthorne bridge. After that loop I felt good about stopping and I went to the Alder and 10th food carts.

The food carts, which I failed to take pictures of (oops) were awesome. Too many options, it was hard to choose! I also wasn't too hungry because I'd eaten breakfast just before leaving Brooklyn. I ended up being a little boring and getting a panini. $5 for a sandwich and a soda! Awesome deal! I only ate half the sandwich then I sat by the Teachers Fountain at Yamhill and Park, sketching my surroundings and doodling. I think I sat there about an hour, soaking in the Vitamin D. I wasn't going to finish the other half of the sandwich so I decided I'd give it to a homeless person. This being Portland it didn't take long to see someone, so I stopped about 2 blocks from where I was, offered her the other half of my sandwich and went on my way.

From there I rode up to NW and sat at Bridgeport Brewpub and had a beer on the deck in the shade (where it got a little chilly) and doodled some more and people watched. It was quite pleasant. From here I rode my bike way out there to Upshur to check out Canvas Art, bar and Bistro. I got there and wasn't too hungry and peaked in, thinking I might move on. I saw that they sold some art supplies and remembered that I haven't been able to find my pencil sharpener. I went in and asked the lady behind the counter if she sold them, she lent me hers from behind the counter then came back a second later and said I could have it. I thought, aw that's nice, I might as well check out the menu and see if there is anything that sounds good for a snack. It was almost 5pm, happy hour! I saw an option "pint & paint". I was intrigued and asked about it. What it is: a pint of beer on tap and a little kit of paints and a palette and some brushes and you can paint on the white butcher paper they have there! I was sold. If I had someone to take on a date, we would go here :)

After painting and slowly sipping my beer, I decided to head back to the center of town... and get donuts! On Saturday when I went to Saturday Market my friend Laura and I walked by Voodoo Doughnuts but the line was like halfway down the block and didn't seem to be moving very quickly! So as I was riding I realized I was approaching and when I got to Voodoo the line was only to the door rather than out the door! I swooped up on my bike, locked up and waited... for a while to get my donut on. I went for the Voodoo and the fruit loop one (I don't remember what it's called).

This is where it's nice to have someone you are traveling with, you can each get something and split it. When traveling solo... you either eat all the things or spend more money for less food.

I loved the Voodoo. I am not normally into filled donuts but this one had raspberry filling that was like jam... it was so good and looked so fitting when half eaten! The fruit loop one was really good, I wanted to eat the whole thing but physically couldn't. It was sooo yummy. I'm totally going back here... in like a month! I ended up eating about half of each because this was, afterall, my appetizer for dinner!

After Voodoo I headed to the East Side to meet my friend for Ethiopian food at Queen of Sheba. I love Ethipoian food and I was really excited. I kind of knew where I was going so I didn't stop to check my map until I got across and I was on the right street and it looked like I should be there really soon. Suddenly I was way the hell up North and I still have no idea where I took a wrong turn. You can see on the map below that really long stretch of riding north... yeah. I don't know what that was about. It was pretty quick and easy to ride that far out of the way (which is a nice hint to the size of Portland).

In total, I rode about 17 miles around Portland, mainly in the West side. I'll go in again to wander the East side next time... and try some new food carts (and try to be more hungry/adventurous)!

Here is our meal at Queen of Sheba, we went with the vegetarian combo where we each picked 2 dishes. I find Ethiopian food to be so filling that I don't miss meat (not that I'm a huge meat eater anyway). It was tasty, I especially like the potatoes... mmm.

My new Oregon Love logo I just made, based on the green Oregon bumpersticker (and tattoo):

Oh man, looking at those donuts is making me really want another one.
Side note, I'm thinking about doing a green smoothie cleanse starting next week. For at least 10 days... I will keep you, lovely readers, in the know about that and how it goes when I do it. I also still have to get back to the beach house. So much to do eh?!

Monday, September 19, 2011

Chillin', planning for exploring Portland this week

Hanging out in Beaverton with the cats, today was a rainy crafty day (mostly painting and a bit of drawing). Tomorrow the weather is supposed to be nice so I'm researching places to eat in Portland. If you weren't aware, Portland is a foodie town. I plan to eat well. The issue I'm having now is deciding on a place to go! I've written up a list of things I'd like to check out, so tomorrow when I'm wandering on bicycle I have some options!

Fine Dining:
Veritable Quandry
Natural Selection

Mid range dining:
Apizza Scholls (whole pies)
Laurelhurst Market
Clyde Commons

Cheap Eats:
Le Bistro Montage (been once before, had alligator)
The Canvas Art Bar & Bistro
Portland Food Carts ("pods" all over the place)
Pok Pok Whiskey Soda Lounge

The Bye and Bye - (my friend Laura's favorite place, I've been a few times and want to go back!)

Papa Hadyn
Pix Patisserie
Voodoo Donuts
Alder Pastry & Dessert

Activities/ things to check out:
Chinese Garden
The Kennedy School (A McMenamins cinema/pub)
The Mission (another McMenamins cinema/pub)
Pittock mansion
Washington Park
Rose Test Garden
Brewvana - brewery tours (out of my budget though at $60)
Museum of Contemporary Craft
The Hat Museum (too steep, $15 and a reservation)

Oneonta George
Ainsworth State Park
Sauvie Island Farms
Columbia River
Hoyt Arboretum

Things I'd like to draw:
The Bridges
Beaverton Library
Saturday Market - sketching people

And now suddenly it's 1am... I need to go to sleep!

Thursday, September 15, 2011


I forgot to mention that I had a phone interview last Tuesday with a company in Salem, Oregon. I then had an interview in-person in the same firm on my way back to Portland. I think it went pretty well and I really want the job. It would be a great next step for my career, Salem is pretty central to all things in OR I would like to have access to (Portland, the beach, my brother, the mountains). I mailed hand written thank you cards on Monday, and they said they would be making a decision in the next two weeks.

Assuming they can read my beautiful tiny block letters; I think they should be well received. I even made my own thank you cards that match my resume letter head and references letterhead!

There was a stack of old yearbooks, which was nice to flip through, we also watched our senior video... I think it made some people nostalgic... it made me happy that high school is over :P

My high school reunion was Saturday the 10th. It started out a little awkward, people I haven't seen in 10 years, people I hadn't even seen in high school, people who I'm friends with on facebook but don't actually know what they are up to and people who I know what they have been up to because of Facebook but that doesn't mean we're friends or anything.

Facebook has a strange effect on reunions I gotta say. I think I had the most fun catching up with people who I haven't seen since (who aren't on facebook) and catching up with people who I kind of knew before and am friends with on Facebook but don't see much of their updates. Part of the excitement of a reunion is the mystery (for me, where it was not about "connecting with old friends" cause I didn't really hang out with anyone outside of high school except for a couple people who I knew weren't going to be there) or seeing what people have been up to since school. The mystery is less veiled with Facebook around. I'm glad I went, I hope you will go to yours despite Facebook!

My dad and step-mom are heading to my step brother's wedding this weekend so I'll be staying at the house in Beaverton to watch the cats (best cats in the world, Xena and Xerxes). After that I will either be moving to Salem to start my new job (fingers crossed!) or staying in Portland trying to find some kind of income. Maybe the fabric store that I contacted back in July will still be open to hiring me, then I can at least stop spending all my money and have some income while I keep looking for other work and moonlight doing some of my own projects... and taking a Project Management Certificate series of courses at Portland State University I found a couple days ago.

No shortage of options, I'm pretty much waiting now. Meanwhile I started going to the Bally's gym near my dad's house, getting going running again because my brother, sister-in-law and I are signing up for a 5K in October, then a 10K in the Spring (and maybe I'll try for a half marathon next fall?). Plus all my friends here are employed so in the daytime I have to keep myself occupied... I just gessoed an old canvas, so we'll see what I start to paint. I'm looking forward to this weekend, I'm going to go to Saturday Market! I'm thinking about riding Minty Fresh to the MAX then riding around Portland. Tonight I'm meeting a high school buddy for German food... beer und sausage und mustard mmmm!

Lincoln City

Not that exciting... we were there to paint the beach house but the weather kept being misty, despite heat warnings... Crazy coastal weather. So we spent a couple days hanging out, doing tiny bits of prep work then going shopping at the outlets and playing Bananagrams and Rummikub. Then Charlotte (and her friend Sarah) had to go back to work so it was just me and my unemployed brother there to do the work. We prepped in a day then painted the next day. The most exiting aspects are that we used a sprayer... I never want to paint a house exterior by brush again!

Sneakers might have been a better choice as now my sandals have all sorts of bright green on them... which doesn't match a thing I own. Except my AmeriCorps sweatshirt which is covered in a rainbow of paint (yay Murals!)

Here's at the end of day one, one of us sprayed and the other followed with a brush (to get in the vertical seams of the clapboard siding) and a roller to smooth out the sprayed on paint.

Here's how we left it. My window prep did a pretty good job and once cleaned up a little the windows look crisp next to the brightest paint in the neighborhood. Then there's the front door. It only got one coat of paint, so it's going to be more solid when I go back down in a few weeks and give them another coat. This is by far the brightest house in the neighborhood... I wouldn't be surprised if it's the brightest one in Lincoln City... seriously.

So I drove my brother and myself over to Springfield, stayed there one night then I headed up to Beaverton so I could go to my high school reunion on Saturday!

(North) Vancouver BC

After Port Townsend I took Spencer to SeaTac airport then drove up to Vancouver BC. I was again given the 5th degree when crossing the border because I have a car full of my life, a USB on my keys with my resume on it (he asked!). I went up to visit my friends from church camp, luckily Aimee was off for the summer from her work in schools, and Scott was off because he didn't start his job for another week. I came up on Friday so I'd also be able to hang out with Kalan who works during the week.

I wish I could remember the name of this lake we went to... but this is what it looks like around Vancouver... fucking beautiful.

I did a bunch of Canadian things, we went to De Detuch for Dutch style pancakes (ok, that's that not Canadian... but it was delicious!), went to a beautiful lake just outside of North Vancouver, wandered Granville Island, got gelato at La Casa Gelato, went to my first hockey game, and tried my hand at 5-in bowling.

La Casa Gelato, my brother's awesome suggestion, is just East of the Vancouver Chinatown. They have so many flavors it's hard to choose. I ended up going to Billberry (on top... still no idea what it is but it was so yumm!) and a chocolate creme de menthe gelato. They were both delicious. I also tried a balsalmic gelato... this was less successful. Really, I couldn't eat the whole tiny spoonful. One lick, then tossed it. The basil gelato, however, was quite tasty but seemed more like a small taste during a 7 course chef's table dinner kind of thing.

On Tuesday my buddy Scott was free all day so he and Aimee and I had "Tourist Tuesday"! Scott kept commenting on how much more touristy Aimee was, but that's because she kept taking pictures :) We started with breakfast in Deep Cove then went on a hike to a great view

If I was feeling like being on my computer more I'd combine those images... but use your imagination

We also went to Granville Island which I don't have many pictures of but we wandered the market, I got a whole bunch of cherries and Scott got raspberries... all of which were delicious (omg I love berries! That's been one of the best things about being back in the PNW). We also did a little shopping, I got some shoes, went to Scott's yacht club for drinks and a sick view:

Have I mentioned how beautiful it is in Vancouver?

Then we needed a break before we went out longer so we went by Scott's place to chill for a bit and catch the sunset. We then met up with Kalan and Duke in Gastown (downtown) Vancvouer for drinks. Scott told me about a giant Jenga but there was some event going on in the bar so we didn't get to do that.

Tourist Tuesday was awesome :) I'd been to Vancouver a few times before but usually just for a weekend and never with friends with cars who could show me around! I would love to go back for another long visit.

Now the order of events is a little hazy, I realize it wasn't that long ago but hey, we did a lot! Kalan had his last hockey game of the season so we went to that and Duke happened to be there too. Kalan's team won and I'm not gonna say it's because we were there but I'm not gonna say it wasn't because we weren't there... :)

I also went to the Capilano Suspension Bridge with Erika, Aimee and Denise. So I'm not that comfortable with heights... all these ladies I was with were walking without holding on and shaking the bridge and looking over the edge holy jeebus that made me nervous! We also did the treetop adventure (looks a bit like the Ewok village out of Star Wars) and the Cliff Walk. If you ever plan to go I highly recommend going with a BC resident. It was not cheap (even with my "student" discount) but BC residents can get a year long membership for the same as one admission ticket, and they can bring a guest who gets 10% (or was it 15%?) off, even a student admission! So that saved me about $5 right there. I decided it would be worth it once, next time I go we'll visit Lynn Canyon- has a suspension bridge too and is free, but it's not as high or long. Although, with my discomfort with heights maybe that's not such a big deal!

I'd been wanting to paint since I was driving through North Dakota and Montana so Aimee and I decided to have a craft day in which we painted. I painted this chicken (the image I got out of an article in National Geographic back at church camp that I highly recommend reading).

We went 5-pin glow bowling. The website said they were open until 10, we got there at 8:45 and they were closing at 9! Yikes! But we got in one game (and he let us stay until about 9:10). Five-pin bowling is strange... the ball is small and the pins are spaced out pretty well so that it is hard to knock over more pins just by hitting one pin. The scoring system was bizarre too... I didn't understand it (but I think Aimee won legit-ly :P)

When I left Canada I passed a warning sign by the border "You are about to enter a high medical cost area, proceed with caution" or something like that... then I headed to our beach house in Lincoln City, OR. I was in Beaverton around 5:30 so I called up my dad and invited myself for dinner. After dinner I continued the 2 more hours to meet my brother and his wife at the beach. That was a long day of driving! (For those of you on the East Coast... it's about 3 hours from Vancouver BC to Seattle and another 3.5 hours from Seattle to Portland, then from Portland to Lincoln City is about 2 hours).

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Last night in Port Townsend, just got back from the coast

I took a nap while Sam and Spencer made an amazing meal
A whole bunch of harvested food- mushrooms (Chantrelles, Winter Chantrelles and Hedgehog- I'd never had Chantrelles before but omg, LOVE!)
Amazing sunset Wednesday night... beautiful!

Cleaning the mushrooms
Sam made an awesome ramen... We seriosuly ate like royalty... PNW royalty!

The air in the Pacific Northwest has a distinct smell. The smell of the ocean and the plants is something I haven't smelled anywhere else. I love it. So freaking happy to be back in the PNW!
Spending 2 nights at the cabin out on the coast was the perfect end to my two weeks in Port Townsend. Tomorrow I'm heading up to North Vancouver, BC to hang out with some friends who I just saw at church camp... and some friends I haven't seen in more than 10 years! Yay PNW! Love you!

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Port Townsend with a quick jaunt to Seattle

Saturday in PT was the uptown street fair which we stumbled across when we were going for the farmer's market. It was pretty awesome. The Uptown Pub had set up a beer garden in the closed off street by stacking hay bales and pulling all their tables and chairs out front. We ended up hanging out at the beer garden for the whole afternoon then went to see our buddy Ben in the Shakespeare in the Park production of Hamlet. He was awesome, as usual :) After the play we went back to the Uptown cause Ben's dad's band was playing. We didn't stay too late because we were going to Seattle Sunday morning.

We caught the 8:40am ferry on Sunday morning after picking up Sam in PT. I dropped the boys off in Ballard and went to brunch with a friend. After brunch we watched The Social Network, it was a good movie but Justin Timberlake's character, Sean something, weirded me out. What was his deal!? After the movie and some Futurama episodes, I met up with a friend who happened to live nearby. We met at a pub with like the slowest beer pouring service ever (granted there were like 10 other people there including like 4 kids)... I'm not bitter :P Then BBQ in Queen Anne with my friend from NY who moved to Seattle about a year ago, then up to Ballard and met up with the boys for a little house warming party. The house was awesome, with a hot tub! We played Beirut (Beer Pong's official name) and I was decidely the MVP, it was awesome cause I'm not always awesome at it but that night I was! Joss and I finally won the game (when there was only one cup left on each side and Sam got our cup, I got his cup and we had a 3 cup showdown and I got all 3 of 'em!) then we went in the hot tub. Hot tub! Such a sweet place! We stayed the night there and in the morning slowly, groggily got up and headed back to PT. I slept for like 12 hours last night, it was great and now we're getting ready to head to the coast! I think if Colorado doesn't pan out for the long term I'll move to Seattle... the list of people I know there is growing
and the city is growing on me the more I visit it! On Friday I'm heading to Vancouver BC... funny how there is never enough time to do everything in a town even when you go for 2 weeks!!
Off to the coast!

Friday, August 19, 2011

Happy birthday, I'm sore!

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I don't remember the last time my body ached this much! On Wednesday Spencer and I and two of his buddies went for a one night backpacking trip. We hiked in 3 miles along the Dosewallips and took the trail to Lake Constance. The hardest 2 miles in the Olympics, yay! I had no idea what I was getting myself into but I soldiered through it. Lake Constance is at about 4600 feet, and the hike from the main road is 2 miles (supposedly) and 3400 feet up! It was soooo steep! A lot of the hike was more like climbing than hiking, hand over hand, finding placement for your feet. Then ducking under fallen trees... all this with a pack on. It took us about 4 hours to climb the 2 miles (this was after the steady incline of the road). I was bringing up the rear of the group (I haven't been backpacking in a couple years!) and Spencer left me a trailmix bar on a little stand he made with branches, that was a super sweet surprise to come upon. There was a part that was pretty vertical and Spencer helped me out and carried my pack up for me so I could scramble up. The trail runs parallel to a creek that is pretty much a waterfall the whole way up which hints at how freaking steep it was! We got to the top together and Spencer's buddies were already up there and had set up camp on the north side of the lake. We walked around the east side of the lake which included walking on snow... snow! There were spots where the snow was melted away from the rocks on both sides and it was a skinny little strip of packed snow, I was very nervous! I just tried to step where all the boys ahead of me had stepped. After we crossed the snow, and a log bridge there was a huge field of rocks we clambered across. The lake is polluted and kind of stale (no real movement in the water). We had Spencer's mom's water filter which was good cause there's no way we could have carried enough water up! I was pooped when we got there so after I made ramen with dehydrated veggies for dinner I was laying down. Spencer and Joss went fishing and caught fish right away, like in 10 seconds he got a bite! Spencer's buddy Ben is a cook and he cooked up the 4 fish in my little frying pan. I wasn't really very hungry but Spencer was making me eat because we'd just burned like a billion calories and I needed to force myself to eat. I had a little taste of the fish, it was fatty and delicious. The fish are pretty small up there; Spencer's dad said that's because there isn't enough food in the mountains for the fish to get very big.

The hike back down took longer than the hike up. It's hard to "get in the zone" the way you can when climbing because every step is thought about when it's such a steep slope. There are roots and big rocks and skinny trail ledges with very steep slopes. This is not the time to be cavalier! I ended up doing a crab walk and butt scoot down some parts cause my legs were too tired to stand. As I'm recounting the whole trip I'm really proud of myself! I didn't really fuly grasp what I was getting myself into. I hadn't hiked in a really really long time and jumped head first into a super difficult climb.

The 3 mile walk out (which might be a bit longer because of the trail that takes you around the part where the road washed out a couple years ago) was hard on the legs but way easier. My body was pretty sore but I was mentally pumping myself up thinking about putting on my flip flops when we got to the car! Then the motivation was a chocolate bar I was going to get at the first place we went. Post-camping hike outs are all the same... conversation turns to food inevitably. We were dreaming of pizza and burgers and ice cream and chocolate. Haha, so unhealthy! We stopped at the place Spencer had hoped to eat but they had just shut the grill off like 5 minutes before we got there so we bought chocolate bars (yay!) and went to the next place down the road. I drank many beverages (2 hot chocolates, a glass of water and a Henry Weinhard's root beer- the best!) and had a cheeseburger. Then we headed back to Port Townsend. We got back to Spencer's parent's place around 9 something, chatted with them for a bit, showered and passed out. While I was waiting for Spencer to finish in the shower I nearly fell asleep, it took a lot of motivation to stand up and shower! Today the plan is Epsom salt bath. I've never taken one but I hear good things so that should be nice! I can't find my camera cable at the moment, so photos will come later...

Oh, and it's my birthday today! I'm 28... I'm pretty sure :P

Monday, August 15, 2011

Port Townsend

Last night I picked up Spencer at the Edmonds Amtrak station and we hopped over to the ferry and arrived in PT about 11:30pm. It was nice to sleep in a real bed (with a memory foam mattress topper!) after being at church camp all week!

Today we took the bike path to town, went out for coffee (where when you get drip coffee to stay, they heat up your mug with hot water... dang that's service!). Then we went to the park which was beautiful, hung out on a big rock on the beach for a bit, played on the swings, rode to uptown and had a snack. Ben came and met us in the park with a frisbee so we hung out there for a bit, then got some pizza at Waterfront Pizza which was super tasty and came back to have dinner with Spencer's parents. We also gathered some berries; we were hoping for blackberries but found loaded bushes of evergreen huckleberries! Now we're just chilling doing computer-y things. A very nice relaxed day. Tomorrow I think we might get started on Spencer's cabin's kitchen. All these other plans for hikes and parties and jaunts to the coast are coming up so I don't know how much work we'll actually be able to get done... and there will be huckleberry tarts! I'm thinking I'll do it the homemade poptart way cause those are tasty! I'm also looking forward to getting a fire going so I can roast giant marshmallows again :)

I will be here in Port Townsend until next Friday when I'll head up to Vancouver BC to hang out more with the people I was just hanging out with at church camp!

Sunday, August 14, 2011

What a great week

Church camp was great. It was great after not having been since 2006, to reconnect with friends and make new ones. Now I am back in Seattle, going sailing with a buddy tomorrow then heading over to Port Townsend for the next couple weeks where I will be hiking and helping my buddy with some construction on his cabin. After PT I'm going up to Vancouver BC, to see some old friends I haven't seen in YEARS and hang out more with some of my buddies from camp :)
After a week or so in BC I'll head to Portland and see friends, meet babies, like you do when you go home... high school reunion on the 10th, then drive down to hang out with my brother for a couple days and then off to Colorado! Planning to arrive in Vail around maybe Sept 15th.

My road trip is taking a turn to be less road-trip and now it's more like visiting people back in my home region before I move to a new place. Not so much touristy, more, hanging out with friends :)

Friday, August 5, 2011

Missoula > Seattle

I stayed at the only hostel in Missoula, Hutchins Hostel, where I met Michael from London who is biking across America (his blog)! I also met a couple from Clinton Hill, Brooklyn (the neighborhood I lived in for close to 7 years) and they were biking from Missoula to Glacier then over to Washington and down to Portland. I had no idea Missoula was such a biking destination! Michael and I went to a pub trivia night (team name Mustard), we did alright in the first two rounds but not so hot in the end. It was fun though, I will totally do another trivia night!

Thursday morning I started driving, heading to Seattle. I was super tired so pulled off the road somewhere in that sliver of Idaho and took a nap. I think I only napped for 15 minutes but it was like a quick recharge for my batteries and I continued on feeling much better!

BB up on the lift

I stopped to get gas in Eastern Washington and when I got back on the road, I noticed the Check Engine light was on. I pulled off I-90 to Moses Lake and did a quick google search for car repair shops. I found Woodward Auto & Truck and called to see fi they were open because my clock said 6:17. The guy who answered said, of course we're open, where are you? You are calling from New York? I explained that I'm on a road trip and my check engine light just came on and I just got off the freeway in this town. I headed over to their shop and the mechanic (whose name I didn't catch, I'm terrible at remembering to catch people's names!) plugged in the digital diagnostic machine. It was an o2 sensor that needed to be replaced (he showed me on the diagnostic). I asked if I could make it to Seattle and was told yes, but it will burn more fuel so you should get it replaced asap... and you'll pay more in Seattle! So I asked how long it would take them to fix it. Bill, the guy in the office, said it was more about hte part and then about 30 minutes of labor. So Bill called up some place with parts, they had it in stock, drove it over, the mechanic (who I had a nice conversation with about design, he's an aspiring Industrial Designer) replaced the part, cleared the warning, test drove it to make sure it was still good and I was done! I was in, diagnosed, fixed and out within an hour! I arrived in Seattle at 9pm! As far as car trouble go, that was a pretty lucky situation!

I'll be spending today in Seattle, hopefully catching up with one of my old roommates from Brooklyn who lives here now, and tomorrow heading to my Unitarian church camp at Seabeck, WA... arriving in time for the 2pm all staff meeting. This means taking the ferry to Bremerton! Yay ferries! I think today I'll go for a bike ride, my friend lent me her awesome bike map of Seattle and there are a few paths nearby, she lives on the West side of Green Lake for those of you familiar with Seattle.

Oh, I forgot to post a final picture of the finished root cellar! (Well, it needs a little paint and more soil on top and around it, but I had to go West, so hopefully my uncle can sort that out!)

Isn't she lovely :)

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Pictures from Minnesota to Montana.

I'm in Missoula, Montana at a coffee shop, catching up with the internet and my laptop which I haven't used in like a week... So here are pictures! Check out my photo album for even more pictures.
The view heading towards Glacier in Western Montana... I was so happy to see mountains!!!!

The St. Paul farmer's market is super colorful!

I love Weeping Willows! These giant beauties are in Montrose, MN.

Root cellar... I should have a final picture somewhere...

Glacier National Park, along the Going-to-the-Sun scenic road. It really was beautiful.

I have named my car! Oh, and bears.

Her name is BB, and it stands for Budda's Belly. I find myself rubbing her for luck or encouragement when we are climbing big hills or driving for long stretches down questionable dirt roads.

I am in Polson, Montana tonight. (On the map I kept thinking it said "Poison" and I wondered who thought that was a good name for a town.) So many campgrounds are full so now I am calling ahead when I have a destination in mind. Tomorrow I will dip down to Missoula and stay at a hostel for hopefully some more interaction. Driving solo is fine but it really is nice to have people to talk to! In the overflow camping at the KOA on the East side of Glacier last night I met a really sweet couple from Edmonton. We ended up talking and drinking rum and cokes until midnight. It was great!
Today I took the Going-to-the-Sun road through Glacier. There were some super beautiful views, lots of construction and plenty of reminders that it is bear country. I stopped at Sun Point, there was a sign for a .2 mile hike I thought I could do quickly and I got about two yards onto the trail and there was another sign reminding me about bears with the caution that "hiking alone is NOT RECOMMENDED". I'd already been a little weary but that sealed it that I was too uncomfortable hiking solo in bear country.
Wishing I had companionship in the form of a human or dog right now. So while Glacier was beautiful from the road... It wasn't exactly what I had been excited about. I really miss camping and hiking...hopefully there will be a chance to camp and hike on the Olympic Peninsula when I'm with friends later this month. Taking in scenery on a two-lane highway when you are driving is a very delicate task, I just stopped at pretty much every pull over area.

I am really getting excited for camp, I haven't been in about five years. The problem I'm having now is that I'm so close, I could feasibly make it to Seattle tomorrow and stay there with friends until camp on saturday but that wasn't the reason I gave myself a week to relax and meander...clearly I have issues doing this. I like projects and destinations and straight lines from A to B. So I assigned myself the next destination of Missoula, and stuck with our even when the other part of my brain resisted and whispered "friends in Seattle, friends in Seattle!"
Does this mean I'm growing or something? Probably only if I remember that this is how I am when someone asks about how flexible I am! I consider myself flexible within boundaries and I like to have goals, milestones, destinations...spreadsheets :)

Hopefully the hostel will have the internets, then I will upload photos of how beautiful Montana is though you should really just come here.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Quick update, more in depth update later

Writing this on my phone at Lions Park rest area in the middle of Montana on Hwy 2. I can't believe I only left the farm yesterday! I made it all the way across North Dakota which was beautiful. Rolling hills just like Brandon said there'd be. I was especially in awe near the western border of ND driving through Madora, The Painted Canyon and Theodore  Roosevelt National Park. When I got there the sun was beginning to set and I thought about staying afterall, I was almost to Montana... My goal for the day. Instead, because I was still alert and not tired of driving I continued on to Montana.
Looking at my awesome atlas I decided to split to the north at Glendive and take 252 because it looked more direct... Famous last words. There was one sign that said I was on the right road and shortly after that...the pavement ended! The sign said I was going the right way so I suck out out, keep in mind this was about 9: 30 pm. The road kept narrowing and looking overgrown like I was about to hit a dead end. Despite the cows in the road, the big ruts, the overgrown narrow passes, lack of cell phone service and lack of any other cars, of kept going. (I'm sure my mom is super nervous reading this bit!) I could only go about 25 mph because the road kept turning and peaking. The air smelled of sage, grass and grain; I drove with the windows open.

I finally reached the end and turned north on 24. I decided to camp out and hunted down a camp ground at Fort Peck. Tent pitched by midnight. There was concern about my traveling solo and being a heavy sleeper but I sleep pretty light when I'm camping solo, and when it's hot. I woke up at 3: 30 and saw distant lighting so I got up and put up the rain fly. It was hardly worth it for the tiny splatter of rain! I was up and packed up by 7: 30 this morning and heading down hwy 2. The views and colors are inspiring me to paint, they cry out to be described by a brush.

I should be arriving in Glacier tonight!

Pictures of my bumper after that dirt road midnight adventure and the sedimentary slopes of Madora.